The Pruning Book
by Lee Reich
The Taunton Press. 1997. Can be ordered from Taunton Direct,
Inc., 63 South Main Street, P.O. Box 5507, Newtown, CT 06470-5507.
Phone: 800-888-8286. $27.95 hardcover. 244 pages.
(Price/availability info may have changed since original publication
Reviewed by Robert R. Chambers (5/1997)
The latest book from Lee Reich is an excellent example of an
elegant book on a mundane subject. The 150 colored pictures are
beautiful, the typography is refined, the whole book says "quality." It
is not quite a coffee-table book, but it is a pleasure to look at.
Reich covers the subject pretty completely in a measured way. The
diagrams are good. The advice in areas where I have had experience seems
appropriate. He starts with a general section on tools and procedures
and the theoretical background of pruning. Then he takes up specific
plants, species by species, in groups such as deciduous ornamental
bushes, then ornamental trees, evergreens (both coniferous and
broadleaved), ornamental vines, edible fruits and nuts, houseplants and
herbaceous plants. The plant groupings are intended to enable users to
know how to prune a plant even if they do not know the species.
I was particularly interested to notice that Reich comments on
specialized pruning applications: pollarding, pleaching, topiary,
standards, bonsai, espalier and even lawnmowing and scything. The
diagrams are excellent.
Reich recommends this as a book to be read when there is snow outside in
the winter. It is indeed much more readable than the usual how-to books.
At the same time it does a good job of providing directions when the
time comes to take action. It is not, however, an exhaustive book; that
is, it does not list all the ways of doing everything. For most
gardeners, however, it would be a good choice for a first book on this
subject and will be a pleasure to own and read.
© Copyright 1997, California Rare Fruit Growers, Inc.
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