Most helpful positive review
45 of 48 people found the following review helpful
A Landscaper's Dream Come True!
on October 27, 2011
I've been in love with Michael Dirr's brain since I was a student of his at U of I, Urbana in the 70's. Like other fans, I've got each addition of his "Manual of Woody Landscape Plants", the industry Bible. If your nursery or landscaper does NOT have a weather-beaten copy of the Manual in their shop or truck, DO NOT HIRE THEM!!! lol
I received advance notice of this book's release and placed an advance order, counting the days until arrival. And it's finally HERE<<<, in my hot little hands, and ready to be devoured and enjoyed.
Note: The weight of this book is NOT for the faint of heart. It must surpass 6-7 pounds, as a hard cover. The quality of the paper used for printing is of high quality; the way a high-priced coffee table book should look and feel.
The photos show a lifetime of passion by Dr. Dirr; this must be one of his proudest achievements, to place in ONE spot just some of the photos he's taken throughout his career. Crisp, clean and sharp; some show Autumn colour, flowers, and adult form, which will be invaluable to landscape services. When you are trying to impress upon a client just HOW BIG a certain tree will become and they don't believe you, THIS book will put that topic to rest.
This certainly does not replace the Manual of Woody Plants; it's a short cut with Dirr's usual pithy comments. There's adult size and zoning, with a paragraph or two about each genus and species, but you'll certainly need the Manual for more specifics.
What is missing from this book, which I was hoping was present but is not, is clear close-ups of terminal buds of the trees and shrubs. Even in the Manual of Woody Plants, the majority of line drawings are only of the individual leaves and rarely a terminal bud, which is KEY to identifical of the more unusual of plants. A friend of mine, who is an arborist, is weekly running into botanical oddities that were dragged from the woods of Wisconsin or Michigan, or ordered from a now defunct nursery and he has NO CLUE what these things are! He and I log 2-5 hours per week, trying to key them out from Dirr's descriptions in the Manual; if he had included terminal buds in this book, it would have made it perfect.
However, most people do not have to key out random and odd Ostrya virginiana or Lindera benzoin trees on a daily basis so they will love and cherish this fine volume. I knew I needed one copy; I was waiting to delve into it to see if I need another. Yup, I do: one for my office and one for my truck, to take to meetings.
Any Dirr fan will want/need this book to add to their collection of one of our nation's greatest living horticulturists. Do I recommend it? See above! :)