Conifers Around the World Launch Party (?) at Arnold Arboretum

davidrt28 (zone 7)February 18, 2012

This doesn't seem to indicate whether the book will be available for perusal or purchase, but I would assume that is the case. It is good news that it is finally available, as I believe it will be the first pictorial book of its breadth to focus mainly on species in their native ranges, instead of cultivars in gardens.

I might go, but I doubt it. I get the impression we don't have many regular posters in New England, but I could be wrong.

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davidrt28 (zone 7)

Here is the link, which Gardenweb doesn't let you post on a first message. I don't care if it gets bumped down, it's probably of specialized interest even on this forum. Might x-post to trees as they have a bigger readership.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 5:14PM
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Sara Malone Zone 9b

He gave the same lecture here at Quarryhill Botanical Gardens last Sunday night - it was interesting and despite his heavy accent, he is a good speaker. His lecture was mostly about the arduous task of collecting and cataloguing the specimens, and the funding and staffing pitfalls along the way. The photography was gorgeous. The books are available for sale ($250 for the set of two) and the photographer signed them already - Zsolt will autograph yours if you buy a set. There is a copy available to leaf through. I went with two friends who are avid gardeners but not conifer buffs and we all enjoyed it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Quarryhill Botanical Gardens

    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 6:22PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

the link box is usually there .. after you preview what you typed.. rather than on initiation .... i have no clue why ...

thx for the info


    Bookmark   February 19, 2012 at 11:00AM
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davidrt28 (zone 7)

Thanks F&F. You didn't say whether you bought the book, but I assume by "the photography was gorgeous" you meant in the book? Most such lectures have projected video or slides as well. I'm lucky to be near a couple major horticultural libraries so I'll probably wait until they have it to review would think for the trouble of coming all the way to states he'd at least lecture somewhere other than SoCal (he was at the Huntington, too, which really doesn't have many conifers), NorCal, & Boston.
I hope it isn't filled with gritty 35mm photography, it wouldn't be worth paying $250 for matter how significant an achievement it may be. There were several well-intentioned gardening titles of the last 25 years that were marred by grainy subpar photography, including some from prestige publishers like Rizzoli and Timberpress. Some real estate photographers in Fairfax County were using 4X5 up until the early 2000s - so if hideous McMansions warrant it for free throwaway brochures, so do Bodnant Gardens in a book for which they expect you to shell out $50.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2012 at 8:55PM
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Sara Malone Zone 9b

I did not buy the book - I was tempted, but $250 was a steep price and I decided that I'd rather spend the money on plants! I meant the photography in the slides, all of most of which are in the books, too. I know zippo about photography, and there was a crush of people around the books so I didn't look at them for long, but I didn't sense that the photography was bad - looked pretty clear to me and some really stunning shots. If you can go to the lecture I would recommend it as it was such a story of this really remarkable (and lengthy!) undertaking. He went to the Huntington because the curator there was on his collecting team. She came to the Quarryhill lecture, as well. As you can probably imagine, this project was beset by funding problems, difficulty getting access to some areas, hiring tree climbers to collect cone specimens, etc etc. A botanical adventure story! If you go to the Arnold lecture, you'll have an opportunity to hold the book in your hand and see for yourself, or, as you note, in libraries. I have a botany degree from 35 years ago and for one wild moment while I was at the lecture I wished that I could have been part of the team. Then I saw the photos of the tents that they slept in. In the rain. In the heat. No showers, etc etc. I decided I was just as happy viewing the slides!

    Bookmark   February 22, 2012 at 9:01AM
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salicaceae(z8b FL)

Got my copy today. OMG! I will be up late with this one..Curious absence of most tropical conifers. However, it is still amazing!

    Bookmark   March 5, 2012 at 9:05PM
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Sara Malone Zone 9b

I think that that mandate was 'conifers from temperate zones', but not sure why it was limited. Let us know about the book!

    Bookmark   March 5, 2012 at 9:48PM
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davidrt28 (zone 7)

Update since I started this thread. I spent a couple hours perusing a copy. It exceeded my expectations. The books are physically huge, and heavy. It's not just the pictorial encyclopedia implied by the long extent website...there are over 100 introductory pages and at least a couple hundred more than are like a textbook on the ecology of temperate conifers. With somewhat small text - they were clearly trying to stuff as much in there as possible without resorting to a third volume! Yes, it does skip entries on tropical conifers, but their families are discussed in relation to all other conifers, so its still a valid overview of the entire phylum. To my concern about the quality of the photography...well in some cases it could be a little better, but it doesn't detract from the book at all. Each species is represented by multiple photographs including close-ups and those closeups are probably more important for the work's intended audience.

I think the price is quite in-line with what you are buying. It must rank up there with T. Everitt's New York Botanical Garden Illustrated Encyclopedia of Horticulture as one of the epic horticultural titles of all time. If a large format, full-color separation gardening book goes for about $50 retail, you are easily getting 5X the book, if not 10X the book. I have no doubt I will buy a copy, someday, I'm not sure if it will be soon or not. I could spend hours and hours looking at a book like that, and my garden needs hours and hours of attention! I worry if it will find much of a market at it's current price but I suppose that any serious university library should have it and there are hundreds of those just in the US.

Would especially appreciate Resin's thoughts if he's seen the work, or anybody else's. (I guess I'm not alone in assuming Resin is something of a big deal in the world of conifers who posts here under a pseudonym...a professor at a UK university perhaps? Since he always has herbarium images of the most obscure species!)

    Bookmark   June 1, 2012 at 6:58PM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

Awesome update! Thanks David.


    Bookmark   June 1, 2012 at 7:51PM
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Sounds good, Resin seems quiet at the moment...

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 3:24AM
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salicaceae(z8b FL)

I have read through most of it now. It is an excellent text and the photos adds a lot. He tends to be more of a 'splitter' than a 'lumper', but usually there is good justification given and he recognizes that others don't always agree. His advantage is that he has actually spent significant time in the field observing the conifers. Thus, his species recognitions are based on significant field work, not just a few herbarium records. This in situ experience makes for a better read if you ask me. Also, we hosted him here for a lecture and seeing how much work went into this really was amazing. It is definitely worth the price, it isn't your standard reference, it is far better.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 10:14PM
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