Our deadline to complete copy editing is the end of June, so Gabriel Hemery has been working hard with the copy editor to finish on time. Meanwhile, the authors have also been working with the team at Bloomsbury Publishing to produce the first sample chapters. This is the first time that text and image have been fully combined so it was exciting for all the team to work on this.
The samples have been prepared in readiness for an approach to a VIP to write the foreword for The New Sylva. We can’t tell you more than this for now but meanwhile here’s a sneak preview of one of the pages:
A sample page from The New Sylva
Gabriel Hemery will be talking about the making of The New Sylva at the Chilterns Woodland conference tomorrow. More information and last-minute booking is available here
The latest photograph of Sarah Simblet’s drawing in progress of Norway spruce collected from Westonbirt Arboretum – read the full story.
Norway spruce drawing in progress (2) by Sarah Simblet
Last week we visited Westonbirt Arboretum (read more) to collect samples from various coniferous trees to be featured in drawings for The New Sylva.
Sarah Simblet has started work on drawing three plates featuring Norway spruce. The photograph shows work in progress, first in pencil, and the start to working in detail with pen and ink. Later more tone and depth will be added.
Norway spruce drawings in progress by Sarah Simblet
The left-hand drawing will depict a bunch of three mature female cones with examples of both right and left hand twist (which this species can present). It also represents how females cluster at the top of the tree. On the right-hand side a bunch of male cones on a sprig taken from ground level branches (centre right) and a solitary immature female cone with a few males taken from half way up the tree (far right).
The authors have been searching for a few elusive botanical specimens to illustrate for The New Sylva. Yesterday we visited one of the best locations for any tree hunter: Britain’s national arboretum at Westonbirt, in Gloucestershire, which features some 2,500 different tree species.
Sampling a Norway Spruce for cones and foliage at Westonbirt
Norway Spruce climbing at Westonbirt – Sarah Simblet directs the Tree Team
We required samples from a number of conifer species that, within a single branch, had to feature foliage (needles) together with this season’s young cones and mature cones produced the previous year. The best specimens are found on mature trees and so are often far beyond reach. With help from staff a 5m telescopic pruning pole was used for some sampling, whilst for material higher up, the tree had to be climbed and the samples gently lowered to the ground.
We are very grateful to the Forestry Commission staff at Westonbirt. Dan Crowley helped us find suitable specimen trees. Richard Townsend and Tom Dewey undertook the pruning and tree climbing. Thanks also to Ben Oliver and Mark Ballard.
Find out more about Westonbirt Arboretum