It has been twenty-five years since Timber Press released the English translation of the immortal Gerd Krüssman’s monumental, three-volume Manual of Broad-leafed Trees & Shrubs. The remarkable Sean Hogan is following much the same path with a series of color books on woody plants. A walking botanical and horticultural encyclopedia, Sean has a deceptively easy-going, informal, and witty manner—a real Pied Piper. His writing style is similarly engaging with a breezy informality distinctly different from that of Krüssman.
Frustrated gardeners living in climate zones below USDA 7 may well debate his use of “temperate.” Many in the Greater Portland area, locale of Sean’s nursery, Cistus, and his metastasizing home garden, may wonder the same thing after this year’s frigid winter.
Those gardening in USDA zones 8 and above, however, can rejoice in finding some new woody plants for their gardens. Those seeking smaller tree choices will be especially rewarded as many of the book’s recommendations involve large shrubs verging on the tree-like. Sean has a gifted eye for structure, texture, color, and combinations, whether in individual plant studies or in the arrangement of plants in the landscape. His photographic eye is similarly informed in his artful habitat shots.
Timber Press and Sean are to be congratulated for producing another handsome, engaging, and beautifully photographed book for our garden libraries.
Ted Kipping, arborist
San Francisco, California