I am probably not alone in having become jaded about "wonders of the natural world" photographic anthologies; those slick and perfect screen-saver images of animal and plants just leave me cold. A book of tree photographs—big yawn, right? So what a surprise to fall in love with photographer Larry Lederman's book Magnificent Trees of the New York Botanical Garden (The Moncacelli Press; 2012).
In the late 1800s, when the American chestnut (Castanea dentata) reigned in Eastern forests, the tree was a symbol of national identity. Log cabins were built from its lumber, Christmas carols celebrated its nuts "roasting on an open fire," and the tree dominated the landscape. At the turn of the century, an estimated 4 billion American chestnut trees filled a quarter of forests in the Eastern United States.
Photos from the 2011 New York Botanical Garden's 21st Annual Patron Lecture, which featured Fergus Garrett, the head gardener of Great Dixter House and Gardens in East Sussex, England.