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The Savage Garden: Cultivating Carnivorous Plants by Peter D’Amato

1998; 314 pp. $19.95. Ten Speed Press.

Now here's a subject worth spending some time on. Carnivorous plants are bizarre and beautiful, and you can grow them yourself. These sterling qualities are nicely covered in The Savage Garden. You can't write a cultural manual this complete and clear-headed unless you have spent hard time with the subject...over thirty years, in the case of Peter D'Amato. And judging from the tone of the book, he's loved every minute of it.

The book is very well organized, with a thorough section on the general aspects of cultivation, soil, water, light, etc. Eleven genera have their own chapters, which include species, cultivars, hybrids, and explanations about where they come from and how they catch prey. Each chapter ends with more specific information about cultivation and propagation. By the time you finish you'll be digging up the yard to put in a bog or tossing the fish out the window because you need the tank. There are over 225 color photos and drawings, as well as resource and suggested-reading lists. Whatever your level of experience with "CPs," this book will educate and delight. You can visit D'Amato's commercial greenhouse, California Carnivores, in Forestville, CA, or find him on the Web (

ISBN: 0898159156

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