We're surrounded in cities by trees, quiet colossuses that most of us don't know by name. Does that matter? It's certainly possible to appreciate a tree for its beauty, its shade and its shelter without knowing whether it's an alder, an elder, a lime or a beech. But look harder, and we begin to see the beauty beneath the bark – the tales of how trees are integral to medicine and art as they are furniture and firewood; the stories of why wild figs grow on the banks of Sheffield's rivers and why the ash tree is touched with magic and mischief. As well as being an illustrated guide that will help you identify some of the species you see around town every day, Sylvan Cities is also a potted-journey through our cities' woody places and a literary hunt for where their wild things are.
Inviting readers on an intricately illustrated journey into the urban forest, Sylvan Cities is both a practical guide to identifying twenty of the most common trees standing sentry on our street corners, and a lyrical, anecdotal treasure trove of facts and history, culture and leafy lore.
Helen Babbs is a writer, editor and journalist, with a particular interest in urban wildlife. She is the writer of two books, My Garden, the City and Me, which was nominated for two garden writing awards, and Adrift Helen's articles have been published by the Guardian, Telegraph, Sunday Times and New Statesman, among others. She lives in London.