Book reviews

Oak: fine timber in 100 years

    Download this review in PDF of Oak: fine timber in 100 years, Size: 282 Kb   OAK: FINE TIMBER IN 100 YEARS We are particularly pleased to announce the launch of a ground breaking French book on Oak silviculture, translated by Bede Howell, which has been mainly funded by Woodland Heritage and published...

01-06-2014 Hits:4677 Book Reviews

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Continuous Cover Management of Woodlands: A b…

    Download this review in PDF of Continuous Cover Management of Woodlands: A brief introduction, Size: 163 Kb   CONTINUOUS COVER MANAGEMENT OF WOODLANDS: A BRIEF INTRODUCTION BY RODNEY HELLIWELL (AUTHOR & PUBLISHER) SPONSORED BY WOODLAND HERITAGE Rodney Helliwell's latest small book is a very clear and practical explanation of continuous cover management. In fact, short of going in...

18-03-2014 Hits:3304 Book Reviews

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The British Oak by Archie Miles

    Download this review in PDF of The British Oak, Size: 85 Kb   THE BRITISH OAK BY ARCHIE MILES Woodland Heritage is proud to support this stunning 'Oak' book by Archie Miles Published by Constable & Robinson Ltd on 10 Oct 2013 £35.00 A major new work celebrating the Oak tree in Britain – exploring the history, culture...

01-11-2013 Hits:3324 Book Reviews

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Woodsman by Ben Law

      Download this review in PDF of Woodsman, Size: 118 Kb WOODSMAN BY BEN LAW Living in a Wood in the 21st Century Published by Collins on 28 Mar 2013 £14.99 “Ben Law’s house is my favourite Grand Design” Kevin McCloud Ben Law has lived as a woodsman in Prickly Nut Wood for over 20 years...

18-03-2013 Hits:3075 Book Reviews

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The Silviculture of Trees used in British For…

      Download this review in PDF of The Silviculture of Trees used in British Forestry, 2nd Edition, Size: 100 Kb This handbook provides a detailed guide to the biological suitability to different sites and soils for all important native trees and the most extensively used exotics. British woodlands and forests are often...

18-03-2013 Hits:3294 Book Reviews

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Ben Law's 'Roundwood Timber Framing'

      Download this review in PDF of Roundwood Timber Framing, Size: 55 Kb East Meon in Hampshire provided an appropriate venue to celebrate both building with roundwood timber and the launch of Ben Law’s new book - Roundwood Timber Framing.East Meon features some of England’s oldest standing timber-framed buildings some of which...

11-08-2010 Hits:4413 Book Reviews

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Wytham Woods Oxford's Ecological Laboratory

    Download PDF review of Wytham Woods Oxford's Ecological Laboratory, Size: 45.35 Kb Woodland Owners, Managers, Environmental Conservators and Naturalists will be delighted to discover that Oxford University Press has recently published a book on Wytham Woods written by Oxford University staff and other associated researchers. The contents of this book...

11-08-2010 Hits:3801 Book Reviews

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Windsor Chairmaking by James Mursell

This book is the first new book about the making and design of Windsor chairs for over 10 years. It has been written with a broad readership in mind. It is aimed both at existing Windsor chairmakers and also at those who are perhaps contemplating making their first chair. Detailed...

02-03-2009 Hits:3150 Book Reviews

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"The Art of Ian Norbury"

Book Review "The Art of Ian Norbury" Foreword by Simon Channing-Williams Ian Norbury was introduced to me when I was looking for someone to do some carvings of birds for a film I was producing. We had a thoroughly enjoyable meeting, shared a glass or two of wine and Ian lit a pipe. It’s been like that...

31-01-2008 Hits:3572 Book Reviews

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"Remarkable Trees of the World"

Dr Tim Cutler reviews our choice of book - and tells us about his beloved Physic Garden In 1996 Thomas Pakenham enthralled us with his "Meetings with Remarkable Trees". This was a new kind of book which owed little to conventional botany. The criteria for selection and inclusion of the trees...

31-01-2008 Hits:3683 Book Reviews

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"The Red Squirrel - Redressing The Wrong…

The Red SquirrelRedressing The Wrong By Charles Dutton MICFor The red squirrel was once common in all wooded areas of Britain and Ireland. I can recall a time when seeing them scurrying among the trees on my farm in Co Meath was an almost everyday occurrence. It is now however fifteen years...

31-01-2008 Hits:3370 Book Reviews

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Making the Grade by Ivor Davies & Guy Wat…

MAKING THE GRADE A guide to appearance grading UK grown hardwood timber Authors: Ivor Davies & Guy Watt I am proud to be part of the UK forest industry. Sitting on my desk is the new hardwood appearance-grading guide, which compares more than favourably with the equivalent French and American guides and considering the size of their resource...

31-01-2008 Hits:3890 Book Reviews

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"Champion Trees of Britain & Ireland…

Book Review by Peter Savill CHAMPION TREES OF BRITAIN & IRELAND Owen Johnson (editor). Champion trees of Britain and Ireland. Whittet Books Ltd, Hill Farm, Stonham Rd, Cotton, Stowmarket, Suffolk IP14 4RQ. 2003. Pp 192. 30 x21 cm. ISBN 1-873580-61-4. Price £25, or £17.50 (excluding postage) to Woodland Heritage members. This book lists historic, large, rare and remarkable trees...

31-01-2008 Hits:3458 Book Reviews

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"Remarkable Trees of the World"

Dr Tim Cutler reviews our choice of book
- and tells us about his beloved Physic Garden

In 1996 Thomas Pakenham enthralled us with his "Meetings with Remarkable Trees". This was a new kind of book which owed little to conventional botany. The criteria for selection and inclusion of the trees were size, age and personality, and he selected 60 magnificent specimens, all with a story to tell, photographed by himself in wonderful settings in the UK and Ireland.

