Bromeliads for the Contemporary Garden by Andrew Steens

Beginner gardeners like comprehensive manuals such as the Yates guides or the old Palmers garden guide. Experienced gardeners usually decide that specialist publications on specific topics are more up their street. If you are interested in bromeliads, you will want this book.

The name of the author may be more familiar to readers as one of the vegetable panel in Weekend Gardener magazine, but Andrew Steens experience and knowledge goes well beyond the home orchard and vegetable patch. He is a qualified horticulturist with a particular long term passion for bromeliads, which he has been growing for over 30 years and is now breeding as well. This book is a major rewrite and update of his first book on the topic in 2003, with many additional photos and around 60 new species and hybrids added. Broms are a large family with over 3000 species already known and more being discovered on a regular basis and that does not include the hybrids. Not that this is a comprehensive encyclopedia of broms. Steens has filtered and selected those he includes, grouping them in their larger families. He also gives information on how to care for plants (many are very easy to increase at home) and on growing them in garden conditions and landscaping with them. His style is engaging and he communicates his enthusiasm, tempered by appropriate technical information. I used it to check on the Alcantaera I featured recently in Plant Collector. It is a good reference book from a reputable author with lots of lovely photographs and an appropriate index.
(Godwit; ISBN: 978 1 86962 1780).