Bauhinia blakeana The drawing for this print was made in the Botanical Garden on Hong Kong Island. When travelling, we always try to obtain local guides, maps, and information of all kinds to look for things a bit off the beaten track. We found a reference to a botanical garden in Hong Kong, and, after a taxi took us to a point fairly close on our map, we set off on foot, up a steep hill, to the gates of the garden. Everything was immaculately kept. There were elegant old specimen trees here and there, beautifully tended lawns, and a superb collection of colorful tropical birds. The place was quiet and the sun was bright and warm, with the scent of fresh sea air all around. Elderly Chinese were performing their Tai Chi rituals, and the orchid tree was in bloom. The orchid tree is most unusual in one respect: it is extinct in the wild. But it is much valued by gardeners, and it is thriving in tropical and subtropical gardens around the world. —Henry Evans
200 copies were printed and sell for $150 each.
544 Madrone Blossoms
Arbutus menziesii This handsome tree ranges from British Columbia along the Pacific coast to the Palomar Mountains in southern California. It was named by F.T. Pursh (in his Flora Americae Septenttrionalis) for Archibald Menzies, who was the first botanist of consequence to visit the Pacific coast and the first to collect a specimen of this tree. The drawing was made at home in the Napa Valley from one of our own trees. —Henry Evans
150 copies were printed and sell for $150. each.
555 Banana Shrub
Michelia figo The flowers have the fragrance of ripe bananas. The drawing was made at the grand plantation, near Charleston, South Carolina, known as Middleton Place. The eighteenth-century French botanist Andre Michaux (1746-1802) was hired to plant and landscape Middleton Place. I like to imagine that he personally planted this now majestic specimen, allowing me, in a very small way, to memorialize him. Middleton Place was one of the largest and grandest of the rice-growing plantations of the Carolinas, encompassing thousands of acres, and holding thousands of African slaves. Great wealth was produced by the cheap slave labor. Some of this wealth was channeled into huge gardens, many of them elegantly landscaped by the leading botanists and horticulturists of the times. —Henry Evans
125 copies were printed and sell for $150 each.
Heteromeles arbutifolia The drawing was made from a small evergreen tree in our hillside forest in the Napa Valley. The toyon is native to most parts of California (except the deserts) and to Baja California. Also known as Christmas berry and California holly, the toyon is a bright and welcome sight in the winter landscape from November through January. California Indians ate the berries after baking or roasting them in a basket of hot coals. Toyon and madrone berries were the last harvest of the year. —Marsha Onomiya Evans
101 copies were printed and sell for $150 each.
595 Western Dogwood
Cornus nuttallii This tree is also known as Pacific or mountain dogwood. I drew it on Diamond Mountain Road in Calistoga, California, a lovely winding road up a canyon sprinkled with redwoods and Douglas firs, and among the other native trees are scattered occasional dogwoods. The flowers are quite unlike those of the eastern dogwood (Cornus florida), in that they have a varying number of bracts. The western dogwood has as few as three to as many as seven or eight. The eastern dogwood flower has four bracts almost without exception. —Henry Evans
91 copies were printed and sell for $200 each.
616 Crabapple Blossoms
Malus hybrid This is not a "flowering crab" but, rather, a real fruiting crab apple tree. I planted this tree just in front of our house a few years ago. This past year, it bore fruit and I made real crab apple jelly. The crop wasn't very large, so I got only nine glasses of jelly, but it was a real, down-to-earth pleasure to make and to give the jelly to friends. —Henry Evans
102 copies were printed and sell for $500 each.
Rhododendron arboreum Drawn in the Royal Nepalese Botanical Garden at Godaveri, near Kathmandu, Nepal. This is Henry's second print from a rhododendron drawing made in 1979. Like Van Gogh, who did many studies of sunflowers, Henry occasionally made a new rendition from an old drawing. All new blocks were cut for this version of the Nepalese national flower. The first seeds of Rhododendron arboreum were sent to England from the Himalayas in about 1820. In 1850, Sir Joseph Hooker's expedition brought back more than 40 species of rhododendrons. The hybridizers have had a field day ever since. —Marsha Onomiya Evans
126 copies were printed and sell for $200 each.
306 Plum Blossom
Prunus mume. This Japanese plum grows in front of Grandmother Onomiya's house in Ukiah, California. I drew the blossoms on 29 March 1976, a bright spring morning with some chill still in the air. The obviously pruned forms of the branches create arcs of motion, which delighted me. I felt the softness of the hazy blue sky would be the right mood for the print and, at the same time, to allow the whiteness of the paper to become, in effect, the white of the blossoms. Adding the dark grey-green of the stem and then the light red of the sepals (the red also hazily suggests the stamens), the print takes on a three-dimensional quality with a bare minimum of only three blocks. —Henry Evans
240 copies were printed and sell for $200 each.
852 Live Oak
Quercus agrifolia. As far as the world at large is concerned, the coast live oak is California's best-known tree. I say this because, among the endless numbers of old Hollywood westerns, most have scenes of cowboys, rustlers, and sheriffâs posses racing up and down the California hills through the stately coast live oak trees. The dimensions of this tree can be impressive. A well-grown specimen can be 75 feet high, and trunks twelve feet in circumference have been measured. But it is the spread that is amazing: it can be as much as 130 feet in diameter. Ranging from Sonoma to San Diego counties in valleys below 3,000 feet, it is still a fairly common tree. Like many other creatures, its most serious enemy is man. In this case, it is the hungry maws of fireplaces and wood stoves. Slow-burning, live oak gives a rich odor as it burns. In Spanish California, this tree was called encina, and it has been voraciously cut for fuel ever since. —Henry Evans
127 copies were printed and sell for $300 each.
Camellia japonica cultivar. Drawn in Tom and Marie Onomiya's garden in Ukiah, California, on 1 March 1978. The genus Camellia contains about 80 species (including tea) and is native to Asia. I have seen very old camellias on plantations in the Carolinas and in old gardens in Japan. The camellia does well in mild climates, and it becomes a veritable tree in time. Linnaeus named the genus for George Joseph Kamel (in Latin, he was called "Camellus"), a Jesuit missionary in the Far East, who collected specimens of minerals, animals, and plants in the 17th century. In California, this Camellia blooms in midwinter and early spring, bringing bright splashes of color when they're most wanted. —Henry Evans
236 copies were printed and sell for $500 each.
Arctostaphylos manzanita. Drawn at home from a specimen growing on our property in the Napa Valley. —Henry Evans
255 copies were printed and sell for $150 each.