Wild Ones   The Grapevine - July/August 2004  
By Maryann Whitman

Grape vine.Some twenty years or more ago, I was touring the Ann Arbor (MI) Flower Show, which, at the time, was like the State Fair of Horticulture. My feet were tired, and I needed to sit down, when I saw a board advertising the three o’clock talk “on wildflowers.” The speakers were a husband and wife team, both evidently botanists. He did the talking, charmingly amusing patter, but so full of information it made my head spin; and she controlled the slides, while acting as a spare memory bank for him when he couldn’t recall where they had found a particular specimen or “the fourth name on a list” when he could only recall three. They were wonderful together. That was a turning point in my life. I became a “groupie,” an intellectual fan, attending all the lectures I could, of Fred and Roberta Case.

I recently spent the day in Fred’s garden. His “good morning” hug was followed by, “I have a bone to pick with you.” Not long ago I had gifted him a subscription to the Wild Ones Journal. Over tea I received a lecture on my misdoings.

“If you want serious people to take you seriously you don’t tell them misleading half-truths, even in the cause of good conservation. Half-truths, if they know otherwise, will make them doubt whatever facts may be in your statements.

“For instance, what’s all this rubbish about wild orchids not being transplantable? Many are – you just have to know what you’re doing and how to do it. Often you must prepare certain soils and even specific temperatures. But it is doable.”

“Well, that’s fine for you to say Fred,” I responded, “but 99.99% of folks don’t have your esoteric knowledge and experience, nor do they have your enclave, surrounded by ten-foot fencing, to bring them home to.”

“That’s beside the point,” Fred replied. “You don’t lie in science. And lasting conservation is based on good science, not on prejudice and emotion. You tell the scientific facts and expect your readers to educate themselves and behave responsibly. Tell them to read a book!”

Some books by Fred Case

Orchids of the Western Great Lakes Region, by Frederick W. Case Jr., 2nd edition,1987. ISBN: 0-87737-036-2.
First published in 1964, by the Cranbrook Institute of Science, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, the second edition,1987, contains identification keys, species descriptions, and ecological notes, as well as valuable information on conservation and cultivation of native orchids.

Wildflowers of the Western Great Lakes Region, by James R. Wells, Frederick W. Case, and T. Lawrence Mellichamp, 1999. ISBN: 0-87737-042-7.
The western Great Lakes region is home to a diverse assemblage of habitats that offers exceptional opportunities to see numerous interesting wildflowers. In an approach unique to wildflower books, Wildflowers of the Western Great Lakes Region presents more than 270 wildflower species in a full-color, coffee-table format according to the habitats in which they are most commonly found. Within the eleven habitat groupings, the species follow as closely as possible the order in which the flowers bloom in this area.
Mail order purchases can be made by contacting the Cranbrook Institute’s distribution agent, Wayne State University Press at 1-800-WSU-READ, or by visiting their web site to order online: Wayne State University Press.

Trilliums, by Roberta B. and Frederick W. Case, 1997, Timber Press. ISBN: 0881923745.
Native to North America and Asia, trilliums hold a special place in the hearts of naturalists, botanists, horticulturists, and woodland lovers worldwide. The elegant and showy flowers of this woodland plant are eagerly awaited each spring. This unprecedented book-length treatment of trilliums is part field guide, part monograph, and part gardener’s handbook. All forty-three species are discussed, including plants found throughout North America and Asia, with special attention to propagation and cultural requirements. Written for amateurs through commercial growers, Trilliums offers something for all who love these beautiful plants.

Maryann is Editor of the Wild Ones Journal, and comes to the position with an extensive background in environmental matters of all kinds.

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Updated: Jun 12, 2005.