If you ask any student in the field of Ornamental Horticulture, Landscape Architecture, or perhaps even Arboriculture which text book they use on a regular basis, they will tell you The Manuel of Woody Trees and Shrubs by Michael A. Dirr. I acquired this book during my plant identification courses and have used it continuously since. Rarely does a week go by when I don't check this book to verify one fact or another concerning trees or shrubs.
That said, when Michael Dirr speaks, plant lovers will listen and listen we did at his lecture on Monday at Blithewold Mansion, Garden and Arboretum, home of Kris's Blithewold blog, in Bristol, RI.
Michael Dirr with his NBF, Kris on the right and Gail over his shoulder
His uniform is our uniform and while he looks like one of us (gardeners, plant geeks, lovers of nature ) with his baseball cap and practical footwear, his mind is the Library of Congress when it comes to plant identification and information. Trees are so often just background, observed yet unseen in detail. I am guilty of checking out this view
Sequoiadendron giganteum-planted in the 1930's
It is a gift when someone teaches you to see anew what is right there in front of you. Do you see the trees on your street or in your local park? What are their names?