Inspirational and Dreamy Garden Books: Part One: Inspiring Books and Garden Travel Books

As the growing season slows down and we head towards the cooler weather, it is lovely to know that we have some beautiful, dreamy and inspirational books to browse by the fire in Winter! As editor, Ferris Cook, writes on page 12 in the foreword to his book, ‘Invitation to the Garden’, the first book featured below : ‘ Like so many other gardeners separated from their gardens by darkness, miles or inclement weather, I love to read about other gardens when I can’t be in mine’. I have divided these books into four sections :

  • Inspiring books about gardening and plants in general
  • General garden travel books
  • Books about specific gardens
  • Books about specific plants

And once again, this post is too long – too many wonderful books and too much to say about them! – so I have divided it into three posts : Part One on beautiful garden publications and general garden travel books (today); Part Two on specific overseas gardens (May); and Part Three on books about Australian gardens and specific plants (June).

Inspiring books about gardening and plants in general

Invitation to the Garden: A Celebration in Literature and Photography, edited by Ferris Cook 1992

The perfect title to start a post on garden books and it certainly lives up to the claim of its subtitle, as well as its reputation! Indeed, it was the winner of the 1992 Award for Excellence in Garden Communication from the Garden Writers’ Association of America. Divided into seasons, it is a wonderful read, which can be dipped into at random, always finding an interesting snippet or pertinent quote, poem or prose and always accompanied by the most beautiful sumptuous photos by specialist garden photographers: Ping Amranand; Ken Druse; Richard Felber; Mick Hales; Harry Haralambou; Peter C. Jones; Peter Margonelli; Hugh Palmer; and Curtice Taylor.

A good example is the very first entry in Spring, ‘Down the Garden Path’ by Beverley Nichols, in which she describes that familiar daily habit of all gardeners, ‘Making the Tour’, involving a detailed examination of every square inch of the garden and noting all new discoveries and happenings! In reality, I probably do this at least three or four times a day!!!

There are poems by Homer and Shakespeare; John Donne and Robert Herrick; the three Williams (excluding Shakespeare, as he was so much earlier!) : William Cowper, William Blake and William Wordsworth; Matthew Arnold and Emily Dickinson; two Roberts :  Robert Bridges and Robert Frost; A A Milne and Virginia Woolf; Rainer Maria Rilke and William Carlos Williams (that’s two more Williams in one!!); Pablo Neruda; W H Auden; Sylvia Plath; and e e cummings; and that’s only a fraction of them!

There are also excerpts by Nathaniel Hawthorne (The Old Manse); Ivan Turgenev (The Rose); Lewis Carroll (The Garden of Live Flowers); William Morris (Collected Letters: Kelmscott); Frances Hodgson Burnett (The Secret Garden); Edith Wharton (Italian Garden Magic); E A Bowles (The Passing of Summer); H G Wells (The Flowering of the Strange Orchid); Colette (The Ways of Wisteria; and Hellebores); John Steinbeck (The Chrysanthemums); and Laurie Lee (Segovia-Madrid), again only a small selection of the entries! Hopefully, the titles are enough to entice you to search out this book!BlogDreamyGardenBooksReszd25%Image (430)

The Illustrated Virago Book of Women Gardeners, edited by Deborah Kellaway 1997

An equally delightful coffee-table book to be enjoyed at leisure! Illustrated with beautiful artwork and superb photographs throughout, this anthology of musings by women garden writers is divided (for easy reference) into chapters, titled : Weeders and Diggers; Advisers and Designers; Plantswomen; Colourists; Countrywomen; Townswomen; Visitors and Travellers; Kitchen Gardeners; Flower Arrangers and Visionaries. Its writers represent a ‘Who’s Who’ of the gardening world with names like Gertrude Jekyll;  Alicia Amherst, Elizabeth von Arnim, Norah Lindsay, Beatrix Farrand, Constance Spry, Vita Sackville-West, Margery Fish, Edna Walling, Beth Chatto, Penelope Hobhouse, Rosemary Verey, Nancy Steen, Mary Keen, Valerie Finnis, Ursula Buchan, Joy Larkcom, Jane Taylor and Mirabel Osler, but there are so many other authors!BlogDreamyGardenBooksReszd25%Image (432)Natural Companions: The Garden Lover’s Guide to Plant Combinations by Ken Druse and Ellen Hoverkamp  2012

I loved both the first two books equally well, but I ADORED this book! This would have to be the mosr beautiful book I have ever seen ! Every page is such a visual treat and showcases all the incredible treasures our Earth holds and their infinite diversity of colour, form, texture and function! Absolutely stunning photography, both of beautiful gardens and separate plant combinations, presented dramatically against a black background in the style of a combination of 1920s and 1930s American photographer, Imogen Cunningham (1883-1976) (https://www.imogencunningham.com/plants/) and English botanical collage artist, Mrs. Mary Delany, whose beautiful paper collages can be seen at: http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/search.aspx?searchText=Mary+Delany. While I knew the work of Mary Delany, which inspired my floral collage cards (see: https://candeloblooms.com/2015/09/08/ambassadors-of-spring/), I did not know of Imogen Cunningham, but have fallen in love with all her work, from plant studies and still lifes to portraits and romantic family shots; the beauty of the human body (nudes; dancers) and her street scenes and landscapes. I particularly loved her photographs of the stunning architectural blooms of the Bull Bay Magnolia (Magnolia Blossom 1925 and Magnolia Blossom, Tower of Jewels, 1925), as can be seen in the above link.BlogDreamyGardenBooksReszd25%Image (455)

