About the Book, Discovering Annuals, by Graham Rice

Discovering Annuals, by Graham Rice

About the Book 

Annuals A-Z

 Annual Manual

Seed Sources

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Help with the book

It's customary for the author to begin a book's 'Acknowledgements' entry with the words 'This book would not have been possible without…' and then list all the author's family, friends and relations down to the new puppy. So let's be realistic: a very different book would have been possible without anyone's help. Discovering Annuals would not have been possible without my picking the brains of all my friends in the seed trade. It's not just that they've responded to my questions with as much, and occasionally more, information than commercial competitive concerns allowed. But their enjoyable enthusiasm has continually sparked mine.

The infectious enthusiasm of Paul Hansord, formerly of Unwins Seeds and now at Thompson & Morgan, was instrumental in initiating my enthusiasm for annuals many years ago and Keith Sangster and Martin Thrower, both also at T&M, have generously shared their knowledge and insights. Discussing the Unwins Seeds trials with David Kerley was always both entertaining and illuminating while at Suttons Seeds Tom Sharples and Tony Byers have been constantly helpful and open with their ideas along with Ian Cole, once at Suttons and now at Four Oaks.

It's always been fun discussing annuals with Jeff Fothergill and Ann Loads from Mr Fothergill's Seeds and, in his days with them, Barry Sims now at Floranova, Britain's only significant breeder of annuals and bedding plants. Also at Floranova, now a real force in the plant breeding world, Tony Hender has been a cheerful friend and a deep well of information on annuals past and present; and I soon came to recognise the sideways look of their laconic Director of Plant Breeding, Dave Chisholm, when I suggested some new line which he thought especially uncommercial!

At Colegrave Seeds John Gibson has been unfailingly helpful and only occasionally obtuse (for the best of commercial reasons) and it's always illuminating to inspect the Royal Horticultural Society trials of annuals with him and our colleagues from the seed trade on the committee, Brian Talman and Mike Smallwood.

Perhaps this is the point to mention Ralph Gould, plant breeder at Hursts for so long and to whom so many good varieties can be traced. I only met him a few times on RHS trials judging days but in his quiet way he instantly commanded my respect. And and also Linda Jones, Trials Officer at the RHS, who combines efficient organisation, cheerful chivvying and constant good humour - and inspires her extraordinarily helpful staff to do the same. 

I was also incalculably fortunate to have Christopher Lloyd, as co-author on our earlier book Garden Flowers from Seed and working with him confirmed my view that strong opinions help readers &emdash; even if only by provoking them into disagreeing.

Nori and Sandra Pope at Hadspen House have made a spectacular colour border, featuring many annuals, and which every gardener should see.

Other who've also been helpful include Marcel Bartels of Fleuroselect, Peter Dawson of Nurseryman and Garden Centre magazine, Peter Seabrook (another man of welcome strong opinions), Michael Moles, and sweet pea specialists David Matthewman and Peter Grayson.

I'd also especially like to thank the brilliant photographer John Fielding who almost every week in the summer of 1997 set his alarm clock at an utterly unreasonable hour in order to be out in my garden in the best possible light to photograph so many of the annuals which you can see in the book. John, your pictures are simply wonderful; thank you.

At the publishers, Frances Lincoln, I'd like to thank Erica Hunningher for her belief that the time had come for this book, Louise Kirkby for her elegant design and thoughtful choice of pictures and especially Kirsty Brackenridge for pulling it all together with such good humour and against odds which would, and indeed sometimes have, defeated lesser editors.

At my American publishers Timber Press I'd like to thanks Neal Maillet for publishing yet anther of my titles and also Debby Garman for working so hard on my behalf publicising my books.

Finally, I want to thank judywhite for her constructive comments on my text, which has improved noticeably as a result, and for transforming the British edition into the American one so thoughtfully. And I'd also like to thank her for attending the 1997 Chelsea Flower Show.


©copyright 1999 Graham Rice. All Rights Reserved. All Images Digitally Watermarked.

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