Lifestyle and Culture: Gardening and Nature

The Trees of North America

Michaux and Redouté's American Masterpiece

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A remarkable selection of American forest trees surveyed by François-André Michaux and Thomas Nuttall from The North American Sylva, held in the LuEsther T. Mertz Library of The New York Botanical Garden, featuring illustrations by celebrated botanical artists such as Pierre-Joseph Redouté and Pancrace Bessa, with an afterword by natural history artist David Allen Sibley

François-André Michaux (1770–1855) was a French botanist whose work on the trees of North America gave the world’s first illustrated account of American trees east of the Mississippi. From 1841 to 1849 Thomas Nuttall (1786–1859), an English botanist and one of the greatest plant explorers of North America, prepared supplementary volumes to Michaux’s landmark work, The North American Sylva.

Full-color reproductions of all of the more than 270 plates are now included in a single volume for the first time. Mirroring Abbeville’s best-selling National Audubon Society Birds of America, the book includes capsule summaries of every tree species featured, written by New York Botanical Garden staff, along with reference illustrations by David Allen Sibley.

Garden President Gregory Long looks at the book in the context of the New York Botanical Garden; NYBG Library Director Susan M. Fraser examines this landmark of American botanical history; award-winning garden writer Marta McDowell recounts the two botanist-explorers uncovering the continent’s arboreal riches; and best-selling ornithologist and natural history artist David Allen Sibley offers an aesthetic appreciation.

Beautifully illustrated and extensively researched, The Trees of North America will entice gardeners, art connoisseurs, and nature lovers alike.

 

The New York Botanical Garden hosts more than one million annual visitors to its 250-acre National Historic Landmark site, which features over one million living specimens, as well as one of the world’s preeminent plant research and conservation programs. Founded in 1899, the Garden’s Mertz Library is one of the largest, most comprehensive botanical libraries in the world.

David Allen Sibley is one of the world’s best-known natural history illustrators and the author of acclaimed field guides, including The Sibley Guide to Trees, which have sold more than one million copies.

Gregory Long is Chief Executive Officer and The William C. Steere Sr. President of The New York Botanical Garden.

Susan M. Fraser is Vice President and Director of the LuEsther T. Mertz Library at The New York Botanical Garden.

Marta McDowell is a gardener, lecturer, and horticultural writer. Her books include All the Presidents’ Gardens (2016) and Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life (2013), winner of the Gold Award from the Garden Writers Association.

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The Last Fisherman

Witness to the Endangered Oceans

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With breathtaking images and compelling stories, an underwater photographer chronicles the glory, and devastation, of our changing oceans.

Rotman’s passion for photographing marine life took a dramatic turn when he found a pile of sharks at the bottom of the sea stripped of their fins and left to die by rogue fisherman. The Last Fisherman documents the catastrophic changes in ocean wildlife and the people whose lives depend on hunting it.When author Jeff Rotman began his adventures as an underwater photographer more than 40 years ago, he relished the beauty of the deep sea and the thrill of the hunt. A member of an elite group of photographers, he has captured iconic photographs of sharks and other creatures of the deep that can be seen in National Geographic as well as the Discovery Channel’s Shark Week television series.

Rotman has witnessed the near commercial collapse of cod fisheries in the North Atlantic and the growth of illegal poaching in the protected waters of Cocos Island which threatens this fragile ecosystem long admired by divers for the shark and ray populations. His journey mirrors our view of the oceans as places of wonder, to the fragile hunting grounds they are today. In his introduction, marine biologist Les Kaufman discusses how the “emptying out of the oceans” has progressed over time. But he also includes stories of hope as scientists, fisherman—and observers like Jeff Rotman—come to agree that the time is now for a new approach to the most fundamental of human activities, finding sustenance in the water around us.

 

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Fine Bonsai

Art & Nature

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In this luxurious volume, renowned botanical photographer Jonathan Singer presents his breathtaking images of the world's most notable bonsai.