Ellen creates her floral photographs, using a flatbed scanner and produces images of unparalleled depth, colour and beauty. I found it impossible to select a favourite plate to show you, but here are some examples:

There are over 100 species botanical images of plants, which bloom simultaneously and compliment each other perfectly. They are organized by theme: seasons; plant families; form and function; colour; place (eg woods; open spaces; damp areas; rocky sites) and purpose (eg fragrance; butterflies; edible flowers; secret; literary; boxed; health and beauty; art; and nighttime). It is such a beautiful book and a lovely one to dip into whenever you get a chance! I cannot recommend it highly enough! Appendices include a list of edible flowers and flower meanings.BlogDreamyGardenBooksReszd60%Image (463)The Language of Flowers: a Novel by Vanessa Diffenbaugh  2011

A totally different book, both to the previous three coffee-table books, this one being a first-time novel, but also refreshingly original in concept and style. Based on the Victorian language of flowers, a compendium of which is included in the back of the book, this novel is written in first person, following the life of Victoria, an ex-foster child and florist and exploring complex themes like maternal love, forgiveness and redemption. Being a flower arranger, I was instantly attracted to this book and once started, I could not put it down! It is so easy to read and so hard to put down!  Plus, I have used the flower dictionary constantly, when making my floral collage cards for friends and family.

BlogDreamyGardenBooksReszd40%Image (450) - CopyBlogDreamyGardenBooksReszd20%IMG_0499BlogDreamyGardenBooksReszd20%IMG_0501Seasons at Home: Food, Family, Friends and Style by Holly Kerr Forsyth 2011

Another lovely offering from Holly Kerr Forsyth with her trademark style of seasonal projects and delicious recipes and preserves. I have given friends copies of some of her other books: Country Gardens, Country Hospitality and Seasons in My House and Garden: see http://www.hollyforsyth.com.au/shop/books.html  ;  https://www.bookdepository.com/Seasons-My-House-Garden-Holly-Kerr-Forsyth/9780522857825 and https://www.bookdepository.com/Country-Gardens-Country-Hospitality-Visit-Australias-Best-Holly-Kerr-Forsyth/9780522864793.

Both are beautiful books, which I would love to own one day, but in the meantime, I am enjoying this smaller book: Seasons at Home! While this book would fit equally well into my cookery book post later in the year, I have included it here because of its gardening and flower arranging content. Her photographs, styling and interiors are so beautiful and inspiring, how could I do otherwise!! Also, this book is a perfect lead-in to the next section with the first book also written by this knowledgeable lady!BlogDreamyGardenBooksReszd30%Image (433)

 General Garden Travel Books

Gardens of Eden: Among the World’s Most Beautiful Gardens by Holly Kerr Forsyth 2009

A Christmas present in 2012, when I was studying garden design at Burnley, this beautiful book covers fifty of the world’s most beautiful and famous gardens. Lavishly illustrated with over 500 photos, the gardens are divided into chapters titled : Lessons in Garden History; A Sense of Place; The Designer in the Garden; The Gardens of Politicians, Writers, Artists and Collectors; Clipped Perfection; Grand Passions and Private Pleasures; Water Delights; and Places to Pray or Play In. They span different historical periods, garden styles and cultures from the Paradise Gardens of Ancient Persia to the romantic rose-covered ruins of Ninfa and the Italian Renaissance gardens in Italy; the wildflower meadows of William Robinson’s Gravetye Manor to the Arts and Crafts gardening style of Gertrude Jekyll-Edwin Lutyens (Upton Grey and Hestercombe) in England and Beatrix Farrand’s Dumbarton Oaks in the United States of America; the famous gardens of Sissinghurst Castle (UK), Le Canadel (France) and the island gardens of Isola Bella, Isola Madre and La Mortella (Italy); and  the Buddhist-inspired gardens of China and Japan, not to mention Australian country gardens like Bentley (Tasmania), Jack’s Ridge (Victoria) and Nooroo, Bebeah and the Berman Gardens (NSW). A wonderful book for armchair travel and research for your next garden adventure!BlogDreamyGardenBooksReszd25%Image (435)A Photographic Garden History by Roger Phillips and Nicky Foy 1995

For a more in-depth look at garden history, predominantly through photographs! This book is organized into three main sections. The first part covers the European Tradition, starting with Roman peristyle gardens and moving chronologically from Islamic influences to Italian Renaissance gardens; the French Formal movement and the romantic/ potager style in France; the Baroque German and Dutch gardens; and the British medieval gardens to the English Landscape movement; Victorian and Edwardian gardens and natural gardening styles. The second section focuses on Chinese gardens, while the third section explores Japanese gardens. The text is backed up with featured gardens with specific details and notes on their date and features, as well as their place and importance within the particular historical background. Throughout the book are topics of pertinent interest to the time period or garden style, covering a broad range of subjects from garden elements (potagers; parterres and carpet bedding; topiary and mazes; rockeries; water features (lakes; ponds and pools; waterfalls and fountains); the concept of garden rooms and borrowed landscapes; and specific gardens for roses, natives and Autumn foliage colour) to garden structures (garden buildings and furniture; arbours and arches; follies and grottoes; steps and staircases; gates and fences; and even ha-ha walls) and decorative techniques (trompe l’oeil; shellwork; mosaics; sculptures; and pots and urns). I initially borrowed this book from the library, but found it to be so comprehensive and interesting that I just had to order it for my horticultural library!BlogDreamyGardenBooksReszd25%Image (436)

