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Everyday Gardeners

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TV Can Be Educational

I always wondered why my dad read medical textbooks while watching TV. Then last Saturday I found myself doing the same thing during the Army-Navy football game—only I was skimming through a book about trees.

justwWith hardly any scoring going on in the first half of the game, my library called. I needed something I could skim through, not an intense novel or complicated philosophical tome. I found it in “The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Trees” (Timber Press 2005).

One of the things I like about this book is that it illustrates a wide range of species and cultivars—including some rare ones. Ever hear of a variegated oak? I hadn’t either, but they’ve got some in this book. Many of the cultivars and species are more familiar to Europeans, as the book was originally intended for that audience, but as the Foreword notes, there is plenty of crossover potential for North America.

Another thing to like: lots of lists upfront, showing what species to plant for particularly trying circumstances. Got sandy soil? Try a black oak (Quercus velutina). Poorly drained soil? Then swamp white oak (Quercus bicolor) or pin oak (Quercus nigra) can stand in. It’s always reassuring to know Mother Nature has an answer for everything.

Now if She can just come up with a cure for the common hangover New Years revelers seem to experience annually.

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