The practice of cultivating bonsai may be traced back some two thousand years, to the earliest representations of potted trees in Chinese art, and is thought to have reached Japan in the Heian period (AD 794–1185), a time of rich cultural exchange. This unique branch of horticulture attained its maturity, and received its present name, in Japan’s Edo period (1603–1868), and many fine bonsai are recorded in the woodblock prints of that era. As Japan broadened its trade and diplomatic contacts after the Meiji Restoration, bonsai became a matter of international interest, and today bonsai masters around the world have learned to grow hundreds of varieties of trees and shrubs in miniature, training them into living sculptures. Their exquisite creations, which change with the passage of the years and the cycle of the seasons, exemplify the connection between man and nature, life and art.

In Fine Bonsai: Art & Nature, the finest extant achievements in the art of bonsai are seen together for the first time, through the lens of renowned botanical photographer Jonathan Singer. This magnificent volume is the result of an ambitious photographic campaign, in the course of which Singer was granted unprecedented access to the most respected public and private collections in Japan and the United States, including the mecca of bonsai, the Omiya Bonsai Village of Saitama, Japan, where photography is normally prohibited. Three hundred stunning full-page images and four lavish gatefolds present bonsai of all types, from quiet representations of nature to colorful fall foliage to bold sculptural forms. The horticultural and aesthetic characteristics of each bonsai are concisely and authoritatively described in the narrative captions by William N. Valavanis, head of the International Bonsai Arboretum in Rochester, New York. And because the container is considered an integral part of any bonsai—indeed, the literal meaning of “bonsai” is “tray plant”—the book also includes some twenty-five photographs of traditional bonsai containers, with descriptions. A further sequence of twenty-five photographs is devoted to the related art of suiseki, or miniature stone landscapes displayed in the same manner, and often alongside, bonsai.

With his groundbreaking first book, Botanica Magnifica, Jonathan Singer established a new style of botanical photography, characterized by an exceptional clarity of detail and richness of color, as well as a painterly chiaroscuro. These qualities are just as evident in the present volume; Singer photographs each bonsai with an artist’s—one might even say a portraitist’s—eye, capturing its individual character, and in some cases revealing qualities hitherto unsuspected even by those who tended it daily. Fine Bonsai not only documents the masterpieces of an ancient horticultural art, but also is a masterpiece in itself. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Japanese Red Cross Society.

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The Ramble in Central Park

A Wilderness West of Fifth

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A handsome photographic tribute to The Ramble, the untamed “wild garden” of Central Park in New York City.

For many New Yorkers, Central Park is Manhattan’s crown jewel and what makes the city livable year round. For tourists, this urban oasis is a must-see destination on any sightseeing visit. For acclaimed photographer Robert McCabe, Central Park is defined by its Ramble—a densely forested 38 acres replete with stunning lake vistas, enormous granite boulders, a canopy of trees, winding paths and streams, and ornate and rustic bridges. McCabe’s photographs in The Ramble in Central Park have captured this wooded labyrinth in its off-the-beaten-path glory in its most photogenic seasons.

The Ramble in Central Park is primarily organized by four regions, supplemented by one large map by Christopher Kaeser of the entire area and four close-ups of each area. The text is a series of essays by writers including The New Yorker’s E. B. White and C. Stevens. Topics cover the history of the park’s creation by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, and the failed attempt of Robert Moses to essentially eliminate The Ramble in the 1950s, as well as The Ramble’s 250 species of woodland birds and the area’s remarkable geology and plant life. A compelling introduction by Central Park Conservancy President and Administrator Douglas Blonsky describes the recent renovation and continued protection of The Ramble.

This photography book should appeal to nature lovers, bird watchers, and New York residents and visitors alike. It is the perfect tourist souvenir before or after a visit to Central Park and The Ramble.

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The Vatican Gardens

An Architectural and Horticultural History

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An authoritative, visually stunning study of one of the world's most imitated and venerated gardens.

