This is truly a gorgeous book. Aside from the informative text and marvelous photographs, the book itself is a simple masterpiece of printing. On the small side for a coffee table book, it still has heft and gloss. The paper for the pages is of decent weight to encourage flipping through; and not unimportantly, it smells good. Oh, not like wildflowers; it smells of good ink and high-quality paper, as a book ought, in these days of e-readers and Kindles.
Beyond that, what a book! If you're any kind of gardener, or even simply like seeing pretty garden flowers, you will enjoy this. The author, Bob Gibbons, wrote this almost as a travelogue, outlining prime wildflower areas in over four dozen locations on five continents (nothing listed in South America, and unsurprisingly, nothing in Antarctica).
"Wildflower Wonders" is divided into wildflower sites on each continent. There is a heavy emphasis on European locations, with over half the sites described being on that continent. That said, it would be difficult to point to any of the published European areas to leave out, in favor of wildflower areas in other world locations to include. (One might be sorely tempted to try to bring some of these beauties into his or her own garden, but that would necessitate contacting the USDA...)
The book is laid out by continent and region. Each section starts with a thumb-nail sketch, including location, reasons to visit the area, best times to visit, and protected status. Several pages of information--geographic, climatological, biological, and historical--follow... This may sound very dry and overly-scientific; however, it's anything but! The body of each section is really a compendium of what makes each particular area a natural wildflower site. Well-written, interesting, and just enough information to pique the interest.
Oh, yes, and the photos. Nothing I say would do justice to the lovely photos--not just of wildflowers, but also local fauna and an amazing variety of geographic details. But the flowers are the stars of this show. Author and photographer Gibbons justifies his world-renowned reputation with the images included in this book. And really the only way to understand this is to get the book and look for yourself.
Easy to pick up, browse, read all the way through, or just enjoy the photos, this is one book that you'll be glad to keep in your favorite reading spot, whether it's by the comfy chair, on the bedside table, or in the magazine rack in the reading room. I highly recommend Wildflower Wonders, and congratulate Bob Gibbons for creating such a beautiful book.
By the feeders and the bookshelves,
Cornell Ornithology Laboratory: Inside Birding
Cornell Ornithology Laboratory: All About Birding
Live eBirdseed.com streaming cam
eBirdseed.com photo library
eBirdseed and misc. references
Other birding references
By Location, Birds and Natural History Books (a global reference)