‘Clever, pretty, fun and informative – what more can a reader ask for?’ Sara Maitland, author of Gossip From the Forest We’re surrounded in cities by trees, quiet colossuses that most of us don’t know by name. Does that matter? It’s certainly possible to appreciate a tree for its beauty, its shade and its shelter without knowing whether it’s an alder, an elder, a lime or a beech. But look harder, and we begin to see the beauty beneath the bark – the tales of how trees are integral to medicine and art as they are furniture and firewood; the stories of why wild figs grow on the banks of Sheffield’s rivers and why the ash tree is touched with magic and mischief. As well as being an illustrated guide that will help you identify some of the species you see around town every day, Sylvan City is also a potted-journey through our cities’ woody places and a literary hunt for where their wild things are. Inviting readers on an intricately illustrated journey into the urban forest, Sylvan City is both a practical guide to identifying twenty of the most common trees standing sentry on our street corners, and a lyrical, anecdotal treasure trove of facts and history, culture and leafy lore.
Review: Full of gems; a manifesto for green cities. Babbs will turn us all into urban rangers, an unquiet army of neighbourhood watchers. * Max Adams, author of Wisdom of Trees * Dulce et utile. (I’m allowed the Latin for “both sweet and useful” here because the botanical science is as sound as the cultural, historical and poetic aspects.) This is a delightful book: clever, pretty, fun and informative – what more can a reader ask for? Even a committed rural dweller like me is impressed. Big thanks to Helen Babbs, who has solved a fair number of my 2019 Christmas present problems already. * Sara Maitland, author of Gossip From the Forest *
Contents: 1: THE ALDERS 1: Common alder 2: Italian alder 2: THE ASHES 1: Common ash 2: Raywood ash 3: THE BEECHES 1: Common beech 2: Copper beech 3: Hornbeam 4: THE BIRCHES 1: Silver birch 2: Himalayan birch 5: THE BUTTERFLY BUSHES 1: Buddleja davidii 2: Leyland cypress 6: THE CHERRIES 1: Wild cherry 2: Crab apple 7: THE ELDERS 1: Common elder 2: Lime and pine 8: THE ELMS 1: English elm 2: Wych elm 9: THE FIGS 1: Common fig 2: Mulberry 10: THE HAZELS 1: Common hazel 2: Turkish hazel 11: THE HORSE CHESTNUTS 1: Horse chestnut 2: Sweet chestnut 12: THE LIMES 1: Common lime 2: Silver lime 13: THE MAIDENHAIRS 1: Ginkgo biloba 2: Caucasian wingnut 14: THE MAPLES 1: Sycamore 2: Norway maple 15: THE OAKS 1: English oak 2: Red oak, holm oak and pin oak 16: THE PINES AND ANOTHER CONIFER 1: Maritime pine 2: Dawn redwood 17: THE PLANES 1: London plane 2: American sweet gum 18: THE POPLARS 1: Black poplar 2: Lombardy poplar 19: THE TREES OF HEAVEN 1: Tree of heaven 2: Indian bean tree 20: THE WHITEBEAMS 1: Bristol whitebeam 2: Rowan 21: THE YEWS 1: English yew 2: Willow
Author Biography: Helen Babbs is a writer, editor and journalist, with a particular interest in urban wildlife. She is the writer of two books, My Garden, the City and Me, which was nominated for two garden writing awards, and Adrift Helen’s articles have been published by the Guardian, Telegraph, Sunday Times and New Statesman, among others. She lives in London.