"More than any other natural feature, trees determine how a landscape looks to us - the humid green empire of deciduous forests in the East, dark bogg"More than any other natural feature, trees determine how a landscape looks to us - the humid green empire of deciduous forests in the East, dark boggy depths of the North Woods, parklands of conifers in the West, savannas of oaks brightening California, and cathedrals of firs towering in the Northwest. Forests may be the most beloved part of the American landscape."
Leafing through this book brought back memories - many years in the forest from childhood through the present day. I am grateful for my travels, near and far, to see the variety of forest landscapes and species across the US.
To crawl inside the pages of this book and take a walk through the woods... if only that were a reality...
Those random little manufactured planting beds outside of Target, the grocery store, lining the pedestrian walkways in your city... Pansies, petunias,Those random little manufactured planting beds outside of Target, the grocery store, lining the pedestrian walkways in your city... Pansies, petunias, and maybe a random boxwood or juniper, right?
This book, while about plants and land use, is also about humans and society. Professional landscape designers, as well as the common gardener can take something away from this beautiful book. Yes, we want wild spaces to remain wild and untouched, but how can we bring this aesthetic, this biome into our urban spaces, suburban parking lots and business parks, and even in post-industrial/farming/rural landscapes that could be wild again?
This is a practical guide - discussing plants, heights, native species, management and maintenance, but also societal, and personal relationships with nature and habitats. My favorite chapter/section was entitled "The Inspiration of the Wild" and had detailed descriptions about three specific land archetypes, and how they play into human culture (folktales, songs, literature) and also into our livelihoods and general aesthetic. The authors look at grasslands and savannas, shrublands/marshes, and forests, discussing in detail each of these landscape archetypes. (Unfortunately, deserts were not discussed here, but many of the themes, especially of "edge" environments can apply to deserts.) The archetypes lead to technical discussion of designing these spaces and land use, which is fascinating itself, using colors, plant heights, etc. One theme that was brought up a number of times resonated with me. It's about the whole habitat - not just the individual plant. Gardeners plant things apart to cultivate them, spread apart, mulched, cleared, weeded - but nature is not orderly in this way. This book makes a case for managing a landscape rather than maintaining an individual plant/s.
The final part of the book showcases this design method in many environments- small "beds" and ponds, green spaces in urban areas, rooftop gardens that use savanna grasses or meadow plants, interior tree groves and mosses planted and managed inside buildings, etc. On a larger scale, there are also land trust sites, preserves, and arboretums also described and showcased in a larger environment with more room to design.
The spaces are designed, yes, but they recall this natural element that appeals to us and desire for the "natural". And NO pansies or petunias in sight! I'd love to see more of these natural spaces, however large or small, incorporated into landscape design around my city and suburbs!
A beautiful book, with great writing too. Recommended to anyone into plants, land use, and human / nature interaction. ...more
"...the search for the universal within the infinitesimally small..."
Haskell chooses a small parcel of land, his "mandala", in the old-growth forest o"...the search for the universal within the infinitesimally small..."
Haskell chooses a small parcel of land, his "mandala", in the old-growth forest of central Tennessee. Every few days, he goes to his mandala to observe, take notes, look closer with his hand lens, and listen. This book incorporates the field notes of what he sees, hears, and smells, but also the meditations, and the information behind these observations over one full year. With the eye of a biologist, but also the musings of a philosopher, we observe - through his eyes - the comings and goings of the insects, the mammals, the ferns, the soil of this parcel of land.
Slow and beautiful writing. Simple, yet filled with meaning. Informative but also mindful, encapsulating the past, the future, but also what is occurring in this present moment.
A joy to read. Considering a mandala of my own in the nearby woods... ...more
A very interesting little reference book - the plants are grouped by how "wicked" they are: dangerous, intoxicating, illegal, etc. I learned several tA very interesting little reference book - the plants are grouped by how "wicked" they are: dangerous, intoxicating, illegal, etc. I learned several tidbits from it. Did you know that Bayer drug company was the first distributor of heroin from the opium poppy? It was on the market for years before they completely realized the effects of the drug.
The bit about the deadly nightshade berries crossed my mind when I went berry-picking this past weekend... ...more