The inspiration for virtually all of Rome’s famous gardens, the Vatican Gardens first flourished during the Middle Ages and have awed visitors ever since. Yet despite their importance to the history of Western gardens and art, no full-length study of the gardens has previously been published. With the release of The Vatican Gardens—the third in a series co-published with the Vatican that also includes The Sistine Chapel: A New Vision and The Loggia of Raphael: A Vatican Art Treasure—these important gardens have at last received their full due.

Covering the period from the thirteenth century through 1930, when the Vatican became a state, The Vatican Gardens explores the plants, planters, and architectural structures of the gardens in fascinating detail. Here you will learn about such celebrated gardeners as Michele Mercate, who around 1570 introduced the rarest plants of his time to the Vatican, and the great botanist Johannes Faber. The famous Cortile del Belvedere courtyard, designed by Donato Branmante for Pope Julius II and envisioned as a vast outdoor room, is brought to vibrant life through word and image. Discussion of the Gardens’ symbolic significance, agricultural functions, and upkeep by such gardening popes as Leo XIII—as well as of the gardens at Castel Gandolfo, the pope's four-centuries-old summer residence—completes this authoritative volume.

Illustrated throughout with newly commissioned images and plans as well as historic pictures and diagrams, and featuring research that—among much else—establishes the Vatican Gardens as the oldest botanical garden in Italy, this original volume belongs in the libraries of landscape gardeners, architects, historians, and visitors to Rome.

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Botanica Magnifica

Portraits of the World's Most Extraordinary Flowers and Plants

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Botanica Magnifica features two hundred and fifty stunning photographs of rare and exotic plants and flowers by Hasselblad Laureate Award winner Jonathan Singer.

Botanica Magnifica features two hundred and fifty stunning photographs by Hasselblad Laureate Award winner Jonathan Singer, representing—in the words of an ARTnews critic—rare or exotic plants and flowers “in large scale and exquisite detail, emerging from the shadows in a manner evocative of Old Master paintings.”

The original edition of Botanica Magnifica, consisting of five lavishly hand-bound volumes, was limited to just ten copies, the first of which was recently donated to the Smithsonian Institution. The extra-large “double-elephant” format of that edition was chosen in homage to the famous double-elephant folio of The Birds of America, and indeed, Botanica Magnifica is one of the few works of natural history ever to rival Audubon’s magnum opus in its scope and artistry. In praise of the double-elephant folio of Botanica Magnifica, the Smithsonian’s Chairman of Botany attested, “Everyone who has seen the photographs . . . has been tremendously impressed with the power, scale, and depth of the work.”

Now Singer’s remarkable images are available to the public for the first time in this baby-elephant folio of Botanica Magnifica. Like the larger edition, this volume is organized into five alphabetically arranged sections, each introduced by a gatefold page that displays one extraordinary plant at a luxurious size. Each pictured plant is accompanied by a clear and accessible description of its botany, geography, folklore, history, and conservation.

With its marvelous reproductions and fascinating text, the baby-elephant folio of Botanica Magnifica is one of the most impressive volumes of natural history ever published. This volume is also available in a leatherbound, slipcased edition.

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The History of Gardens in Painting

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An original, splendidly illustrated history of gardens as seen through the eyes of painters by the highly acclaimed author of Landscape Painting: A History.

-- A Booklist Top 10 Arts Book of 2009

The creation of gardens was among the first achievements of early civilizations, and garden design was already highly developed in antiquity. Pictures of gardens are a reflection of the social, historical, and aesthetic context in which gardens were conceived. The focus of this captivating book is not the gardens themselves or the different concepts of the garden, but rather the representation of gardens in paintings. The author examines why artists paint gardens by covering the varied and lively 2,000-year history of the garden picture using 180 garden masterpieces as examples.

