Reviews

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Dwarf & Unusual Conifers Coming of Age
A Guide to Mature Garden Conifers
by Sandra McLean Cutler

  • looked through your conifer book. I drooled all over some of the pages, but they held up pretty well! … All in all, a remarkable collections of photos of the Nat’l Arb collections. You have packed a lot into a compact book.
    Larry Mellichamp, Charlotte, NC — co-author, The Winter Garden
  • Wow! Your book definitely needs to be recommended for anyone interested in Conifers…Unusual…and Dwarf! It was wonderful — both photos and text. It makes me want to go visit The U.S. National Arboretum! … I have already picked out the conifers I am most interested in. I always like unusual shape and form, but now my awareness is heightened. Thank you so much. It is a treat!
    Maggie Mehr, Avid Gardener, Newburgh, NY
  • Received your book as a birthday present last July and have enjoyed it very much! I’m trying desperately NOT to get “bitten” too hard by the conifer monkey, ’cause I’m carrying quite a few others around the garden already. But, I’ve still got lots of holes to fill and these days I’m leaning toward the dwarf evergreens for backbone. I’m in AWE of what you’ve done with your book on conifers — I know what it takes to get published. Will there be more?
    Charles Diem, Smallwood Gardens
  • Two thumbs up – I salute you. Congrats! — Charlene (written on the florist’s card delivered with a center-piece bouquet of conifers)
    Charlene Harris — Editor – The American Conifer Society Bulletin
  • This is a good book! …. a fine introduction to garden conifers, with many excellent pictures and a text written with panache and verve.
    Lee Campbell — 1996 President – Western Region — American Conifer Society
  • My very first impression is incredible, magnificent, original, well put together! I am very impressed with your work, and I am not easily impressed. –Your 8% shaded note inserts are just great. They add personal comments in addition to general information. (The much needed human side of gardening) and allows the reader to stop reading at a particular spot and ‘rest’, while picking up additional information from the inserts. The picture quality is excellent, well done.
    Bob Obrizok — Author, A Garden of Conifers
  • Wow! Your book definitely needs to be recommended for anyone interested in Conifers…Unusual…and Dwarf! It was wonderful — both photos and text. It makes me want to go visit The U.S. National Arboretum! … I have already picked out the conifers I am most interested in. I always like unusual shape and form, but now my awareness is heightened. Thank you so much. It is a treat!
    Maggie Mehr — Avid Gardener, Newburgh, NY
  • Your book fills a void. You performed a valuable service and it belongs in every horticulture class in the country. We’ve been in the landscaping business for over 40 years, and could have used your book many times…
    Doc and Katy Abraham –The Green Thumb, Rochester, New
  • The photography is outstanding! On the other hand, the text is equally as good, with directions for care and maintenance, as well as wonderful description of plants and their culture…Cutler writes in a very reader friendly style and is sure to educate all levels of gardeners, landscapers, and professionals. — I don’t remember when I have been so enthralled by any book. This one is definitely going to be a gift of choice for several of the people on my list. My one son already put in his request for the book. I think I might have to chain my copy to my desk.
    Lorraine Keifer — Triple Oaks Nursery, Franklinville, New Jersey
  • …a user-friendly book…
    Suzanne Hively — The Plain Dealer — Cleveland, Ohio
  • Talk about enthusiasm! This handsomely produced book is absolutely packed with evidence of Ms. Cutler’s love for uncommon conifers… We are hopeful that Dwarf & Unusual Conifers Coming of Age will provide the push needed to move dwarf conifers into the mainstream of American gardening…
    Greg & Pat Williams — HortIdeas, Gravel Switch, Kentucky
  • A valuable resource!
    The ultimate conifer book just came out…
    “… my choices of some of the best gifts in print [12] this holiday season… for avid gardeners and landscape designers –… I’ve had problems finding information about mature dwarf and unusual conifers, until this year… Its 360 photographs make you feel like you’re walking through the plantings. It’s helpfully written and offers fully laid out and identified gardens and plant listings. This book catalogues the collections of dwarf conifers from the National Arboretum in Northeast Washington, the nation’s living museum of dwarf and unusual conifers.”
    From GREEN SCENE, Joel’s weekly garden/landscape column in The Washington Post, 11/29/97 —
    Joel M. Lerner — noted landscape designer, author and lecturer. Founder & CEO of Environmental Design, Capitol View Park, MD, a firm specializing in landscape consulting and design. He is author of five critically acclaimed books on landscape design and numerous articles and columns for professional and homeowners’ national publications. In addition to his weekly column for The Washington Post, Joel is in demand as a lecturer, and teaches seminars on landscape design and marketing.
  •  … is beautiful to behold and a boon to anyone interested in smaller conifers. Better yet, the content matches the photographs…
    Susan Banks — Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
  • I loved the comfortable writing style which made me feel that the author was speaking directly to me… Hugely informative and comfortable to read and understand. As a novice gardener, I enjoyed the attitude of “You can do it!” in Cutler’s writing.
    Vincy Nagy — artist & beginning gardener, North Ridgeville, Ohio
  • First of all – I would like to offer this book to my customers. I receive many requests for cultural information. People want to know where mature plants can be observed and compared. Your book has both. It is comprehensive, detailed… The diagrams with numbers indicating individual trees make a good reference for size and shape. …side bar notes are excellent…the reader feels comfortable with the author… I like the idea that the reader can use this book as a reference guide when purchasing from garden centers or a catalog like mine.