The Gardens of Europe, edited by Penelope Hobhouse and Patrick Taylor 1990

Edited by garden writing doyens, Penelope Hobhouse and Patrick Taylor, this book focuses on 700 European gardens, open to the public, from the Mediterranean gardens of Southern Europe (Italy, France, Spain and Portugal); the cooler, more temperate gardens of Northern Europe (Great Britain and Ireland; Belgium; Holland and Scandinavia); and the gardens of Central Europe (Austria, Switzerland and West Germany) and the Balkans, East Europe and Russia (Bulgaria; Czechoslovakia; East Germany; Greece; Hungary; Poland; Romania; European Russia; Turkey and the then, Yugoslavia). Even though this is quite an old book now and the details of opening hours and admission charges might be out-of-date, the basic information about its history, general design and prominent features is still relevant and is a starting point for further up-to-date research. There is a biographical list or principal architects, garden designers and gardeners in the back, as well as a glossary and bibliography of further books (guide books and history) to read.BlogDreamyGardenBooksReszd25%Image (437)

Gardens of Persia by Penelope Hobhouse 2006

I have always loved the underlying concepts of the Islamic garden : an enclosed protected paradise with a quadripartite layout (a four-fold pattern called chahar bagh) and watercourses forming the principal and secondary axes, all meeting at a central pool or pavilion and representing the four rivers of life. They are full of colourful flowers and bulbs, shady fruit trees and birdsong; a place for contemplation and spiritual nourishment; and a little oasis in a challenging hot and dry climate, the latter, which I suspect will be increasingly valued in our Western world with the increasing temperatures and prevalence of drought with climate change. In this book, Penelope explores these notions, as well as the elements and history of Islamic garden design; the climate and environment; flowers and trees planted and of course, the spiritual dimension. Throughout the book, she provides many examples of Islamic gardens from Cyrus the Great’s garden at Pasargadae 2,500 years ago, Timur’s gardens at Samarkand (late 1300s); his son Shah Rokh’s gardens at Herat (1400s); and Bagh-e-Fin (1504) and other Safavid gardens to the 18th century gardens of Shiraz, ‘city of roses and nightingagles, cypresses and wine, and poetry and painted miniatures’: Bagh-e-Eram (Garden of Heaven); Bagh-e Golshan (1760s); and Bagh-e Shahzadeh (Prince’s Garden 1880s); the Mostoufi Garden, Tehran, 1930s; the geometric Moorish gardens of Southern Spain like the Generalife and the Mughal gardens of Northern India and Kashmir. All, of course, accompanied by beautiful Islamic architecture! In the back, notes on each garden for travellers, lists of the royal houses of Persia and Persian plants and a glossary of Persian terms. A very interesting and informative book, as well as a feast for the eyes! Readers, who want more information on Islamic Gardens may be interested in these links : http://gardendrum.com/2017/02/24/take-the-ancient-silk-road-to-a-2500-year-old-garden/ and http://gardendrum.com/2017/02/23/berber-home-and-garden-morocco/.

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The Secret Gardens of France by Mirabel Osler 1992

I have already briefly mentioned this book in my post on Favourite Rose Books (see: https://candeloblooms.com/category/rose-books/), as it described one of my favourite bucket-list French rose gardens, La Bonne Maison, as well as the roses of André Eve. However, it discusses 18 other gardens in France from productive potagers to medieval herb gardens; Nicole de Vesian’s architectural topiaried balls of lavender and rosemary in the Luberon to a coastal garden in Brittany; and another bucket-list garden, Le Jardin des Cinq Sens at Chateau d’Yvoire on the shores of Lac Leman. Mirabel has a lovely writing style- very chatty, enthusiastic and inclusive- and all the gardeners featured are very inspiring! While many of the gardens are private and not open to the public, this book is a lovely read with a wealth of ideas and information.

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Kitchen Gardens of France by Louisa Jones 1997

I would love to do a garden tour with Louisa Jones (see: http://www.louisajones.fr/) !!! While she has written many books on the gardens of Provence and the French Riviera, this particular book is about French kitchen gardens. She examines Heritage Gardens (medieval plots; renaissance gardens; potagers and heirloom vegetables ); Grassroots Gardening (from country potagers in the Ardeche to village greens and community gardens; city allotments in Paris and hortillinages (floating islands) in Amiens; and Hmong gardens at Alençon in Normandy); Dream and Utopian Paradises (the jardin de curé style; Rousseau’s orchard-garden; Pigeard’s mystic metalwork; photographer, Denis Brihat’s alchemist workshop in Provence and another bucket-list garden, the organic  garden of Terre Vivante in the Domaine de Raud in the Alps); and Vegetable Graces (gastronomic  creations and designer visions; Gilles Clement’s moving potager; and future fashions). This last chapter has an in-depth look at the Gardens For the Five Senses, mentioned in Mirabel Osler’s book. The text is supported by many showcase gardens and beautiful seductive photographs. It is such a dreamy inspirational book! Details about each garden featured can be found in the back. For more ideas about gardens to visit, it is worth consulting Louisa’s blog (http://www.louisajones.fr/blog/index) and Links pages (http://www.louisajones.fr/links).

