Naturalistic Gardening: Reflecting the Planting Patterns of Nature

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9781570611209: Naturalistic Gardening: Reflecting the Planting Patterns of Nature

Details ways to organize beds, borders, walkways, and edges that borrow themes, colors, and structures from nature

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Review:

"Gardening is by definition interference with nature," begins Ann Lovejoy cheerfully. That said, gardeners will save themselves no end of trouble by cooperating with nature insofar as possible. Thus naturalistic gardening, which has made real inroads into the more formal, traditional American gardens over the past few years. But naturalistic gardening doesn't mean just throwing a lot of seeds on the ground, or letting the weeds take over. Lovejoy's practiced advice helps gardeners get a handle on constructing a garden that is like nature, but with an element of art. Allow plants to follow their own natures by judicious placement, she counsels, and you will minimize their care as well as reveal their essential beauty.

Lovejoy includes enough practical instructions to allow anyone with a reasonable amount of gardening experience to create a successful naturalistic garden, and the inspiring patterns of the example gardens, beautifully photographed by Allan Mandell, are nicely explained. Lovejoy even gives a chapter to the hotly debated tropicalismo school of naturalistic design. The emphasis is very much on gardening in the northwestern United States, but anyone who yearns for a more natural look in the garden will benefit from the principles outlined here.

From Publishers Weekly:

Lovejoy (Cascadia; The Garden in Bloom) differentiates the undeveloped style of natural, ecologically correct gardens ("more earnest than beautiful") from the high art of naturalistic gardens (which combine "habitat with artful, expressive gardens in an eco-sensitive manner"). While imitating nature's planting patterns, naturalistic gardeners appropriate a rich palette of shape, mass, textures and negative space to create soft-edged layers and "tapestry hedges" (mixed evergreen and deciduous trees and shrubs, for example). Theoretically, site-appropriate plant selection and placement cut down on garden maintenance and labor, but this is debatable even in Lovejoy's examples. Although this book focuses on the Pacific Northwest woodlands and only briefly illustrates the mixing of garden plants in other wild habitats, its concentration on design will benefit gardeners in diverse areas of the country. It should be noted that this book speaks best to experienced gardeners, for substantial horticultural knowledge is required, including a full grasp of each plant's character, culture, seasonal phases and mature mass. With considerable aid from Mandell's luminous photographs, Lovejoy's articulation heralds an important evolution in American garden design.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Ann Lovejoy, Allan Mandell (Photographer)
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