Calochortus - New book from Timber Press

Laura & Dave
Fri, 24 Aug 2007 17:54:59 PDT
Late this last winter, Ron was one of the featured presenters at the 
NARGS western winter study weekend.  Ron was very outgoing, 
knowledgeable regarding the identification of the plants he was 
presenting, and enjoyed sharing his knowledge.  He presented two talks, 
one entitled "/Calochortus: Tulips of the West" / and /another called 
"The rest of the Western wild bulbs/.",  which covered Erythronium, Iris 
and Fritillaria as well as a few others.  The photos were mostly 
excellent, Ron himself pointing out a few shots that left a bit to be 
desired.  The cause of the sub-par shots was often the same that we all 
experience; that is, if you have only found a rare plant once or twice, 
you take pictures regardless of location or condition.  There were often 
multiple pictures of the same species, showing different forms, as well 
as habitat photos.

I had the pleasure of being at the same dinner table as Ron, Mary and 
Ron Ratko one evening.  The two Rons animatedly discussed plant 
locations throughout California; which side of a hill a few miles up 
some road after the turnoff from some other road you would find a 
certain plant, a little bluer than most.  Which plants were growing 
together in a seep at the base of a ridge over the river and through the 
woods ...  Being from Washington, and not at all familiar with the back 
roads of California, I never the less found this all fascinating; a real 
insight into the minds of true plant hunters.  I swear that the two of 
them are on a first name basis with half the rocks in the state.

The unfortunate part of the talks was the lack of time to discuss the 
various species locations as to soil type, exposure, elevations and 
other climatic variables.  There was almost no discussion of the 
cultivation of these plants, except to mention that a particular species 
does well in gardens.  There are a lot species, and an hour is not all 
that long a time.

Regarding "Calochortus: Mariposa Lilies & Their Relatives" by Mary E. 
Gerritsen and Ron Parsons

I have NOT seen the book, but would suggest that a person look at it 
before buying, or at least read a few reviews, to see if it meets their 
needs.  The photos I'm sure are excellent, accurate, and show all the 
species.  Whether the information missing from the talks is in the book 
I don't know.  I do know that Ron and Mary were two very nice people, 
and still working hard last March to get the book just the way they 
wanted it.


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