Garden Retreats: Creating an Outdoor Sanctuary

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9780811825009: Garden Retreats: Creating an Outdoor Sanctuary

As simple as two chairs beneath a shady tree or a low bench beside a sheltering tangle of wildflowers, a garden retreat is a relaxing and intimate space in which to read a book, enjoy a quiet conversation, or sip a cup of tea. Author Barbara Ashmun understands that every outdoor sanctuary is a soulful expression of its creator, and her book, Garden Retreats, will help readers define their own personal style while explaining the elements that can be used to create a private retreat. Here are tips on creating sheltering walls, all es, and arbors, as well as suggestions for combining plants, trees, garden structures, and furniture to yield the most relaxing combinations of color, shape, and texture. Beautifully illustrated throughout with color photographs of an array of enchanting garden refuges, this is a wonderful dream book as well as a truly practical companion.

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Review:

The idea of garden as sanctuary is as old as the Garden of Eden, as allegorical as man crossing the desert in search of an oasis. Too often we get so caught up in landscaping, in making improvements, in the sheer work of a garden, that we forget to enjoy what we have created. In today's fast-paced world, where we wear our public face for more hours than ever before, the respite offered by a garden can be life-restoring. If there is one place that begs you to be unplugged and unwired, to seek refuge from fax machine and pager, it must be the garden. Garden Retreats author Barbara Blossom Ashmun and photographer Allan Mandell have provided instruction and inspiration to make it so.

Each garden pictured is as individual as the person who made it, yet there are common elements throughout the variety of gardens. These are gardens of the senses, emotion and spirit, offering a timeless quality that invites repose. Privacy and seclusion, intimacy and comfort are achieved in diverse ways, including fencing, lush plantings, art, and seating. A profusion of perennials encloses a Victorian-style arbor covered with roses, a moon-viewing pavilion rests along the shore of a smooth pond, a swing dangles temptingly from the branches of a spreading pin oak. These are gardens that invite you to sit, linger, dangle your hand in the water, quite literally to sniff the roses. You can well imagine how it feels to climb the stairs to the hut-on-stilts, draped in gauzy fabric and nestled into a natural woodland. Just reading the book lowers the blood pressure, stirs the senses, makes the trowel hand twitch. Many thanks to Ashmun, Mandell, and Chronicle Books for acknowledging the creator of each garden in photo captions--such beauty deserves attribution, as well as emulation. --Valerie Easton

About the Author:

Barbara Ashmun gardens on two-thirds of an acre where something blooms every day of the year. Author of several admired books on gardening, she lives in Portland, Oregon.

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