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The French Country Garden by Louisa Jones 2000/ 2005

A very recent addition to my library and a wonderful find! Thank you, Denise! I was delighted to add this book to my library, as it discusses many French gardeners and their gardens, whose names I knew, but were not necessarily covered by my other books like Nicole Arboireau on the French Riviera; Doudou Bayol in Provence (what an amazing sense of colour!); Martine and Francois Lemonnier, who have the National Collection Label (CCVS) for Meconopsis and Hellebores, in Normandy; Mme Marie-Joseph Teillard in the foothills of the Pyrenees; Eric Ossart and Arnaud Maurières at Cordes-sur-Ciel; Eléonore Cruse at La Roseraie de Berty in the Ardèche; as well as old favourites like Alain Richert of the Garden of the Five Senses, Yvoire; Nicole de Vésian in Provence; Gilles Clément of the Centre Terre Vivante at the Domaine de Raud and the different biomes of Le Domaine du Rayol. These gardens and more are discussed in depth in her chapters, each featuring three gardens, and titled : Intimate Country Gardens; A Passion for Plants; Celebration of the Senses; Formal Play; Nature’s Ways; and Planetary Perspectives. The photos again are superb and complement the text perfectly. Another beautiful book to browse…!BlogDreamyGardenBooksReszd30%Image (543)Great Gardens of Britain by Helena Attlee 2011

A lovely book about 20 wonderful gardens in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. A difficult task selecting only twenty garden, but those chosen celebrate their diversity in garden styles, plants, settings and history. This is a wonderful guide with beautiful glossy photos and is essential reading for those planning a garden trip to Great Britain. Inspired and informed by this very book, I would love to visit Charles Jenck’s earthworks and waveforms at his Garden of Cosmic Speculation on the one day of the year it is open !; Ian Hamilton Finlay’s concrete poetry at Little Sparta; the famous topiary at Levens Hall; Scampton’s perennial naturalistic meadow, designed by Piet Oudolf; the rhododendrons and five terraces of Bodnant, North Wales, including its famous Laburnum Arch; the lakes and classical temples of Stourhead; Lawrence Johnston’s garden rooms at Hidcote Manor; Christopher Lloyd’s herbaceous borders of Great Dixter; the restored gardens of the East Ruston Old Vicarage and Beth Chatto’s gravel gardens; the holy grail of old rose gardens, Sissinghurst Castle, made famous by Vita Sackville-West, with its garden rooms and  white garden; the extensive plant collections, trial gardens and scientific research laboratories of Wisley, the home and flagship garden of the Royal Horticultural Society; the futuristic environmentally-controlled geodesic domes of the Eden Project, the brain child of Tim Smit;  and the unlikely Mediterranean-style gardens of Tresco Abbey in the warmer climes of the remote Scilly Isles in the English Channel. Addresses and websites for all the gardens are listed in the back. We have already visited Kew Gardens twice, but it is such a wonderful garden, that I would always include it whenever I visit England and I would really like to see the Marianne North Gallery, which is devoted solely to the wonderful paintings of this amazing Victorian botanical artist and explorer. See: http://www.kew.org/visit-kew-gardens/explore/attractions/marianne-north-gallery and http://www.kew.org/mng/marianne-north.html, specifically: http://www.kew.org/mng/gallery/index.html.

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For those of us who may not travel overseas again, this form of armchair travel is a wonderful alternative! This book explored many gardens, not covered in the other books. Another book that I would love to find is Around the World in 80 Gardens by Monty Don, see : https://www.bookdepository.com/Around-World-80-Gardens-Monty-Don/9780297844501, as I really enjoy his films, but fortunately the film version of his book can be seen on YouTube. For Episode 1, see : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uityVe6OkCk. For a guide to the episodes, see : http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b008x9bh/episodes/guide.

Garden Guides and Garden Design Books

A comprehensive garden library is essential for planning and designing a garden and a wonderful way to pass a Winter evening, when the Spring seems such a long way away! Here are some of the books in my library, but please note this is by no means an exhaustive list, but just some of my favourites that I tend to read constantly!

1.Garden Reference Guides

First up, the  Garden Plant Series by Roger Phillips and Martyn Rix.

I have already mentioned their book on Roses (1994) in my previous garden book post, but they have also compiled books on Bulbs (over 1000 types) 1981; Shrubs (over 1900 types) 1989; and Perennials (Over 1250 plants in two volumes) : Volume 1: Early Perennials and Volume 2: Late Perennials 1994.

While both authors are British, they do include plants from all over the world, including Australia. Their introduction includes brief notes on plant history and origins in the wild; their use in the garden; propagation, planting, cultivation and pruning notes; and pests and diseases, as well as full colour photographs of all the species of a particular plant type. Each book starts with plants which flower in Winter and then progresses through the seasonal cycle.

Martyn and Roger have also produced a set of mini-guides: The Best Scented Plants (over 200 types); Plants for Shade (over 250 plants); Traditional Old Roses; and Climbers for Walls and Arbours – all published by Pan in 1998 and all a delightful read!

