British landscape designer Sir Humphry Repton mastered the art of the sell. His signature "Red Books," so-called for their signature moroccan leather binding, conveyed proposals to clients with detailed 'before' and 'after' sketches.
To look at a history of botanic illustration is to look at the changing significance of a plant over time. A new exhibit at Lotusland, in Montecito, California, does just this. Historic prints document these transitional periods—of plant as medical specimen, to exotic beauty, to garden delight—in a show titled "The Plant Hunters: Botanical Illustrations from the 16th to 19th Centuries," which runs through November 2.
Discovered as a witch’s broom on Cryptomeria japonica ‘Gracilis’, C. japonica ‘Little Champion’ is a dwarf form with a tidy globular shape, about 1 to 2 feet tall and 2 to 3 feet wide in 10 years. The finely textured needles, pale-green color and compact size make this a perfect container or rock-garden plant. Zones 6 to 8.