Sunday, May 2, 2010

Japanese maples by JD Vertrees book review

Any Koi Garden library will have lots of books about Koi.  But a real Koi Garden library will also have a lot of books about the plants that make up the garden as well.  I am not talking about water plants; those are well covered in the pond books.  I am talking about real plants like trees, shrubs, etc.  And any gardener worth his or her salt (well not really salt, but you know what I am getting at…) would have a book about maple trees.  That is because you just cannot have a Japanese garden without maple trees; nope, no sire, Bob; just not possible.  And same goes for Chinese gardens as well….

Ok, so once you agree on the necessity of a book on maple trees, the rest is easy.  What you say?  How can it be easy to find the best book about maple trees in the world?  Why, because there is no question about the best?  It is “Japanese maples, third edition by J. D. Vertrees”.  There is one “best book” about maple trees, hands down, and this is it.  No ifs ands or buts.   It is hands down the best book about Japanese maples.  

Well maybe not the best, there is a fourth edition now available (just out in February this year).  I have the third edition, but I have heard good things about the second edition and Amazon reviews like the fourth edition.  I will report back when I get a chance to review it....

Why are J.D. Vertrees’ books so good?  It is because he was to maples what Gates and Jobs were to PCs.  He was the geek’s geek of all things about Japanese maple and this is his life's work.  And it not just me that think so.  The Washington Post had this to say about his books: ”The ultimate book about the aristocrat of trees ... the only English-language reference devoted to Japanese maples and one of the preeminent texts in the world for the propagation, identification and cultivation of this exceptionally useful plant.”

The Koi Gardener has looked up the maples that inhabit my garden and found great descriptions of both the Inaba Shadare or Dissectum and the always favorable Sango Kaku or Palmatum (Coral Bark maple).  Both of these are hardly “garden” variety maples (Get it?  I love it when a good pun comes together…). 

There are more than 600 descriptions of varieties and 500 photos that will cover all the Japanese maples that any Koi Gardener will encounter make this book a great gift and an indispensible addition to any Koi Gardeners’ library.  Get it or gift it!!!! 

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