California now has more trees than at any time since the late Pleistocene. This green landscape, however, is not the work of nature. It's the work of history. In the years after the Gold Rush, American settlers remade the California landscape, harnessing nature to their vision of the good life. Horticulturists, boosters, and civic reformers began to "improve" the bare, brown countryside, planting millions of trees to create groves, wooded suburbs, and landscaped cities. They imported the blue-green eucalypts whose tangy fragrance was thought to cure malaria. They built the lucrative "Orange Empire" on the sweet juice and thick skin of the Washington navel, an industrial fruit. They lined their streets with graceful palms to announce that they were not in the Midwest anymore. [more inside]
New York Times Bestseller A monumental novel about trees and people by one of our most "prodigiously talented" (The New York Times Book Review) novelists. An Air Force loadmaster in the Vietnam War is shot out of the sky, then saved by falling into a banyan. An artist inherits a hundred years of photographic portraits, all of the same doomed American chestnut. A hard-partying undergraduate in the late 1980s electrocutes herself, dies, and is sent back into life by creatures of air and light....
Forests feel like a place of great stillness but dig deeper and there's a hidden world beneath your feet as busy and complicated as a city. [more inside]
Reports of palm theft have appeared in LA, San Diego, and Texas; palm rustling also gets a mention in Susan Orlean's The Orchid Thief. What the palm tree* means to America, what they're worth, and how they've democratized the California Dream. [more inside]
Doctor Who: In the Forest of the Night Season 8, Ep 10
The Doctor, Clara, Danny and a classful of children find themselves in a mysterious forest that has grown up in central London - and all over the world - overnight. [more inside]