Martyn Rix also wrote the Kew Subtropical and Dry Climate Guide in 2006, a book which will become increasingly important with the rising temperatures and droughts, associated with climate change. It has an excellent plant directory of trees, shrubs and climbers, perennials and annuals, bulbs and cacti and succulents from Mediterranean regions, South Africa, California and Mexico, China and India and Australia and New Zealand, all with low water requirements. Each entry lists different species in the family, their origin and use, height and spread specifications and notes about their cultivation, drought tolerance and hardiness and humidity requirements, as well as having lovely photos. I will be discussing some other excellent books on this subject in my post : Specific Types of Gardens: Part Two next month.bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-346

The Essential Plant Guide: Every Plant Guide You Need For Your Garden (For Australian and New Zealand Gardens) 2013  is a real door stopper of a book with chapters on Trees; Shrubs; Annuals and Perennials, Grasses, Sedges and Bamboos; Fruit and Nut Trees; Bulbs, Corms and Tubers; Cacti and Succulents! Each chapter is alphabetically organized according to genus name with descriptions, photographs and cultivation notes and top tips and a table of favourite varieties with details of colour, fragrance, height and width, blooming season, hardiness zone and frost tolerance. It includes an illustrated  guide to fruit and leaf types to make description easier.bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-337

Australian Gardening Encyclopaedia by Random House 1998 is a similar book with a hardiness zone map and notes on garden design, basic design principles, planting and maintenance techniques and pests and diseases. It covers similar categories of plants, as well as Vegetables and Herbs; Ferns, Palms and Cycads; Lawns and Ground Covers, Climbers and Creepers and even Orchids, again organized by genus name. At the back is an alphabetically – ordered Reference Table, detailing growth, form and use; hardiness zone; type of foliage (deciduous or evergreen); height and width; chief attraction; flowering time and special comments about each plant. The entries are shorter, but there are probably more plants covered.bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-338

The Royal Horticultural Society Garden Plants and Flowers in Australia by Ian Spence 2009 is a slightly smaller tome, but equally valuable as a reference guide. Each section starts with notes about the plant type throughout the year, with a series of photos for each season with their page number for easy reference. Chapters include : Trees and Shrubs – the backbone to the garden; Climbing Plants – the vertical element; Flowering Plants – for colour and fragrance; and Bamboos, Grasses and Ferns –  for foliage, background colour, texture and year-round interest. There is also a chapter on Planting and Caring for Plants and very useful lists of suitable plants for particular areas like exposed sites; seaside gardens; dry sun; damp shade; dry shade; deep shade; acid soils; chalky alkaline soils; rock gardens; bog gardens and sloping sites;  or particular needs, like ornamental herbs and fragrant plants.bloggardendesignbksreszd30image-339From the Ground Up: A Complete Guide For Victorian Gardeners by Jane Edmanson 2009 : I bought this book, while we were living in Victoria, but found it to be a very useful guide in Southern New South Wales as well. As a long-term Victorian presenter for ABC’s Gardening Australia, Jane really knows her subject and is a mine of information on gardening in Victoria. She discusses the Victorian climate and soils in depth, including ways of improving the soil, different types of compost and fertilizers; watering and mulching; propagation techniques and transplanting seedlings; pruning; and garden design. Then, there are the chapters on Australian natives; exotic species for sun, shade and colour; the productive garden;  potted plants; lawns; pests and diseases; weeds and a gardening calendar of garden tasks for each month.bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-345Another self-professed Australian botanical bible is The Constant Gardener by Holly Kerr Forsyth 2007. Holly has written a large number of articles about gardening for The Australian, as well as many beautiful books with sumptuous photography. I love her books, some of which I will describe in a later post on dreamy inspirational gardening books, but this one definitely belongs here!

Part One covers the Australian seasons, landscapes and environmental concerns, including global warming, drought, increasing salinity and the threat of feral weeds (as well as possible management strategies and sustainable practices). In Part Two, Holly  discusses some of her favourite plants, which I also adore. She includes a description of her favourite varieties, their use in the garden, planting, requirements and care and the odd anecdote and recipe, as is typical of her style.

Part Three covers grouped garden elements: borders, edgings and ground-covers; lawns and grasses; hedges and climbers; trees, conifers and shrubs; native plants; succulents and tropical plants; and  fruit, herbs and spices; while Part Four gets down to the nitty-gritty of maintaining a healthy garden with chapters on soil and fertilizers; compost and mulch; propagation, pruning and transplanting; and pests, diseases and weeds.

Part Five covers garden design; colour and scent and plants for shady areas.  In Part Six, Holly looks at garden structures; gardening in small spaces; hardscaping: paths and paving, steps; edgings and seats; fences and walls; entrances and gates; supports and structures; lighting; pots; sculptures; water features and flower arranging. And finally, she takes us on a Cook’s Tour of all her favourite types of gardens throughout the world, including Chinese and Japanese gardens; foliage gardens; vegetable gardens; community gardens; mazes, knots and parterres; meadow gardens; rose gardens; native gardens; seaside gardens and water-wise gardens- all with lovely photos and examples. At the back of the book, she includes contact details for many of the gardens cited throughout the book. It’s a lovely book to dip into at random and I highly recommend it!bloggardendesignbksreszd30image-361

Garden Shrubs and Trees in Colour by Eigel Kiaer 1959 is a delightful little hardback gem, which I picked up in a second-hand book sale. While there are descriptive notes in the back of the book, I adore its quirky little colour plates with numbered illustrations of each species and tiny black-and-white sketches of the gardener going about his chores and the tree in relation to house height. The gardener always has a pipe in his mouth and is engaged in various activities from lawn mowing to raking, pushing a wheelbarrow, digging and watering and just admiring the view!

bloggardendesignbksreszd30image-344-copybloggardendesignbksreszd30image-376Botany for Gardeners by Brian Capon 1990 A basic knowledge of botany is invaluable to the gardener for an understanding of plant requirements and correct maintenance for optimal growth. This excellent little book has very clear explanations and covers :

Plant anatomy, right down to cell structure, and that of seeds, roots, shoots, and  stems;

Adaptation mechanisms for protection and fulfilment of basic needs including: competition between plants; reaching for the sun; climbing structures; epiphytes; supportive roots; water uptake and storage, parasitic plants and insectivorous plants.

