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Understanding Orchids: An Uncomplicated Guide to Growing the World's Most Exotic Plants

"Cullina . . . is extremely well versed in his subject and a skilled writer. His lively text, with its clear instructions, will make orchid growing as irresistible to readers as it is to Cullina." — Publishers Weekly, starred review

About the Book

William Cullina's widely acclaimed Wildflowers (2000) and Native Trees, Shrubs, and Vines (2002) firmly established him as a gardening authority whose knowledge and style make him a valuable friend to beginners, experienced gardeners, and experts alike. With Understanding Orchids: An Uncomplicated Guide to Growing the World's Most Exotic Plants, Cullina returns to his first horticultural love with a comprehensive guide to growing these popular yet mysterious plants.

Understanding Orchids tells us everything we need to know to choose and grow the plants at home. In his friendly, easy-to-understand style, Cullina, the nursery director and propagator for the New England Wild Flower Society, advises readers on how to choose the right orchids for each level of gardening experience, and which species are best suited to grow on windowsills, under indoor lights, or in a greenhouse.

Thanks to lower costs and increased availability, orchids are more popular than ever. With more than three hundred full-color photographs, a detailed encyclopedia of more than seventy-five orchid genera, and Cullina's expert personal tips, Understanding Orchids is the must-have guide for anyone who has ever wanted to grow these stunning, and sometimes intimidating, exotics.

About the Author

William Cullina, nursery manager and propagator at Garden in the Woods, the famous showplace headquarters of the New England Wild Flower Society, has been passionate about plants, and particularly orchids, since he was a child. At one point he had a nursery of a thousand miniature orchids, a number of them collected on trips to South America. He has been profiled in the New York Times, he writes for major gardening magazines, and he is in great demand as a speaker.

Praise for William Cullina

For Native Trees, Shrubs, and Vines (2002)

"This is one of those exceedingly rare reference books that you'll find yourself consulting simply for the pleasures of its prose. Hard to believe an authoritative reference to America's native trees and shrubs didn't already exist, but now that it does, it's indispensable." — Michael Pollan, author of A Botany of Desire

"Cullina's writing is a pleasure to read — beautifully descriptive, informative, and personal. His useful, authoritative work is highly recommended." — Library Journal, starred review

"Beautiful [and] fun to read." — Christian Science Monitor

"Likely to become an instant classic — just as its companion volume on wildflowers did. Part of the appeal of both books (in addition to his extensive knowledge) is Cullina's accessible and often gently humorous writing style." — Denise Cowie, Philadelphia Inquirer

"Because Cullina is a knowledgeable, passionate lifelong plantsman and a good writer, it's fascinating to dip into [this book] anywhere." — Chicago Tribune

For Wildflowers (2000)

"In my mind, [this book] is the best single source of wildflower propagation information available." — Richard E. Bir, American Gardener

"Cullina writes with refreshing honesty and lack of pretense, and his highly descriptive and entertaining style deftly blends wit and science to make even the introductory sections on such potentially dry topics as taxonomy, soil properties, and the continent's varied floristic provinces pleasantly palatable." — Horticulture

"I confess that I have fallen in love with this friendly and intimate book . . . Reading [it] makes the garden come into focus as a world of its own, a whole made of interlinking parts, and a piece of a much larger universe." — Woodland Garden

"This landmark reference book has the most comprehensive and accurate information available on propagating a thousand types of wildflowers . . . This may be the one garden reference book from this year that every library should own, yet the large-format photos make it beautiful enough for a coffee table book." — Carol Stocker, Boston Globe

"Surprisingly, this authoritative 336-page reference with 225 luscious photographs is also an intimate, cheerful, and chatty account of Cullina's relationship with the 1,000 native plants he has catalogued." — House Beautiful

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