Books on subjects like travel, collecting and gardening often attract the armchair traveler, collector or gardener—people who know they will never perform the activities to which the tips and insider information apply. Small Trees manages to take this very tiny fraction of the gardening world and perform the kind of magic that opens a world to readers. Granted, it would be grand if everyone had a plot of earth on which to arrange and enjoy small trees. We don’t, and the vicarious thrill of selecting trees in the fashion of an armchair gardener wouldn’t support the idea of owning a hard cover book that costs more than $40, unless you’re the sort of reader to whom $40 is chump change. Nonetheless, I was transfixed by Small Trees. And I suspect you will be, too.
When I saw this book in my mailbox, I was puzzled that a subject so seemingly arcane had been given such a treatment by the publisher: a large-format, over 8_ by 11 inches; the hard cover, and a beautifully designed, glossy dust jacket; and several finely printed, full-color pictures on every spread. I sat in the car and turned a few pages, read a few paragraphs, and then, surprised myself by turning back to the first page and reading the whole book sitting there in my car.
I was especially drawn into the section on how to handle shrubs in such a way as to grow them into small trees, but I have to admit that it was the photography that pulled me from page to page. For every plant, there are enough photos to ensure that you know exactly what is being described in the text. You’ve seen these plants and enjoyed them before. Here’s your chance to know what each one is, where it is from, how big it will be at maturity, and whether it will grow rapidly or slowly to that full extent. You’ll also know the sunlight, soil and water preference of each “small” tree, with small meaning up to about 30 or 35 feet.
Small Trees for the Tropical Landscape
If garden photographs and plant information can ever catch your interest, you’ll find Small Trees a real treat. Of course, if you happen to have some land in which to design and plant a landscape, all the better.