Plant functions: including growth and development; environmental control; water uptake; osmosis; photosynthesis; and gas exchange with the atmosphere.  And finally,

Reproduction: including flower pollination, the reproductive process; seed dispersal; fruit types; plant classification; genetics; and the life cycle of mosses and ferns.bloggardendesignbksreszd30image-355

Stearn’s Dictionary of Plant Names For Gardeners by William T Stearn  1996 is a great reference guide to the origin and meaning of the plant’s scientific name, covering both genus and species names. For example, one of the only two scientific names my eldest daughter learnt: Callicoma serratifolia , a rainforest tree, which used to grow down by our creek in Northern New South Wales. ‘Calli-’ comes from the Greek word ‘kalli’, meaning ‘beautiful’; ‘-coma’ from the Greek word  ‘kome’, meaning ‘hair’, thus referring to the soft gold, tufted flowerheads of this tree. ‘Serratifolia’ refers to the serrated or saw-tooth edges of its leaves. It is such an interesting book, as it often includes extra fascinating facts, as well as a chapter on vernacular names.

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  1. Garden Design Books :

2A. Garden Design Principles

Down-to-Earth garden Design by Phil Dudman : How To Design and Build Your Dream Garden 2010. I bought this book when I was studying garden design at Burnley and it backed up my study brilliantly. It covers all the basics, as well as providing ready-made garden designs for different garden configurations, and very practical information about actually achieving your design from building retaining walls, steps, pergolas and ponds to installing drainage, laying concrete and pavers, establishing new lawns and planting, composting, mulching and irrigation. A very useful book to own!bloggardendesignbksreszd30image-351

Art and the Gardener : Fine Painting as Inspiration for Garden Design by Gordon Hayward  2008 is a relatively new addition to my library. Because my gardening library is quite extensive, with a  book on most gardening topics, as well as the marvels of the internet, I am now very choosy when it comes to actually purchasing a book, but this one was on sale and looked at garden design in quite a novel way, so how could I resist? On reading it over Christmas, I’m so glad I didn’t! It’s a beautiful book, especially if like me, you love art and gardens. It’s a natural match really, when you think about it. Both art and gardens are governed by similar design elements and principles like line and form, colour and scale, texture, contrast, balance and harmony etc. Gordon relates different art movements to garden style: romanticism, classical axial, impressionism, cubism, minimalism, abstract expressionism and contemporary. He examines the relationship between house and garden in some detail, as well as rules of composition and design principles, including curves and straight lines; focal points; light and shade; contrast in texture and colour; transition spaces; and vertical elements. He has a large chapter on colour harmony or contrast, with suggestions of plants of different colours and seasons and an appendix on colour symbolism in different cultures. Throughout the book are beautiful photographs of artworks and gardens – a real visual treat, as well as really making you think and analyze both art and gardens.bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-352

Garden Enchantment: Creative Design with Annuals and Perennials by Cheryl Maddocks 1992 This is a lovely dreamy book, covering colour design (including lists of flowers for different colour themes); fragrance; planting combinations; perennial borders and annuals; different garden types (meadow; natural; flower arrangers; herbs and edible flowers; pots and situations like  shade and night-time); as well as chapters on soil preparation; maintenance and propagation. There are selection lists for annuals and perennials at the back of the book, with descriptions and cultivation notes.bloggardendesignbksreszd30image-350

2B. Elements of Design

  1. Colour

The Gardener’s Book of Colour by Andrew Lawson 1996.  I bought this book after hearing a talk by Andrew Lawson in Armidale in 1998, when he was visiting Australia. After discussing colour theory, he focuses on gardening with single colours (with planting suggestions for each season); harmonies and contrasts; and mixed colour combinations. At the back of the book, he includes keyline drawings with full  planting details for the major schemes discussed. I love his beautiful photographs and his brilliant colour combinations from bold and dramatic to harmonious and peaceful. His plant directories provide cultivation details for over 850 plants. I found his section on green colours particularly useful, as the backdrop to the garden throughout all seasons.bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-349

Planting For Colour by Susan Chivers 1988 is also an excellent book on colour, with a double page spread devoted to each colour and notes on the association between colour and moods, including planting suggestions for each desired emotional effect eg calming; exciting; dramatic; subtle; and sophisticated. It examines the use of colour in different situations like small town gardens; country gardens; woodland gardens; water gardens; and seaside gardens with planting suggestions throughout. She  also looks at hard landscaping and containers. The final half of the book is devoted to ensuring the maximum use of colour throughout all the seasons from early Spring to late Winter, with double page plant profiles of dominant plants in each season eg magnolias and miniature daffodils in early Spring; and  early-flowering clematis, tulips and rhododendrons and azaleas in late Spring.

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The Startling Jungle: Colour and Scent in the Romantic Garden by Stephen Lacey 1986  An immediate best-seller on its publication, this book  leads into my next design element – scent. In this, his first book, Stephen writes about the use of colour and scent in the garden; cottage gardens; and the importance of foliage, then spends the remainder of the book describing the progress of the seasons, with delightful chapter titles like ‘the promise of a warming air’ (Spring) or ‘the brittle violin of frost’ (Winter). While only a small paperback , it makes up for its limited number of colour-plates with its prose and word pictures- a delightful read and worthy of all the acclaim it received.

