The ideal companion to Dirr’s Hardy Trees and Shrubs: An Illustrated Encyclopaedia, is the Manual of Woody Landscape Plants. This book contains the words that go with the companion book’s pictures. An impressive book, the Manual of Woody Landscape Plants is an excellent reference to get a well-rounded description of many of the plants found in nurseries and arboretums.
Dirr, in his preface, comments on the fact that since 1930, there have been 9,700 plant patents granted. Now new plants are “rolling off the assembly line faster than anyone can evaluate them.” Dirr comments that there were 396 in 1997 alone. Still Dirr’s Manual of Woody Landscape Plants is the reference to use for every woody plant either obscure or everyday.
In no way flashy, this book is all about substance and information (characteristics solely lacking in some reference books today). Handy diagrams of leaf shapes and their descriptive terms and a straight-forward introduction to botanical plant names are very useful for the novice gardener.