The Caymanian Compass congratulates Margaret Barwick for her fine book Tropical & Subtropical Trees, an Encyclopedia.
The work is a significant contribution to professional researchers as well as amateur landscapers hoping to enhance their homes.
This comprehensive book has a deep Cayman connection as Barwick’s research for it grew out of her work in building our Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park back in the 1980s.
The more copies of this book in local circulation the better, because it is a handy reference tool that will encourage and enable people to make better decisions when landscaping homes, businesses or public property.
Grand Cayman, in particular, has many regrettable cases of poor landscaping choices.
For example, very old shade trees-living things with character and purpose that predate all of us-have been ripped up and killed with little thought only to be replaced with a bland ficus bush or palm tree.
We hope that Tropical & Subtropical Trees, an Encyclopedia will help stimulate a move toward better use and increased respect for the plants and trees that are native to our islands and our regions.
The book is written in a plain style and the facts can be found easily thanks to convenient page design.
It therefore has the potential to guide anyone toward sensible tree choices.
It is important for everyone in the Cayman Islands to understand that trees are one of nature’s greatest wonders.
Their seeds travel the oceans and sail through the sky.
They can live for centuries and they provide us with irreplaceable services.
Their roots keep soil in place.
They filter ground water.
They provide a home and food for countless creatures.
And, of course, they exhale life-giving oxygen into our atmosphere.
To put it simply, if not for trees we could not be.
They are a necessary component in the web of life that we sometime ignore but always depend on.
Barwick’s book goes a long way in helping us all understand them better, and, hopefully, more awareness will lead to greater appreciation as well.