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2.Scent

Scent in Your Garden by Stephen Lacey. One of my favourite books, as fragrance is an incredibly important facet of the garden for me and I love the luscious photographs by Andrew Lawson, who wrote the book on colour, previously described. Beginning with a chapter on the nature of scent, the book goes on to describe scented trees and shrubs; herbaceous borders and ground-covers; walled gardens and vertical plantings; rock and water gardens; rose gardens (my favourite!); herbs and conservatory and mild climate plants. While there are a large number of books now on scented plants, I still think this is one of the best!

bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-363Fragrant Herbal: Enhancing Your Life with Aromatic Herbs and Essential Oils by Lesley Bremness 1998 . Published by Crabtree and Evelyn, one of my favourite shops for toiletries, soaps and fragrances, this book is sumptuous, with stunning photography and over 75 recipes for delicious meals and herbal teas and fragrant home and bath products! It has extensive chapters on herbs and aromatherapy; plans for 12 fragrant herb gardens and an illustrated ‘A to Z’ index of over more than 120 herbs, with details of their aromatic properties, use and cultivation. If ever you need a pick-me-up, this beautiful coffee-table book is essential reading!bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-374Creating a Garden for the Senses by Jenny Hendy 2009 While sight and smell (and to a certain extent, taste) are so dominant and amply catered for in garden design, the other senses of sound and touch are also very important and this small book has many wonderful ideas for creating a garden for all the senses. Again, beautiful photos, which were the initial reason for buying this book!bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-378

  1. Seasonal Interest

Plants For All Seasons by Andrew Lawson 1992, another lovely small book by Andrew Lawson, it features 250 plants for year-round display, a very important concept, especially in smaller gardens with limited space. Each plants described has been chosen for its versatility, its double value in the garden, through repeated blooming of flowers; long-lasting seedheads or Autumn berries, its colourful foliage and even the colour of its bark. For example, my Golden Hornet Crabapple, which is featured in the book, has beautiful white Spring blossom, golden fruits in Summer, which last well into Winter and colourful Autumn foliage. The glossy photographs are certainly very seductive!bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-348

Plants For All Seasons by Ursula Buchan 1999 has an identical title and also details 85 plants with multi-season interest. She starts with a big section on foliage and texture; bark and stems; flowers and seedheads and growth habits; then focuses on each plant group with a full page devoted to each plant and again, lovely photos.bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-353

This book was reprinted in paperback form in 2004 under a slightly different title: Planting For All Seasons: Beautiful and Versatile Plants That Change Through The Year , but it is otherwise identical to the 1999 book.

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2C. Garden Type

While there are numerous books on all the different garden styles from formal gardens to cottage gardens, seaside gardens, romantic gardens etc, I have only focused on a few favourites, which were very pertinent to us at the time, as we are very keen on the environment and have lived most of our years in the country, as well as raising a family. Next month, I will be discussing a few more specific garden styles as well.

  1. Natural Gardens

The Natural Gardener by Val Bourne 2004, the winner of the Garden Writers’ Guild Book of the Year Award in 2005, is another excellent read, which follows the garden through the seasonal cycle, with interesting snippets along the way about natural predators and insects like ladybirds and spiders; bumblebees and honeybees; butterflies and moths; ground beetles and vine weevils, hoverflies and lacewings; slugs; frogs and newts; and birds and hedgehogs. There are informative chapters on Winter foliage and fragrance; early Spring blooms; bulb lawns; water gardens;  transition periods between seasons; vegetable gardens; Summer flowers, Autumn blooms and fruit; and seedhead, stem and bark interest for Winter. Even though this book is written from a British perspective, its organic  and environmentally-friendly principles can still be applied to other countries, including Australia on the other side of the world!bloggardendesignbksreszd30image-366

Natural Garden Style : Gardening Inspired by Nature by Noël Kingsbury 2009 is another British book with a stunning jacket and illustrations, based on linocuts by Angie Lewin, reason enough to buy this beautiful book or at least that’s my excuse!! Its thick wood-free paper, gorgeous photos and lovely coffee-table presentation is also the reason why books will always survive despite the digital age! In the introduction, Noël discusses the importance of organic gardening methods; sustainability and biodiversity; the concept of ‘right plant, right place’; learning from nature; gardening for wildlife and contemporary natural-style planting. He elaborates on these ideas in his chapters on meadows; prairies and borders; trees and woodlands; and the wider landscape, as well as discussing sculpture and ornament; sun and stone; land and water forms; and plant selection and maintenance. He finishes with a directory of natural-style gardens to visit in the United Kingdom, Europe and the USA.bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-365

Noël has also written another lovely book titled The New Perennial Garden 1996, in which he discusses the relationship between gardening and nature and the new garden styles, which encourage and support this ethos; plantings for specific conditions like full sun, shade, damp areas and dry areas; and a myriad of garden techniques from planting flowering meadows to seed collection and storage; propagation, maintenance and pest and weed control. The plant tables at the back are particularly useful, listing plants for shade (shade, light shade and moist shade); meadows, rough grass, prairies, steppes and heathlands; moist ground, waterside, and dry environments; and finally short-lived perennials, biennials and annuals, all with great photos and details on height, growth habit, foliage, flower, season, situation, zone and extra remarks.blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0298

  1. Country Gardens

The Country Garden: How to Create the Natural Look in Your Garden by John Brookes 1987, one of my gardening bibles in my early gardening days! John Brookes is another very prominent garden designer in Britain. His acclaimed garden, ‘Denmans’ can be visited in West Sussex (along with 20,000 other visitors a year!). See : http://www.denmans-garden.co.uk/ for details. Stephen Lacey has written an article about this doyen of British garden designers at : http://www.telegraph.co.uk/gardening/gardenprojects/11619164/John-Brookes-It-is-the-effect-that-plants-make-that-interests-me-more-than-their-individuality.html.

