Unlike other texts that emphasize one aspect of the subject more than others, this text offers a balanced study of ornamental horticulture as an applied science, a craft, a profession, and a business. Section One consists of six chapters devoted to the science of ornamental horticulture. Plant structure and the mechanisms by which plants survive (photosynthesis, respiration, and transpiration) are described. This information is essential to an understanding of how the manipulation of the environment will affect plant growth and response. The role of soil (both natural and that made by horticulturists) in plant growth and nutrition is
thoroughly explained. The basic binomial plant classification system is described. Methods of controlling plant growth through the use of natural and synthetic growth regulators are also explained. The very important area of plant reproduction, both sexual and asexual, is described in detail. The discussion includes the most common methods of propagating plants and their application in the professions of ornamental horticulture. The plant science section concludes with a discussion of common plant pests/diseases, including coming symptoms of injured plants, principles of pest control, types of pesticides and their safe use, and the concept of biological controls, including integrated pest management. A color section is also provided in Appendix C that gives full color examples of common plant pests/diseases.
Once the student has a basic understanding of plant physiology and how plants interact with their environment, the author discusses the application of plants in the various segments of ornamental horticulture. In Section Two, the author presents the principles of floral design, and describes the experiences and skills needed by a floral designer; discusses the status of the interior foliage plant industry; the problems unique to the interior use of plants, and the cultural requirements; presents the principles of landscape design with checklists and numerous examples; describes the procedures involved in the installation of trees, shrubs, groundcovers, vines, bedding plants, bulbs, and their cultural requirements; covers the maintenance of landscape plantings, including watering, fertilizing, mulching, pruning, winterizing and weed, insect, and disease control; presents basic principles of using vines in the landscape, espalier pruning, topiary pruning, and bonsai; discusses turfgrasses to meet the needs of differing environmental conditions and uses, presents common methods of turf installation, and outlines a maintenance program for professional lawn care. He concludes with a discussion of propagation techniques, including tissue and organ culture.
Section Three discusses the major professions of ornamental horticulture: the floriculture industry, the nursery industry, and the landscape industry, as well as specialized, nontraditional career opportunities. Each chapter describes the unique characteristics of the industry segment, including any specialized educational requirements for workers. The author also points out that interest, training, and skills in ornamental horticulture can be adapted to an assortment of career fields.
Section Four concentrates on the business and production techniques of ornamental horticulture. The chapter on growing structures covers the types of structures used, systems utilized to grow plants, and the physical layout of plant production areas. This is followed by a discussion of specific growing techniques used for greenhouse production. The author then distinguishes between the different types of nurseries and provides typical production techniques for each. The final chapters of the section concentrate on business management techniques. As a business, ornamental horticulture is governed by the same forces to which every business must respond if it is to be successful. Too may other texts overlook or ignore the fact that ornamental horticulture is a consumer-driven industry requiring skillful business management methods. This text is the first to offer equal coverage of this aspect of the profession.