PRINT December 1986


Artboriculture. Making mulch of labels.

When leaves are collected, pressed, and dried—eventually varnished, even bleached, and sometimes also dyed or painted—they provide a most welcome enrichment of any color paper collection.

—Josef Albers

I HAVE BEEN TRYING TO teach myself how to identify trees this autumn, with the help of their changing shades. The blurry Monet-ishness of spring is of little mnemonic use, and summers, like the paintings of Veronese, suggest principally the suffused and suffusing pleasures of rich, established green. Fall foliage is by far the most vivid didact. Like others of my kind this century in cities, I can recognize a trained dog when I see one, and I do know pigeons, but the names for most of the rest of the fauna, and almost all of the flora, have for me the plangent ring of certain pretty-sounding languages I don’t speak, such as Arabic and Portuguese. Since I am also the kind of person who

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