The text begins with a look at ancient Rome, when paintings of gardens, as found in villas in Pompeii, were already valued as works of art. The wide-ranging coverage also includes pictures of charming medieval gardens in books of hours; Botticelli’s masterwork La Primavera, set in a grove of orange trees; views of well-known historic gardens, such as those at Versailles; painter’s gardens, as for example, Monet’s Giverny; and modern gardens depicted by Frida Kahlo, Andy Warhol, and David Hockney, among others. For collectors of art history books and garden books, this lovely volume should appeal to a broad audience.

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Shells

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A beautifully illustrated survey of the artistry and variety of shells, by an internationally renowned expert.

More than just an appreciation of shells, this book captures all the artistry of the undersea world. Prized since ancient times for their beauty, shells appear in Mexican temple art, on Greek and Roman vases, in Renaissance paintings and architectural sculpture, and in modern jewelry and furniture. The artists themselves are thousands of species of mollusks, which produce shells of infinite shapes and sizes: the polished, the patinated, and the peculiar. From porcelain cones and miters to coleus and whirls, the collector’s favorites account for barely five percent of known species (mollusks are the second largest phylum after arthropods), and it is possible we haven’t even discovered half of them. They are abundant and widespread, living from the Arctic to the Antarctic, in oceans and in streams, ponds, and lakes on every continent. They have been discovered on high Himalayan peaks, in bleak deserts, and on sandy beaches as well as in shallow lagoons and water as deep as 21,00 feet. The marvelous collection of shells featured here is both a celebration and a scientific investigation.

Philippe Bouchet’s writing is rich with the flavors of malacology, bringing in examples of biodiversity, the threats from anthropogenic pressure, and the important scientific and patrimonial role played by natural history museums, which are invaluable conservatories. We follow the author and his team in their exploration work, sampling and sifting, on board the French Institute for Research and Development vessel, off the coast of New Caledonia.

The author writes that “Most of the time, you may not recognize a shell but it does not mean it’s necessarily a new species.” It can take several years for the small community of international experts to be certain of a new discovery. It is just as difficult to work out which species are rare and which are threatened with extinction, as they defy human jurisdiction. With a true sense of wonderment, he discusses how incredible it is that in the twenty-first century (an age of genetics, nanotechnology, and advanced space exploration), a number of species of plants, animals, and fungi on the surface of the planet (let alone beneath the waves) remain “undiscovered,” unstudied and/or unnamed.

This fascinating text with its amazing images is ideal for shell collectors, natural history buffs, and admirers of great photography books.

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Pruning

A Practical Guide

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As successful gardeners understand, pruning enhances the beauty, health, and productivity of plants, and this invaluable guide shows how to prune hundreds of shrubs, trees, and climbers.

This richly illustrated volume devoted to pruning, one of the most important yet largely overlooked aspects of gardening, provides up-to-date techniques and step-by-step drawings helpful to both beginning and experienced gardeners. Packed with detailed yet straightforward advice, it shows gardeners how to improve the quality of flowers on shrubs, increase the productivity of fruit trees and bushes, turn a tangled climber into a beautiful display, keep plants in their allotted places, and reduce disease problems.

To provide a general overview and familiarity with the subject, the first chapters are devoted to basic techniques and essential tools. The heart of the book features an illustrated directory in color of hundreds of ornamental plants, including shrubs, trees, climbers, roses, and clematis. Each account explains whether a particular plant benefits from pruning, and if so, how and when to do it and what technique is most suitable and efficient.

An invaluable reference book, Pruning will give gardeners at any level of skill the confidence to enjoy one of the most interesting, creative, and rewarding activities and to derive the benefits from improved plant performance.

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Gardens of Revelation

Environments by Visionary Artists

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This lively international tour spans from the soaring spires of Watts towers in Los Angeles to the spirit-lifting Camel Yard and Owl House in New Bethesda, South Africa. 

With incisive intelligence and beguiling prose, John Beardsley tells the story of some twenty-five "visionary environments" and the fiercely independent individuals who created them. Beardsley also situates the work in the larger contexts of traditional garden design, religious architecture, environmental sculpture, and folk art. The thought-provoking text combines with dazzling views of the far-flung gardens to make this an inspiring volume.

