Category: News from the Library
December 12, 2009
News from the Library
I've been having so much fun scanning the magazines, I've been neglecting the books. The new magazine articles in the Arboretum Library catalog are here. This link has books too. If you are interested in any of these articles or books just let me know at Susan.Eubank@Arboretum. org.
My magazine scan has also added to the Arboretum Library wishlists at Amazon. You can give a gift that we all can enjoy when you buy a book for the Library off our wishlists. There is one for children's books and one for the main collection.
Library volunteer, Pam Wolken reviewed the following book. The Arboretum Library call number is: SB63 .P39 2004.
"Theodore Payne (1872 – 1963) is an iconic figure in the Southern California landscape. Born in England and arriving in the California in 1893, Theodore Payne in His Own Words; A Voice for California Native Plants (Theodore Payne Foundation, Many Moons Press; 2004) provides Payne’s own recollections of snapshots of life in Southern California about 100 years ago. The memoir includes a new edition of Payne‘s 1962 Life on the Modjeska Ranch in the Gay Nineties, Adventures Among the Southern California Plants, and Brief History of a Life in Horticulture. Fortunately there is additional biographical information from the Theodore Payne Foundation to fill in the continuum of an extraordinary life.
Payne’s snapshots are clearly black and white with an economy of verbiage belying his education, leaving school at 16 to apprentice in a rigorous course of nursery and seed business training, and the times when information came slowly and travel was difficult at best. Soon after his arrival in Southern California, his admiration for the native flora grew and he recognized that they were disappearing. As a seedsman, he was determined to turn the tide; collecting native seeds, creating a desire to propagate them in cultivated gardens, and linking native plants to patriotism with his writings: Be a good Californian: be loyal to your own state and keep your landscape California, by planting the trees, shrubs and flowers native to California.
Payne was very clear about his role in the world “..I was not a gardener but a nurseryman. The latter’s work was to propagate young plants and trees, while the former’s was to grow these plants on to maturity..” Yet the role of gardener was the one most often open to him as he sought employment before starting his own seed business.
By the 1920’s, Payne was a recognized seed expert called to testify in a number of court cases using plant material as evidence. One in particular held that pressed flowers in a woman’s possession were the gift of Lucky Baldwin and her suit claimed that she had been married to Baldwin, that the flowers were from the Baldwin Ranch, and that the woman’s daughter was heir to Baldwin’s estate. Payne was unable to substantiate the woman’s claim. Such vignettes punctuating his tales make this collection well worth a look. It’s a trip down memory lane with a favorite elder."
Happy holidays and reading! The Arboretum Library will be closed, December 25, 2009.
November 13, 2009
News from the Library
Hello all and welcome newcomers:
The new titles list is again rich in magazine articles this month. Let me know if you are interested in any of the new titles. The item can be mailed if necessary.
I'm looking forward to "Reading the Western Landscape." The Arboretum Library is starting a book group that will explore the portrayal of western North American landscape in fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. The group will meet the 1st Thursday of the month with the initial organizational meeting on Thursday January 7, 2010, 7:00 p.m., at the Arboretum Library. We will use the Shared Inquiry™ method developed by the Great Books Foundation (see www.greatbooks.org). The first meeting will cover introductions, a brief discussion of the Shared Inquiry method, reading a short selection; having a brief discussion; determining a reading list for future months; assigning tasks and leaders, etc. Bring your enthusiasm and ideas for our explorations. If you have book suggestions now let me know at Susan.Eubank@Arboretum.org
50 Common Edible & Useful Plants of the Southwest
By David Yetman, (Tucson, Arizona : Western National Parks Association 2009)
Arboretum Library call number: QK98.5.U58 W47 Y48 2009
Reviewed by Bill Ramsey, Library Volunteer
This is a fascinating field guide to 50 plants common in the southwest ranging from agaves to walnuts. The author has included some historical notes about who first used the plants, for what purpose, and, in the case of food, how it was prepared.
Some food preparations he discusses are really different. An example is making tortillas from prickly pear seeds ground into flour. It’s just difficult to believe you can simply cut the blooms off pour the seeds out, grind them into flour and make a better-than-corn tortilla.
The author dispels many myths concerning plants. For example, the barrel cactus not really a source of water as it thought to be in some quarters. He points out you can dig the pulp out of the barrel portion and squeeze out a little bitter fluid if you can cut the top off. However, cutting off the top requires an axe or machete while avoiding the tough, wire like spines, Not exactly satisfying or do-able if you’re really dehydrated.
On the negative side his descriptions of the plants fall short in some instances. A novice would run into difficulty distinguishing between elderberry and graythorn unless they were very observant.
In summary the book is a well-written ethnobotany of the region. It’s an easy read plus many of the recipes look temping.
The Mushroom Exhibit will be closing at the end of December. Come visit and see the models before they go back in storage.
Thanks for reading!
Susan C. Eubank
Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden
301 North Baldwin Avenue
Arcadia, California 91007
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