Book Review - Royal Horticultural Society Propagating Plants - New Edition - Editor in Chief Alan Toogood

I was recently sent a copy of the new edition the Royal Horticultural Society Propagating Plants.  I have not paid for this book and I am not being paid to write this review; my words and opinions are my own.
I enjoy propagating plants, there are few things that can make me as happy as creating new plants for free, and this books promises just this on the cover.  When I first received the book I thought it looked a bit big to be honest.  I thought it was going to be overly-wordy and probably overly-sciency for me.  The old adage 'never judge a book by its cover', could be expanded to 'or how big it is'.  This book is a good size because it is jammed pack full of everything you could ever want to know about propagation.

The book starts by telling you how to use the book.  This is very useful as I did my usual thing of plunging straight in and getting carried away by the amount of information there is.  It is better to take a breath and take a moment to understand how the book works and how the information is laid out.

The book takes us through learning from nature, to historical and modern propagation techniques.  You are then led through how plants propagate themselves and vegetative propagation.  This is all really useful and interesting as if you understand what is going on, then you stand more chance of success.
The photographs in the book are by Peter Anderson.  They illustrate perfectly the points being made and are beautiful too.  I like a lot of pictures in books like this and this book has many.   There are no assumptions made about what you might already know and this is good, as you never know that thing that may seem basic to others, that is a gap in your own knowledge.
The instructions on how to carry out the basic techniques are clear.  There is the advice that you would expect about the importance of hygiene and why it matters.
This is all what you would expect from a book on propagation I am sure, but then this book tips over into the 'this is the most useful book I have ever seen on propagation' as it takes you through almost every plant you could ever want to propagate and explains how to do it.  Ever fancied propagating a Hamamelis?  This book will tell you how.  Do you want to graft your cactus?  This book explains this in detail.  Not got enough Ferns?  This book is the one for you.  Orchids, water plants, perennials: the list goes on.  For example: the book does not just have a section on 'sowing by seed', it tells you specifically about sowing Calendula, sowing Matthiola and Nigella and many more individual plants.  It is full of specific examples as well as the general information.  The blurb that accompanied the book says it is the most comprehensive guide to propagating plants ever published, I can only agree.

RHS Propagating Plants is published by DK Books and retails at £19.99 or less if you look at a well known internet book shop.  Buy it for yourself or drop big hints to a loved one, if you want to propagate plants this is the book for you.