After reading The Trees of Golden Gate Park and San Francisco, it’s difficult to know which is more significant—that Golden Gate Park exists at all, or that in today’s world of “political correctness,” this totally man-made park, full of non-native trees and plants from around the world, remains one of the City’s crown jewels. Trees is a collaborative effort of the Pacific Horticultural Foundation, Strybing Arboretum Society, Friends of Recreation and Parks, Friends of the Urban Forest, and the Tree Advisory Board. In addition to being a first-rate guidebook—with descriptions of 170 trees written over the course of 25 years by Elizabeth McClintock, and illustrations by nine artists—Trees offers an intriguing account of the Park’s development and the transformation of 1,000 acres shifting sand dunes into one of the world’s greatest urban parks. According to Landscape Architect Russell Beatty, the rationale for creating the park was to “promote moral order and a healthy, wealthy, crime-free democracy,” in response to the hedonism of the Gold Rush. A significant portion of the sale of each book will be donated to the Elizabeth McClintock Fund for Park Trees. The Trees of Golden Gate Park and San Francisco, Elizabeth McClintock, edited and arranged by Richard G. Turner, Jr., Heyday Books/Clapperstick Institute, June 2001, $18.95.
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