 

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Florida Keys Dive Guide

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Described as "an excellent investment for divers" in the press, Abbeville's exciting scuba diving travel books combine the best in underwater photography with the most complete, in-depth, and practical information on the world's most popular diving sites.

Three-dimensional maps in full color illustrate twenty-seven of the most spectacular dives in the Florida Keys. These maps offer what no book has ever before provided: the information needed to plan your dive down to the last detail. You can review the exact layout of each site — including depths, sizes, and distances between reefs and wrecks or any hazards — and even the lighting conditions for optimum underwater photography.

The short chapters covering each dive provide crucial data about depths, currents, weather variables, and plant and animal life. The book ends with a full-color visual encyclopedia of the most common fish that inhabit the area. New to this updated edition is coverage of the Spiegel Grove, the world's largest artificial reef, sunk off of Key Largo and opened to divers in June 2002.

The experts' lively text has been vetted by Diving Science and Technology Corp. (DSAT), which is a corporate affiliate of Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI), making these the most reliable guides for the expert as well as the first-time diver.

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Hidden Himalayas

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An intimate gaze into one of the last truly exotic places on earth.

Two young Americans take us to Humla, an ancient territory at the edge of Nepal where no Westerner has ever lived before. In breathtaking photographs and evocative prose, Thomas Kelly and Carroll Dunham capture Humla's limitless vistas and disclose intimate details of the lives of its extraordinary people: yak herders, caravan drivers, shamans, and brides who are shared among brothers.

Here is a land of eternally snow-capped mountains and sweeping valleys. A land as eerie and forbidding as the landscape of some distant moon, its people all but forgotten by the rest of the world. Their lives are a struggle — the alpine soil metes out sustenance grudgingly, and long winters threaten to banish the warmth of life forever. Yet these lives yield untold riches. As if the splendid isolation and sheer altitude of the hidden Himalayas bring them closer to the gods, the people of this land are possessed of a spirituality few Westerners will ever know.

Kelly's extraordinary photographs are accompanied by Dunham's evocative and lyrical account of life as the people of Humla conceive it: a cycle of fall, winter, spring, and summer. In a world made easy, accessible, and all too familiar by supersonic travel, television, and communication at the click of a mouse, here is an enlightening glimpse into the lives of a virtually untouched people.

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Private Gardens of the Fashion World

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An intimate look at the gardens of some of the world's most esteemed fashion designers.

Like their first designs for the runway, the gardens of the couturiers are exquisite creations of color, texture, line, shape, and form. This lavishly illustrated volume takes the reader on a private tour of the gardens of the most renowned fashion designers in the world.The reader is invited to savor the formal elegance of Hubert de Givenchy's garden in Normandy and the joie de vivre of his garden in the south of France; the bold exoticism of Yves Saint Laurent's garden in Marrakech; the timeless grace of Valentino's garden in Tuscany; the luxuriant grandeur of Oscar de la Renta's garden in Connecticut; the quaint charm of Hardy Amies's garden in the Cotswolds; and many others.

Stunningly beautiful and sensuous, Private Gardens is sure to be irresistible to aficionados of fashion and garden lovers alike.

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Gardens Through History

Nature Perfected

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The gardens of the world's great civilizations are revealed through sumptuous color plates and a fascinating text.

With its sumptuous color plates, comprehensive scope, and fascinating text, this ground-breaking international history of the garden as an art form is easily the most ambitious and rewarding work of its kind. Beginning with the ancient civilizations of Egypt, Greece, and Rome, this book skillfully uncovers the evidence of gardening through the art, history, and literature of these early sites of culture, as well as later findings of archaeology. It then takes us farther afield into the later civilizations of Islam and Mughal India, reveals the important contributions of Italy and France, China and Japan, lingers in the incomparable gardens of England, and finally transports us to the New World.

