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Extraordinary Leaves

Extraordinary Leaves
Stephen Green-Armytage and Dennis Schrader
Firefly Books
Publication Date: 

cloth, 272 pp., $45.00

Celebrating the diversity of plant foliage, Stephen Green-Armytage has captured through his camera lens the astonishing beauty of leaves in this colorful volume, which extols their individuality. The talented photographer directs attention to leaf color, pattern, edges, texture, shape, size, and seasonal variation in this work arranged in chapters by common traits. He points out the delicacy of declining foliage; often skeletonized, such specimens have the exquisite fragility of diminutive sculptures or fine lace. Several photographs record the outline of climbing vines that add colorful pattern to walls with their advancing displays of foliage. The fascinating text by the knowledgeable horticulturist and landscape designer Dennis Schrader that accompanies each chapter is informative, focusing on the quality of a leaf that makes it an example of a particular trait. Even though color and size are the first characteristics that come to the mind of a gardener when designing a landscape, Schrader notes that "texture can be the signature of a leaf: [such leaves] add a sculptural dimension to the overall picture." His narrative encourages the reader to think more holistically about the significance of leaves.

— Marilyn K. Alaimo, garden writer and volunteer, Chicago Botanic Garden