Trees capture the imagination of the stoniest hearted, and enjoyment of them extends way beyond a core interest in plants and gardening. They represent permanence and longevity and have become symbolic of the health of our planet. People plant trees to mark events of public and private importance, and parks and arboretums attract thousands of visitors each year to witness the annual spectacles of spring and fall — or simply to enjoy the trees.
In this book, Toomer explores the fascinating subject of collecting trees from a historical, practical, and philosophical standpoint and in doing so illuminates the very special relationship that exists between humans and trees. What inspires so many of us to become tree collectors? How do we choose what to collect, and what makes us narrow it down to witch hazels or magnolias? And he looks at the different motivations behind tree collections ranging from aesthetic criteria to collections planted for education value or for scientific research. For those interested in planting a handful of trees, for armchair tree collectors, for those who collect trees on a large scale — in private and public gardens, cemeteries, urban landscapes, schools, and, of course, arboretums — this is a hugely inspiring, well-structured, comprehensive treatment of the subject that provokes thought and provides practical advice on everything from budgets and maintenance to plant selection, labeling, and public safety.