Structured around themes of the international exchange of aesthetic ideas and the exciting saga of the study, cultivation, and distribution of plant life, the book's progression is both chronological and geographic; each chapter identifies and discusses the major design and horticultural contributions made to garden history in each period and by each society. Although there have been numerous garden histories, there has never been one of this historical and global scope, a history that is solidly based in the author's vast learning, both in the worlds of literature and art as well as gardening, and graced by is masterful prose.

Another factor that differentiates this comprehensive history from the others is its final section, which explores the dramatic impact on Europe of the discovery in 1492 of a new continent with its own unique flora and fauna, which led to the opening of a fresh chapter in science. The author develops this section of the book through an extensive coverage of the history of garden culture in the Western Hemisphere, beginning with the worldwide exchange of new plant discoveries starting in the seventeenth century as European plantsmen scoured the world for exotic additions to the plantings in fledgling botanical gardens. Beginning with what is known of colonial American gardens and the extraordinary efforts in this century to reconstruct them at such sites as Mount Vernon, Monticello, and especially Williamsburg, the author leads us through the accomplishments of New World gardeners, including those of South America and Mexico, ending up with a survey of the newest international developments in gardening.

From ancient Persia to the modern private estates of Europe and North America, gardening has been one of the most consistent signs of a great civilization and the most visually absorbing expression of culture.

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Creating a Garden for the Senses

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Featuring gardens, plants, and flowers that appeal to our senses of sight, smell, touch, taste, and hearing, this invaluable book will enrich the pleasures of gardening and of visiting gardens.

In a text that is both inspirational and useful, author Jeff Cox explains not only how to truly appreciate the gardens we visit but also how to design a garden to fully satisfy our own preferences. He points out that one of the best ways to unleash your creativity is to look at what other successful gardeners have wrought.

Jerry Pavia's marvelous photographs illustrate many examples of the techniques and themes under discussion. For this book Pavia traveled throughout the United States and Europe to photograph the sort of beauty that touches the senses and, through them, the heart.

Cox shows us how to employ all of our senses to heighten our awareness of the key elements of a garden. We learn, for example, how to understand color and its perception; assess form and line; plan fragrant plants according to season; increase the tactile interest in a garden; create natural symphonies; and grow tasty plants. Special features include recommended plants for each of a garden's sensual qualities, practical garden design tips, and a descriptive plant list.

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The Complete Book of Bonsai

A Practical Guide to Its Art and Cultivation

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Presenting a unique blend of information and ideas, The Complete Book of Bonsai is the most lavish and up-to-date guide to the subject yet published. Harry Tomlinson is an internationally recognized authority on bonsai, and here brings this absorbing discipline within everybody's reach.

CLASSIC STYLES EXPLAINED

The origins and development of bonsai are traced, and the underlying principles of this fascinating art clearly explained. The classic styles are listed and illustrated, together with full descriptions of how they were derived from models in the world. Outstanding examples of plantings in all of the various styles are shown. The types of containers are detailed, and the importance of their use for different trees or styles explained. Advice is given on placing and exhibiting your completed bonsai.

CLEAR STEP-BY-STEP SEQUENCES

There is comprehensive information on how to create a bonsai from a seedling, cutting, or garden center plant. Clear step-by-step sequences take you from the initial raw material through to the finished bonsai, showing the superb results that can be achieved. All the tools and techniques of bonsai are illustrated and explained, and their use described in detail. Maintenance and propagation sections tell you everything you need to know to keep your bonsai beautiful and healthy, or to create your own trees.

DETAILS OF MORE THAN 100 SPECIES

A photographic catalogue of bonsai trees and shrubs lies at the heart of the book, providing the cultivation and styling details of over 100 different species. Each entry is accompanied by an original full-color photograph of at least one outstanding specimen. This section is supplemented by a further compendium of trees and shrubs that can be grown as bonsai, giving a total of over 300 to choose from. The Complete Book of Bonsai reveals every aspect of the art, with inspirational ideas and practical advice at every turn. Whether you are a beginner who would like to grow just one or two trees, or an experienced enthusiast who wishes to build up a whole collection, it is the essential reference work.

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