October 27, 2010
Interested in learning more about the Arboretum Library and how you can make the most of this valuable service? Join librarian, Susan Eubank, for a Library Orientation. Susan has 17 years of professional experience researching in botanical and horticultural libraries and has developed two different orientations tailored to your level of interest and expertise. Contact her at 626-821-3213 or via email to arrange a time for your free Library Orientation. Individuals and groups welcome.
Knowing the Plant World: Exploring the Arboretum Library
Get an overview of the Arboretum Library, it collections and services. This class is for anyone who is curious about what wonderful resources in this valuable and unique library. You will learn about using the materials, Library catalog and internet resources to find information on gardening and plants. From pests, diseases and sustainable practices to native plants in climates similar to Southern California, the Arboretum Library has information on it all.
Do Plant and Garden Research Like a Professional: An In-depth Exploration of the Arboretum Library
Learn how to use the library to do research as well as find other information sources about plants. This class is for anyone who has a general understanding of the Arboretum Library collection and who would like to know how to use horticultural and botanical resources in more detail. Bring your questions as an example for research.
If you've ever wondered what type of tree that is along the side of the road, a great place to start is with a field guide. Peterson Field Guides are some of the best known and they cover a variety of flora and fauna across the United States. Field guides focus on differentiating factors between species and include specific images to help with identification and include descriptions of the species and its range. Stop by the Arboretum Library to check out a field guide for trees or plants or wildflowers or insects before your next hike through the hills, your neighborhood or the Arboretum itself.
Find Peterson Field Guides: Western Trees in the Arboretum Library catalog here.
October 24, 2010
Interested in adding some striking, yet water-wise, plants to your garden? Succulents for the Contemporary Garden, by Yvonne Cave, describes hundreds of succulents that could add color, texture and interest to any garden in the area. This book doesn't include cacti, but instead focuses on succulents that are more user-friendly (or at least more finger-friendly!). Hundreds of beautiful photographs show the huge variety in this category of plants. Great for gardeners new to the topic or for connoisseurs looking for a special addition to their garden.
Find this book in the Arboretum Library here or stop by to check out this book or the many others the library has on cacti and succulents.
October 20, 2010
There are so many types of plants that it can often seem overwhelming to even start learning about botany. However, this book, A Tour of the Flowering Plants by Priscilla Spears, provides a good overview of many of the common families of flowering plants found in the US and Canada. The plant families are laid out in a tree diagram to help you visualize the relationship between the types of plants. She then goes through the families with illustrations and descriptions for each. While not exhaustive, this book provides a good starting point for learning about the classification and differences between families of plants that you will encounter during a trip to the Arboretum. This book also comes with a disk that contains a PDF copy of the book, so you can search through it on your computer and reference it later.
Find this book at the Arboretum Library here and make sure to stop by the library on your next trip to the Arboretum. Everyone can browse the collections and members can check out books.
October 13, 2010
Nature is a popular choice for photography and this book focuses on one niche of that category – garden photography. Visiting a place like the LA Arboretum can be a great opportunity to capture some amazingly beautiful images and The Art of Garden Photography by Ian Adams can help you take the best possible pictures. The book covers a variety of topics related to garden photography including appropriate camera settings and composition.
One nice feature of this book are the numerous examples of identical pictures taken with different settings/equipment. It makes it very clear how the choices of the photographer effect the outcome of the picture. And of course this book is filled with a beautiful photographs!
Find this book in the Arboretum Library catalog here and make sure to stop by the Arboretum Library on your next visit.
The Reading the Western Landscape Book Group met last week to discuss The Lady in the Lake. Below is a summary of the questions that were brought up for that book and a preview of the book that will be discussed on November 3.
October 2010 – Lady in the Lake
The Lady in the Lake, by Raymond Chandler (originally published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1943). Find it at your local library.
Here is the original New York Times Book Review blurb about our October choice.
“October 31, 1943, by Isaac Anderson, Lady in the Lake By Raymond Chandler
Private Investigator Philip Marlowe is given the job of finding an errant wife who has been missing for more than a month. He finds a dead body and evidence of murder, but that does not end the matter for the body is identified as that of another woman. While digging deeper into the affair Marlowe encounters a very tough cop who resents interference in police matters and who is to learn that Marlow can be as hard-boiled as the next man when the occasion requires it. By the time two other people have been murdered Marlowe begins to understand what has been going on and is ready to point out the killer. A fat country Sheriff who is not such a fool as he looks gives help at a critical moment. This is a fine example of the type of fiction of which Raymond Chandler is a master. ”
Specific questions for this book include:
What did Raymond Chandler use his descriptions of plants for?
Was there any part of the plot that didn't make sense for you?
What insights into human character did the story illuminate? Or was it just a good puzzle?
What were some ways Chandler tried to have you understand his characters?
What is the particular strength of his language?
Could you empathize with anyone? Did he want you to?
What was Marlow's compulsion to keep telling his observations? This question led us to thinking about juxtaposing all the times he told his story and how they compared.
What else did he hide besides the scarf?
November 2010 – Blacker Than a Thousand Midnights
Discussion on Wednesday, November 3, 2010, 7:00 p.m.
Blacker Than a Thousand Midnights, by Susan Straight; New York: Hyperion ©1994. Find it at your local library.
The life of a “straight and narrow” black man, a topic rarely treated in contemporary fiction. The protagonist is Darnell Tucker, a firefighter, and the setting is a racially mixed community in a volatile quarter of Los Angeles. By the author of I Been in Sorrow's Kitchen and Licked Out All the Pots. From the WorldCat summary.
Susan Straight also has a new book that has just been published called Take One Candle Light a Room.
October 9, 2010
Before you know it, Halloween will be here and your children will be in the mood to read stories about pumpkins. From scary pumpkins to the process of how a pumpkin grows from a seed to a fully developed gourd, recipes and instructions on how to carve a jack-o'-lantern, we have it all at the Arboretum Library. So, hurry in before these great books are all checked out! Find children's books about pumpkins at the Arboretum Library here.
Pumpkins by Jackqueline Farmer
October 6, 2010
Browsing through the stacks at the Arboretum Library can reveal some hidden and unexpected gems. The book Household Elegancies: Suggestions in Household Art and Tasteful Home Decorating by Mrs. C. S. Jones and Henry T. Williams is a very interesting book from 1875 describing a variety of crafts and home decor projects. The book is well illustrated with highly detailed drawings and includes directions for a variety of projects including making wax flowers, leather-work and decorative picture frames. Many of the projects have floral themes and the text is filled with such gems as, “Probably no one article of modern invention and ingenuity has afforded greater satisfaction than wall-pockets.” Check out this and other books about nature-based crafts at the Arboretum Library.