Remarkable Trees of Virginia (2008)
Remarkable Trees of Virginia with 176 of Robert Llewellyn's photographs and descriptions by Nancy Ross Hugo was published in 2008 by Albemarle Books. Llewellyn had met the garden columnist of the Richmond Times-Dispatch a few years prior when she was considering creating a book about Virginia trees. Their collaboration would result in three publications, the "inaugural project" being a four-year effort to document one hundred of Virginia's "largest, oldest, most historic, beautiful and beloved trees" — resulting in this magnificent "keepsake book".
This remarkable collaboration between a noted garden writer and an accomplished nature photographer are presented in this elegant, four-color volume with astounding effect. This wealth of recommendations required project co-coordinator Dr. Jeffrey Kirwan, a Virginia Tech Emeritus Professor and Extension Specialist, to log 20,000 miles travelling to visit each tree to whittle down the nominees to the one hundred included in the book.
"We asked citizens to search their communities and natural areas for trees that are remarkable because of age, size, beauty, uniqueness, connection to the community, or historical and cultural significance." — Dr. Jeffrey Kirwan
Hugo and Kirwan selected a sample of trees and "tree places" that illustrate the enormous variety, startling beauty, and fascinating history of Virginia’s trees.
The project proved a turning point for the photographer in "how he viewed forest ecosystems."
"I had always thought trees were an element of the landscape, a shape, a color. Nancy began to explain each aspect of the trees to me and a light bulb went off. They’re alive. They’re born and they die and it’s all very well planned." — Robert Llewellyn
Several of the most prominent and interesting trees documented by this amazing effort have died since publication of Remarkable Trees of Virginia in 2008 — including the baldcypress at Cypress Bridge, nicknamed "Big Mama". At 123 feet tall it was the largest tree in Virginia, having survived over a thousand years in a swamp 80 miles southeast of Richmond.
- Remarkable Trees was nominated for a 2009 SIBA Book Award by the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance.
"Delivered like a chat over a glass of lemonade, Remarkable Trees of Virginia features fascinating and informative stories about Virginia trees and the people who love them. It includes stunning photography coupled with easily read text divided into categories such as 'champion trees,' 'historic trees,' and, my favorite, 'tree places.' It brims with the 'wow' factor the authors so aptly describe, and it will have you taking a closer look at the trees and tree habitats around you." — Michelle Robbins, American Forests
"Remarkable Trees of Virginia is not only a remarkable but a spectacular book of Virginia's natural and cultural tree heritage. The engaging prose, full of wit and wisdom, weaves intriguing threads of history from well-known and often little- known facts, anecdotes, and legends. If you are a Virginian, this book is a 'must own,' opening a whole new window to the state's human history and natural forest endowment. If you are from elsewhere, this beautifully produced book will enthrall you and set a standard to emulate." — Stanwyn G. Shetler, Smithsonian Institution
Title: Remarkable Trees of Virginia
Photographs: Robert Llewellyn
Words: Nancy Ross Hugo
Publisher: Albemarle Books
Distributor: University of Virginia Press
Pages: 216 pp
Dimensions: 12.2 x 11.2 x 1.1 inches
Images: 176 color photographs
The Living Forest is available directly via the distributor, University of Virginia Press, or through Amazon.