    Don Howse – PORTERHOWSE Farms — Sandy, Oregon
  • It’s a wonderful book that I can’t put down. I find a lot of useful info and some great photography. I also learned a new trick of the trade. There was mention of using a temporary lathe house while moving valuable plants in the summer. This bit of info alone was worth the price of the book. I’ll definitely use the idea.
    I especially enjoy that this book was written through the eyes of a newcomer to the world of conifers. I remember what it felt like to discover dwarf conifers. When I went to find out more about them, I suddenly was overwhelmed with strange botanical names. It was a bit intimidating at the time. Fortunately, I found some answers along the way. This book will be a great help for others. Thank you for your fine efforts.
    Stanley Eyre — President, Eastern Region, American Conifer Society
  • I love how visual the book is. I like the b&w photos where you point out the different textures and tonal characteristics. It is very organized and the visual references are clear & helpful. COOL, dear.
    Bernice Hall — home gardener, Flagstaff, Arizona
  • Congratulations on your beautiful book! It really is a masterpiece – one-of-a-kind and rare! Chapter 5 with all the photos & descriptions is an excellent resource. The print, feel of the pages and cover, and beautiful layout including exquisite photos (every one), and most of all your obvious love for conifers, make it a treasure. It is funny too. It’s a ‘helping’ book, clearly written with the intention to assist others and educate and inspire. I’m inspired.
    Thanks for doing it.
    Veronica Seronde — professional gardener, Flagstaff, Arizona
  •  …That’s only one of the reasons this is the best reference book on needled evergreens on the market today.
    Judy Lowe — Free Press Garden Editor, CHATTANOOGA FREE PRESS
  •  …easy to read, written with enthusiasm and a wonderful source for any gardener interested in learning more about these unusual plants.
    Lynn Lustberg – GARDENSHOWCASE – Portland, Oregon
  •  …is indeed a documentary proving homeowners don’t have to settle for evergreens that soon outgrow their space and welcome. I just wish she had written it 43 years ago.
    Jody Headlee – The Oakland Press – Rochester, Michigan
  •  …is a rich resource on a subject that has not received wide attention.
    Madeleine Wilde — Kirkland Courier, Kirkland, Washington
  • I just finished reading your conifer book from cover to cover. You have done such a wonderful job. Of course my favorite subject is ‘Watnong.’
    Helen Donn — Watnong Gardens, Morris Plains, New Jersey
  • How wonderful it is when an author like Sandra McLean Cutler can show mature dwarf and unusual conifers through her writing skills and the superb photography exhibited in the book. This is especially demonstrated by her use of the Gotelli collection as her theme. She could not have made a better choice.
    The numerous photographs provide a visual reference for mature specimens and group plantings. Ms. Cutler has done her homework well. All facets of gardening concerning conifers have been thoroughly covered: the history of the Gotelli and Watnong collections, classification of conifers, common and botanical nomenclature, growth habits, guidelines for hardiness, disease and pest control, even recommended reading lists for additional information.
    Ed Rezek — founding member of The American Conifer Society and long-time member of the ACS Board of Directors, from Preface, Dwarf & Unusual Conifers Coming of Age–A Guide to Mature Garden Conifers:
  • “…a refreshing and well-photographed look at one of the nation’s premiere conifer collections. The timing of this book’s printing could not be better. The ACS Office has received numerous requests from new members… This book’s visual focus on mature specimens and the sections on planting, care, and maintenance should serve the neophyte well.”
    Wade Harris — member of ACS Board of Directors, long time conifer nut and frequent contributor to the ACS Bulletin — quotes from Wade’s review in The American Conifer Society Bulletin, Volume 14, No. 1 – Winter, 1997.
  • A fantastic source of information for the landscape contractor and landscape architect. — Fun to read and informative with easy to follow examples for ideas on how to use dwarf conifers. — A must for all people who love or are involved in horticulture.
    Jim Smith — Blue Sterling Nursery, Bridgeton, NJ
  • Congratulations on your new book, Dwarf & Unusual Conifers Coming of Age. The photographs are spectacular, the informational sidebars are extremely helpful, and the emphasis on mature sizes of these wonderful plants is a novel and much appreciated approach. Anyone with an interest in dwarf and slow-growing conifers should make room on their bookshelves for this one!
    Jeff Iles — Professor of Horticulture, Iowa State University
  • This is a very different and very worthwhile ornamental plant reference based on the National Arboretum’s two conifer collections: The Gotelli Collections of Dwarf and Slow-growing Conifers and the Watnong Collection. Cutler both documents these significant national collections/gardens of mature specimens, and offers a reference for the use of dwarf conifers in landscape design. The book begins with the photos and descriptions of two tours, a drive-by and a closer walking tour through the paths and planting beds. These sections are filled with photos of groupings of plants throughout the seasons, which reveal a beautiful diversity of size, shape, texture, and color and supply many ideas for planting plans. Another third of the book contains descriptions, with succinct treatments of 350 conifers, mostly cultivars. This section is liberally sprinkled with many excellent photos and interesting sidebars. There are additional chapters on care and maintenance and the history of the collections. The graphic layout of the book is lively and appealing, as is the writing style. Suitable for all levels of readers.