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Rosemary Barrett
Firefly Books,
Publication Date: 

paper, 96 p., $16.95

British author Rosemary Barrett is certainly entranced by the beauty of maples and shares her enthusiasm for this genus with readers. Her focus is mainly on those that grow in climate zones warmer than U.S. Hardiness Zone 5, so this publication may be classified with other tantalizing gardening books out of Britain. From a gardener’s standpoint, it is good to expand one’s knowledge about maples through viewing the beautiful photographs by Derek Hughes, but the palette of suitable plants for colder climates is very limited.

The book is valuable for its information on cultivars of colder climate plants that are available in the British trade. Gardeners who want to grow something different will find her review of such plants useful. A search for North American suppliers may prove a challenge, even though the author includes a limited listing of maple specialty nurseries.

Many American gardeners will criticize the author’s general assessment of maples; there seems to be little or no mention of their negative aspects, such as the damage to turf when larger leaves are left on lawns too long or that roots of many trees are ever so close to the soil surface. Although the list of cultivars ofAcer negundo appears interesting, the Box Elder Maple will still be considered a "weed tree" to many.

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