Oliver Rackham rss

Raspberry and quince by Sarah Simblet

Warning: the beautiful trees in this book may very soon be extinct

31 May 2014
The New Sylva: A Discourse of Forest and Orchard Trees for the Twenty-first Century Gabriel Hemery and Sarah Simblet

Bloomsbury, pp.390, £50, ISBN: 9781408835449

John Evelyn (1620–1706) was not only a diarist. He was one of the most learned men of his time: traveller, politician, town-planner, artist, numismatist, gardener and opponent of air pollution.… Read more

Joseph Paxton’s Crystal Palace in Hyde Park incorporated within its structure several magnificent elms — a tree that has now all but vanished from Britain

The Man Who Plants Trees, by Jim Robbins - review

8 June 2013
The Man Who Plants Trees Jim Robbins

Profile Books, pp.217, £10.99, ISBN: 9781781250624

Remember the ‘Plant a Tree in ’73’ campaign? Forty years on, has anyone inquired into what happened to all those trees and how many are still alive? Since then, planting… Read more


The Tradescants’ Orchard, by Barry Juniper - review

11 May 2013
The Tradescants’ Orchard: The Mystery of a Seventeenth-Century Painted Fruit Book Barrie Juniper and Hanneke Grootenboer

Bodleian Library, pp.120, £30, ISBN: 9781851242771

Elias Ashmole, fortune-hunter, scholar and collector, bequeathed his coins, curiosities and books in 1692 to form the nucleus of the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. The books were later taken over… Read more

A pollard oak near West Hampnett Place, Chichester c.1660 by John Dunstall

Of knowledge, life, good and evil

15 December 2012
The Tree: Meaning and Myth Frances Carey

British Museum Press, pp.192, £25, ISBN: 9780714150857

The British Museum contains more about trees than one might expect: trees in paintings, drawings, sculpture, and all kinds of small artefacts of wood and bark. Frances Carey, sometime Deputy… Read more


Leaves on the line

18 December 2010

What is happening to trees in Britain? Horse chestnuts now turn brown in July. A microscopic caterpillar eats out the green insides of the leaves; only the outer skins remain.… Read more


Seeing the wood from the trees

4 September 2010
Bark: An Intimate Look at the World’s Trees Cédric Pollet, translated by Susan Berry

Frances Lincoln, pp.192, 30

This book is a work of art by an artistic photographer. It deals mainly with a large minority of the world’s trees whose bark, as the trunk expands, peels off… Read more


Animals without Backbones

30 June 2010
Bugs Britannica Peter Marren and Richard Mabey

Chatto & Windus, pp.500, 35

What is a Bug? For this book, any animal that is not a Beast: the whole invertebrate realm, from the humble amoeba, through insects (more than half the book), to… Read more

Long live the weeds and the wilderness

29 August 2007
The Wild Places Robert Macfarlane

Granta, pp.pp. 340, £18.99

The Wild Places by Robert Macfarlane Robert Macfarlane is a Cambridge don, Fellow in English at Emmanuel College, with an artistic eye for wild and lonely places. He was a… Read more

Child of the New Forest

8 August 2007
Wildwood: A Journey Through Trees Roger Deakin

Hamish Hamilton, pp.pp. 391, £20

Roger Deakin was a swimmer, old-fashioned socialist, carpenter, broadcaster, tree-planter, chair-bodger, ‘quasi-hippie’, art critic, naturalist, Cambridge graduate, traveller, north-east Suffolk man, champion of local individuality, anti-globaliser and explorer of the… Read more

All roots and branches

28 January 2006
The Secret Life of Trees Colin Tudge

Allen Lane, pp.452, 20

This book covers all the trees that now live or have ever lived: what they are, how they function, how they grow, their relation to environment, plants, animals, and the… Read more

Trees with personality

12 October 2002

Weidenfeld, pp.192, 25

The English have loved ancient trees for centuries, have celebrated them in story and poetry, have given them names, sung songs and danced dances in their honour, have invested them… Read more