Wildflowers of Northern California's Wine Country & North Coast Ranges

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9780979043000: Wildflowers of Northern California's Wine Country & North Coast Ranges
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A photographic guide to wildflowers of four of the west coast's most beautiful counties: Marin, Sonoma, Napa, and Mendocino. Includes 542 full color images of the native plants of this area, the familiar as well as the shy beauties that must be sought out. Discover 358 species, 83 plant families, of wildflowers. Easy to use: grouped by color, close up photos for identification. Learn bloom times, habitats, garden tips, native uses, natural history, 33 wildflower hot spots with maps.

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About the Author:

For the past 17 years Reny has focused her lens on wildflowers. Her images appear in books, on cards and posters, and the web at renyswildflowers.com. She is past president of the local chapter of the California Native Plant Society.

Review:

Reny Parker is passionate about wildflowers. For 17 years, she has found and photographed them in their wild habitats around her home territory. Those images form the heart of her new pictorial and descriptive guide to 358 species of native flowers from Marin, Sonoma, Napa, and Mendocino counties. Within its pages are representatives of 83 plant families, mostly annual wildflowers but also woody perennials, vines, shrubs, trees, grasses, ferns, and several problematic exotic weeds. Parker has made it easy for even a beginner to find a particular flower in the guide. Plants are grouped by flower color and by number of petals. Species that appear similar are placed near each other, so they can be compared easily. Nontechnical descriptions of the species, composed by some of the region's best native plant specialists, accompany the photographs, often with additional information about a plant's rarity, natural and human history, and garden-worthiness, and always including bloom time and native counties. Other tidbits of information are fun and interesting: Who knew that sneezeweed (Helenium bolanderi) got its common name from its former use as powdered snuff? Or that bitter root (Lewisia rediviva), named for explorer Meriwether Lewis (who described the plant as "naucious to my pallate"), was a food staple for Native Americans? Following the main body of the book are lists and maps of wildflower hot spots in the four counties. Wildflower guide photos are often more about education than artistry, with poor lighting, competing backgrounds, and repetitive bull's-eye placement of their subjects. In comparison, Parker's beautifully composed images stand out as lovely little works of art. Each reflects Parker's devotion to her subject and her goal of inspiring others to care for these delicate gifts of nature and preserve them and their habitats for future generations. --Bay Nature Library-2007 edition

When you do venture out into nearby wildlands, a helpful guide to take along is a wonderful collection of photographs put together by Reny Parker, past president of the local chapter of the California Native Plant Society. Her book is "Wildflowers of Northern California's Wine Country and North Coast Ranges." With input from other native plant experts, Parker has compiled brief descriptions of 360 species native to Sonoma, Napa, Marin and Mendocino c ounties. Besides annual flowers, she includes a sampling of ferns, grasses, vines, shrubs and trees. The beautiful photographs are detailed close-ups of blossoms but often are paired with a wider shot of foliage, if not an entire plant. Common, botanical, and family names are given. Lists at the end identify nearby places to find wildflowers. Color-coded photos are sensibly arranged from pale to deep hues -- white, yellow, orange, pink-to-red, violet-to blue, and brown-to-green -- a helpful order for identification since a first observation of wildflowers is their color. Gardeners will be gratified that Parker, who has a colorful drought-tolerant garden in the Cloverdale hills, has noted which wildflowers are appropriate for garden culture. In sharing her passion for wildflowers in the book and on her Web site, Parker hopes to encourage us to take a closer look at nature's wonders and be inspired to preserve them for future generations. --Rosemary McCreary, Press Democrat, 4/21/07

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