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Dirr's Hardy Trees and Shrubs: An Illustrated Encyclopedia Hardcover – Illustrated, October 1, 1997
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From Library Journal
A first-class source on the very best garden trees and shrubs. Excellent color photos accompany the well-written plant descriptions, which point out both the positive and negative attributes of each plant, including physical features, hardiness, disease resistance, and growth preferences. A multitude of cross-referenced indexes will help readers find the right plant for each location and desired effect. (LJ 11/15/97)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"Before you invest in a tree or shrub, think about investing in this book." -- The Oregonian
"This book is a must for every serious gardener." -- Erica Glasener, Fine Gardening
"This volume...will become a standard garden reference source." -- Booklist, April 1, 1998
"Those readers not familiar with Michael Dirr's plant books would do well to make Dirr's Hardy Trees and Shrubs their first." -- Brian Maynard, HortScience
A first-class source on the very best garden trees and shrubs. -- Library Journal, December 1999
A photographic tour-de-force... -- The American Gardener
Dirrs illustrated encyclopedia is another in a series of exquisite horticultural and gardening books published by Timber Press. -- Choice, April 1998
Though my shelves sag under the weight of books about trees and shrubs, theres still space for a pictoral encyclopedia that does the subject justice. -- Sunset Magazine
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Top Customer Reviews
Alone among books on trees, Dirr provides not only descriptions of the trees, but he offers landscaping assessments. And he is not faint of heart. If he doesn't like a tree, he'll tell you. For example, of the Poplar, he famously wrote, "I have never recommended a Poplar to anyone, at least while conscious." Of the Common Ninebark he comments, "an extremely adaptable plant, perhaps even to nuclear attacks, and once established, requires a bulldozer for removal."
But it is when Dirr waxes lyrical about a tree that he loves that he achieves his apotheosis. He introduces one tree with this simple sentence: "I love this tree." He describes a beech forest as "one of the most awe inspiring sight in nature." The Silver Linden is the "Beauty Queen" among Lindens. Of the Maackii Amurensis he writes, "Unheralded and unknown, except in the gardens of the fortunate few."
Based on THAT comment, and the pictures of this extraordinary tree, I set out to find one. It took some doing. Now I have an allee of them that was planted 5 years ago. Every time I stroll past them, I thank god for Michael Dirr.
I also discovered the Metasequoia Glyptostroboides (Dawn Redwood) here. If anyone reading this can lay their hands on this tree and has room for it - GET IT.
Among other extremely useful features are the tree lists included in the back. He has listed trees by size, fruit, flower - you name it. The index lists trees both by their botanical name and their common name.
I can not begin to tell you how useful his evaluations are. I have a farm -- 150 acres. And bit by bit I am filling it with trees -- with Dirr's help. Without him I would be lost.
To someone experienced with woody plants, this picture book is just not enough info to really know what to expect from a plant. Get it, but also have the Manual alongside.
As a landscape designer, I could not exist without it as a reference. It's written (and photographed) by someone who's "been there, seen that" in heartfelt, knowledge-packed language.
I would suggest two changes to the author and publisher: If the "critical data/information"--zones, maturity height, etc.--were treated in smaller type (i.e., set off from the editorial text), there would be more space for Dirr's wonderful insights on each plant. Also, since I'm fairly new at Latin terminology, a phonetic descriptor for each of the Latin names, small and underneath each, would be very helpful.
This book could easily be priced (higher), and I bet it would sell just as many. I'd still buy it.