Designing with Plants

Kingsbury, Noel; Oudolf, Piet

Published by Timber Press
ISBN 10: 0881929530 / ISBN 13: 9780881929539
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Piet Oudolf's gardens excite the senses and stir emotion with an approach to gardening that emphasizes form, texture, light, movement, and color. Designing with Plants is both inspirational and instructive-an informative and visually breathtaking study that shows readers how to create the same effects in their gardens. This paperback reprint includes four main parts. "Planting Palettes" shows the range of plant choice available in form, texture, and color. "Designing Schemes" shows how to combine these elements to create stunning and sculptural gardens. Through stunning photography, "Planting Moods" shows how to create a particular atmosphere. And "Year-Round Planting" emphasizes the importance of choosing plants that have value throughout the seasons.

Review: When your new gardening bible comes with chapters entitled "Birth," "Life," and "Death," you know you're in trouble. But be brave, turn to those chapters, and in some very practical little essays on planting, you'll uncover the very down-to-earth principle from which Piet Oudolf's radical reinvention of gardening is based: plants die.

In the traditional mixed border, shrubs, climbers, perennials, bulbs, and annuals defy mortality; when one plant passes its best, there's always another in the wings, waiting to grab the eye. But such borders have very little impact: there is too little at any one time to hold one's attention. Oudolf wonders why we fight the unavoidable. Why not create borders that bring out the beauty of plants throughout their natural cycles?

Oudolf also thinks our obsession with color is another deadening influence on current gardening practice. Plants have form: leaves, flower heads, and stems have beauty and variety, too, and last far longer than any bloom. Why not create gardens that use the whole plant, not just its genitals? This, as you've probably already guessed, is a recipe for perennials, and without any of that anxious autumn rush to cut down those perfectly lovely bare stems and seed heads.

With these versatile plants, Oudolf would have us all create gardens that change month by month, week by week, even day by day. It's a radical, beautiful vision that's absurdly easy to achieve. In Designing with Plants, Noel Kingsbury has done a terrific job of bringing Oudolf's work within reach of the rest of us. --Simon Ings, Amazon.co.uk

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Title: Designing with Plants
Publisher: Timber Press
Binding: Paperback
Book Condition: Good

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