This time, in "Remarkable Trees of the World" the theme continues, but on a global scale! If you have not been lucky enough to have been given this beautiful book for Christmas I do urge you to go out and buy one immediately.

In this book of 190 pages, richly illustrated with photographs of breathtaking quality, Mr Pakenham shows us another 60 carefully selected trees from round the globe. His inspiration for this new volume came from two sources: firstly, the sight of the huge Pagoda tree (Sophora japonica) which dominates the main street in Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard, an island off north east USA, and secondly a trip to the Kruger National Park in South Africa, where he clearly developed a love affair with the giant Baobabs (Adansonia). Indeed, many pages are devoted to these weird giants which range from Botswana to Australia, and especially the magnificent Avenue of the Baobabs at Morondava, Madagascar. The final photograph in the book of these trees at sunset is unforgettable.

This really is a wonderful selection of trees to delight us all. It includes the oldest living trees on earth - the bristlecone pines of California (Pinus longaeva), magnificent camphor trees in South Africa (Cinnamomum camphora), a spectacular Magnolia grandiflora in an equally spectacular courtyard in Padua, venerable olives in Turkey, huge mountain ash (Eucalyptus regnans) in Australia, and so many more. What pleasure he must have had in tracking down these specimens and in photographing them so well.

This book is such a delight to pick up and browse through at random. It provides an instant escape from the gloom of the world’s current problems and is the next best thing to actually hugging the tree yourself. I do hope we will not have to wait too long for "Even More Remarkable Trees of the World" and trust Mr Pakenham is on the trail of the next 60 trees even now.

Remarkable Trees of the World by Thomas Pakenham is published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson, Price £25.00. ISBN 0-297-84300-1

A Garden for Tree Lovers in London

The Chelsea Physic Garden was founded by the Society of Apothecaries in 1673. Pisa University had opened the first physic garden in Europe in 1543, and in 1621 the first one in Britain was founded in Oxford. Physic gardens were essentially training grounds for physicians and apothecaries, as plants were the major source of medicines (and many still are), and these gardens provided a protected environment where the plants could be grown and instruction in their use could take place. In time, most of these gardens have come to be known as "Botanic" gardens and only Chelsea, with its strong tradition of medicinal teaching and research, has retained its original title.

The centre of the Garden is overlooked by the magnificent statue of Sir Hans Sloane (the prime benefactor of the Garden) by Michael Rysbrack, which was erected in 1733.

The Society of Apothecaries chose their site of 3.5 acres (2 hectares) in a riverside village which already had notable gardens and orchards surrounding the great houses that had belonged to Henry VIII, Sir Thomas More, Sir John Danvers and other prominent men. We have to visualise Chelsea then without Wren’s Royal Hospital, without the Kings Road as a public highway, and as a place only safely and conveniently accessible by river. This certainly influenced the choice of site for the Garden, with steps at its southern gate approached by boat. No doubt the inherent qualities of the site - its free draining soil, its shallow south facing slope - also played their part. If the spread of London has today engulfed this once rural setting, and left it a trapped "green island" in a sea of buildings, these buildings themselves provide added protection, radiating heat in winter and keeping out chilling winds, so creating a micro-climate which enables rare and tender plants to thrive.

The 1751 garden layout.

The Garden is trapezoidal, with Royal Hospital Road to the north-west, Swan Walk on its north-east and the Embankment to the south-east. The main buildings and glasshouses are at the north end and major paths divide the Garden into unequal quadrants. Many medicinal and other useful plants are grown in the traditional area at the north end. Systematic order beds occupy the south-east quadrant. The formality of the design is diversified by fine and rare trees. In the north-east quadrant the largest outdoor olive tree (Olea europea) in Britain grows happily, near to a large cork oak (Quercus suber). This sector also has a large pomegranate (Punica granatum) growing with its back to the sunny west-facing wall. Other trees of note in this area include the Caucasian Wingnut (Pterocarya fraxinifolia), white and black Mulberries a large Catalpa, a Kermes oak (Quercus coccifera) and a magnificent Magnolia grandiflora. The north-west quadrant contains borders of historical interest, with plants relating to several famous previous Curators. Trees in this area include a Tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera), Zelkova serrata, Zanthoxylum, Ehretia dicksonii and a Northern pitch pine (Pinus rigida).

The south-west quadrant contains the newly refurbished cool fernery, which contains many rare and endangered species of ferns, and a nearby a large collection of grasses and bamboos. Important trees in this area include the Chinese persimmon (Diospyrus kaki), two maidenhair trees (Gingko biloba) - the tallest in the Garden, the Chusan palm (Trachycarpus fortunei), the paper mulberry (Broussonetia papyrifera), with common and black Walnuts and many more.

In the south-east quarter stands a fine Yew, and other trees of interest in the quarter are the Kentucky Coffee tree (Gymnocladus dioica), the Date Plum (Diospyros lotus), the Handkerchief tree (Davidia involucrata) and a fine Swamp Cypress beside the pond.

In total, the Garden can boast over 130 trees, so I have only listed a few of the vast selection that the visitor can admire and study.

The Garden is well worth a visit, whether one is interested in medicinal plants or trees. There are helpful printed guidebooks available, and knowledgeable guides run Garden tours, when the Garden is open to the public on Wednesday and Sunday afternoons from April to October.

For more details, phone 0207 352 5646 or write for membership information to: Chelsea Physic Garden, 66 Royal Hospital Road, London SW3 4HS or visit the web site:

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