A Few TREEmendous Books!
Updated: Feb 7, 2022
EDIT - thank you so much for all the recommendations. There must be a forest full of words written about our beloved friends! I have added in some of these further down in the blog. Thank you!
It is always a great idea to share knowledge, resources, and ideas. Many people have recommended books, and many have also given me books, about trees.
This blog is about some of these.
Please do join in this conversation by using the 'comment' feature of the blog. Let us all know what books are important to you.
The ordering of these books to discuss, is random. Not in any particular order.
But first of all - watch this short video, by Suzanne Simard, where she describes some of her findings about how trees are a community. This is a truly inspirational book - let me know what you think of this video:
More about it here.
Finding the Mother Tree by Suzanne Simard
To continue with book recommendations, which I am adding to as readers offer their contributions. Please add your own in the comments.
Collins Tree Guide Owen Johnson
An essential read, recommended to me by Gavin Jones
Collins Tree Guide by Owen Johnson (goodreads.com)
Champion Trees of Britain and Ireland Owen Johnson
I have spent many happy days looking for the trees listed in this book, and many further days to be had.
Champion Trees of Britain and Ireland : The Tree Register Handbook: Owen Johnson: 9781842464526: hive.co.uk
The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate
Alongside Isabella Tree's Wilding, this book is the most people seem to cite as what really opened their eyes to a new way of seeing.
The Hidden Life of Trees : What They Feel, How They Communicate: Peter Wohlleben: 9780008218430: hive.co.uk
Finding the Mother Tree: Uncovering the Wisdom and Intelligence of the Forest Suzanne Simard
This book is even more startling, readable, relatable, and amazing than The Hidden Life of Trees, in my opinion. I am still reading this, and honestly, find it hard to put down. This woman's work and life is of incredible interest and worth, yet she was ridiculed and dismissed - even by scientists - (not just those who are more interested in making money than learning about the complex cycle of forest life). It is a great book, my favourite so far.
Finding the Mother Tree: Uncovering the Wisdom and Intelligence of the Forest: Suzanne Simard: 9780141990286: hive.co.uk
To Speak For The Trees My life's journey from ancient Celtic Wisdom to a healing vision of the forest
This was actually the first book I read which set me on the path to discovering all the others. Another remarkable scientist. A real eye-opener of a book.
"Canadian botanist, biochemist and visionary Diana Beresford-Kroeger's startling insights into the hidden life of trees have already sparked a quiet revolution in how we understand our relationship to forests. Now, in a captivating account of how her life led her to these illuminating and crucial ideas, she shows us how forests can not only heal us but save the planet".
To Speak for the Trees : My Life's Journey from Ancient Celtic Wisdom toa Healing Vision of the Forest: Diana Beresford-Kroeger: 9780735275072: hive.co.uk
ASH trees - these need a lot of love just now. This is an amazing book:
Epitaph for the Ash by Lisa Samson – review | Science and nature books | The Guardian
Margaret Bodley Edwards, a great friend, a great tree lover, told me about some of her favourites.
Margaret also posted a recommendation for this, clearly well-thumbed, book
Another book Margaret recommends is this one (which has been in my pile 'to read' for a while).
Books for children about trees are so very important too - my grandchildren have loved trees since they could notice them. I began calling my Lily, The Tree-Singer as, from before she could walk, I would hold her near a tree, and she would 'sing'. Here is a lovely looking book, also recommended by Margaret.
Another person who kindly offered their favourite books is a 'Facebook friend' who I hope very much to meet in person this year. Anthony Mills is an incredibly knowledgeable person, with kind and generous advice at all times, on all things tree-related. These are the people we need in our lives! Anthony, when asked about favourite books, replied 'Far too many to list, I mean like, several hundred..." So I asked what he is reading at the moment. This is what he told me :
Rackham's History of the Countryside, together with his completely transformed revision, the Illustrated History of the Countryside. Absolutely essential, constantly referred to by others, and I wish I had read them years ago!! And available very cheaply from Abe etc! Oh, and for visual pleasure at the moment on interlibrary loan, Andy Goldsworthy's 'Time', which features many [ephemeral] uses of tree parts. So you can see my definition of ''tree'' books is quite wide.
History of the Countryside by Rackham - AbeBooks
Time by Andy Goldsworthy (goodreads.com)
The Pioneer of the Rothbury Tree Wardens has been, as always, incredibly generous with his recommendations. Alan Winlow MBE, the remarkable Tree Man of Coquetdale, told me:
Years ago, researching advances in quality in education, I discovered some remarkable work by a teacher at Mount Edgecombe School in Sitka, Alaska. Amazingly, there is a geographical connection with Sitka Spruce, the subject of this book. The tree ticks all the boxes for excellent timber production, and as a result, it is planted by foresters worldwide. It grows vigorously, and the timber is light and strong. First Nation Basketmakers use the tree roots to make beautiful baskets; some are woven so tightly that they hold water!
This book by Ruth Tittensor is a tour de force.
Shades of Green : An Environmental and Cultural History of Sitka Spruce: Ruth Tittensor: 9781909686786: hive.co.uk
Alan also told me: I will start with the definitive work “Illustrated Trees of Britain and Europe”. It is, without doubt, one of the most important books ever produced on trees. It is beautifully illustrated and covers in meticulous detail all of the trees native to western and northern Europe and the majority of those introduced from other parts of the world. With over 800 pages, a heavy volume, it is a very expensive purchase but worth it!
Alan also points out that no collection of books about trees would be complete without, of course, John Muir:
The above are a few of his works.
What books would YOU recommend, that have not been mentioned here? Perhaps you could leave a comment?