Japanese Maples 4th edition

by J.D Vertrees and Peter Gregory

cover of Japanese Maples bookI have been fortunate enough to review the revised 4th Edition of the classic book ‘Japanese Maples’ by J.D Vertrees and Peter Gregory.

This Timber Press stalwart has sold over 150,000 copies and is a must have for the real Japanese maple enthusiast. It is a glorious collaboration between the late renowned expert Vertrees and the now retired, Curator of Westonbirt and Chairman of the Maple Society, Peter Gregory.

This concise book does not strive to be an identification key or a technical reference but is intended to be an approachable, beautiful book, aimed at amateur enthusiasts and professional growers alike. This reality is demonstrated by its 500 clear colour photographs and 600 plant descriptions. This book deserves its place among other quality horticultural books on your bookcase.

I particularly enjoyed the chapter on character and history, which incorporates historical, social, and literary Acer references. I was also struck by the useful propagation chapter, including guides to layering, grafting and seed propagation.

I approached this book as an Acer fan, but it has definitely opened my eyes further to the delight and wonder of this beautiful genus. In particular I have been struck by Acer shirasawanum ‘Aureum’ which has amazing form and colour, and the much loved Acer palmatum ‘O sakazuki’, both of which I plan to plant here at the Eden Project.

I think this book is absolutely right to say “the diversity of size, color, form, shape and utility is so great that, when Japanese maples are selected wisely, they will fit almost any landscape need.”

Available from Timber Press (USA) and Timber Press (UK)

Review by Jamie McCormack, Eden Project, July 2010

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