At The Tree Council we are lucky to have a large collection of excellent books celebrating all aspects of trees. With Christmas just around the corner, I thought I’d let you know what I thought about three very different books to recently join our little library:
Trees in Towns and Cities, A History of British Urban Arboriculture by Mark Johnston is the first book to tell the story of urban trees and treescapes in Britain and the people who have planted and cared for them.
Johnston takes us on a fascinating journey from Roman times to the present day, charting how changing fashions in planting and garden design, key publications, acts of legislation and events have all helped shape the urban forest. Every type of urban treescape imaginable is explored in detail, including gardens, parks, streets and even hospital grounds, together with the threats they have faced over the centuries, from increasing soil contamination during the Industrial Revolution to the devastating effects of invasive pests today and the ever present danger of urban development and vandalism.
Unlike other landscape histories that tend to focus on trees and green spaces belonging to the rich and privileged, this book describes how trees in towns and cities have come to be accessed and enjoyed by all thanks to the efforts of pioneering arborists and organisations, including The Tree Council.
Meticulously referenced and beautifully illustrated throughout, Trees in Towns and Cities, A History of British Urban Arboriculture is ideal for both students of arboriculture and urban forestry as well as anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the arboreal assets of our urban areas.
A Brush with Brown – Tim Scott Bolton
For two years, artist Tim Scott Bolton travelled around Britain painting landscapes created by the legendary landscape gardener Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown. The resulting collection of 90 or so images can be enjoyed at leisure in A Brush with Brown – Bolton’s first book, published in 2016 to coincide with the tricentenary of Capability Brown’s birth.
Bolton writes a brief account of Brown’s career and his connection with each of the 43 houses visited in the book, together with his own approach to capturing them in oil and watercolour. Each picture depicts elements of the classic Capability Brown landscape, including parkland grazed by deer, serpentine lakes, rolling hills, and of course, trees – planted in ‘naturalistic’ clumps or sometimes in entire woodlands.
Ranging widely across the seasons, this beautiful collection shows just how effectively Brown used trees to change our views of the landscape, softening the contours of some of our most loved country estates and inviting glimpses of the buildings set within them. A Brush with Brown would make a beautiful gift for lovers of art and trees alike.
Ancient Trees of The National Trust – Edward Parker and Brian Muelaner
A self-proclaimed ‘love letter to Britain’s venerable trees’, Ancient Trees of The National Trust by Edward Parker and Brian Muelaner is a wonderful book for anyone wishing to learn the secrets of the country’s oldest living things.
Featuring Edward Parker’s stunning photography, this delightful book tells the stories of ancient and historic trees found on the grounds of 40 National Trust properties around the UK, including the Ankerwycke Yew in Surrey under which it is believed the Magna Carta was sealed 800 years ago, the apple tree believed to have helped Isaac Newton to develop the theory of gravity, and an oak tree in Norfolk, which has a hollow large enough to fit ten people inside.
Looking at ancient trees from both a scientific and cultural perspective, Ancient Trees of the National Trust explores the key characteristics of ancient trees, the rich wildlife habitat they provide and their unique connection with mankind. It also looks at the threats to these incredible giants in the landscape and ends by stressing the importance of protecting them for future generations.