John Brookes was one of the pioneers of natural-style gardening back in the 1980s and in this book, he describes the new informal relaxed approach to gardening; natural gardening and planting; integrating house and garden and the concept of the borrowed landscape (though neither of these are new concepts, being fundamental tenets of the Arts and Crafts style gardens at the turn of last century, though neglected over the intervening years!) ; axes, vistas and glimpsed views; drift and flow effects; entrances and exits; walls, hedges and fences; surfaces and levels; paths and paving; garden structures; distressing techniques to age appearance; sculptures and ornaments; and the importance of a garden plan and how to draw it.  He examines the garden in each season with beautiful labelled photos (like herbarium pages) on a double page spread, featuring plants of seasonal interest eg Winter flowers; Winter stems and Winter Vegetables. Along the way, he describes different types of natural gardens: gravel gardens; woodlands; neglected corners; rugged clifftop gardens by the sea; cottage gardens; enchanted gardens; water gardens; shade gardens; working gardens, herb gardens- so many different types! At the back, he includes case histories and garden plans; natural garden planting lists, with the plants divided into their use (eg food for butterflies/ rabbit resistance/ decorative seed-heads etc) and specific environments (eg different soil types; moist shaded areas; extreme alkalinity etc). While this book can be read from start to finish, its format and presentation encourages a dip-in approach! It’s a very inspirational book!bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-372

 The Country Garden by Trisha Dixon 1992 My Christmas present in 1993! An equally lovely book about country gardens, this publication has a more traditional approach and a different form of organization. It has a logical ordered approach, starting from planning the garden and understanding the site; setting the style with respect to entrances and driveways, garden buildings, water features, and cottage style and wild gardens; the concepts of symmetry and perspective, including patterns and vistas, garden walks and avenues and hedging; colour; walls and fences and finally produce, an essential element of the country garden! This was a particularly useful book for us, because it is written from an Australian perspective! Stunning photography once again!bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-373

  1. Family Gardens

Family Gardens by Bunny Guinness 1996. The perfect book for us at the time, given that we were developing our country gardens, while raising 3 young children, as well as the fact that today’s children are tomorrow’s gardeners! This lovely book positively propels kids out into the garden with its chapters on design and planning for all sizes of garden; playhouses and treehouses; garden games and outdoor living; water gardens; and gardens for pets and wildlife, and finally planting schemes of suitable plants, not to mention a cautionary poisonous plants list! There are wonderful photos of (and occasionally instructions for) Wendy houses and magical tree houses with slides; crocodile willow houses; swings and climbing pergolas; allocated areas for garden games; sandpits and paddling pools; outdoor eating areas, barbecues and terraces; vegetable patches for childhood foraging; unusual garden furniture and garden buildings; ponds and wetlands; wildlife gardens and wildflower meadows; chicken runs and rabbit hutches; adventure mazes and even topiary peacocks! I loved this book for its imagination and creativity and sheer sense of FUN!bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-367

2D. Books by Garden Designers

Rosemary Verey (1918-2001)

Rosemary Verey’s Making of a Garden 1995

Rosemary Verey was an internationally renowned plantswoman and garden designer with a very famous garden Barnsley House in Gloucestershire.bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-364

This is a beautiful book about the development of her garden over 35 years and encompassing all her gardening principles and practical techniques. I adored the watercolour designs of each garden area, like that of her potager below.bloggardendesignbksreszd30image-375

Penelope Hobhouse (1929-)

Another very British influential gardener, writer and garden designer. I own three of her books: Colour in Your Garden: A Practical Sourcebook 1985; Garden Style 1989 and Penelope Hobhouse On Gardening 1994.

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The first book could have fitted equally well into the category on Design Elements, earlier in this post, but I thought I’d keep all her books together- mind you all of them would also fit into a future post on dreamy inspirational gardens (along with Rosemary Verey and Edna Walling as well!!).

In this book, she starts by discussing design for colour and the nature of colour, before focusing intensively on each individual colour, with seasonal planting suggestions, wonderful photographs and keyline drawings of planting plans. She also has a large section on the foliage framework, both green and Autumn colours, as well as bark colour. She finishes with some information on  the science behind plant colour and notes on climate and growing conditions.bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-369

In her book, Garden Style, she discusses a large number of gardens, which have inspired and educated her, including her own Tintinhull and Margery Fish’s cottage garden at East Lambrook Manor, both in Somerset;  Hidcote Manor, Gloucestershire;and Villa Noailles in South-Eastern France. She discusses the importance of framework in a garden; archways and pergolas; paths and steps; hedges and avenues and water features, using Jenkyn Place, Hampshire and Christopher Lloyd’s garden, Great Dixter, East Sussex, as examples. She discusses pattern in some depth, both in decorative plantings and hard and soft landscapes, including mazes, topiary, water patterns, kitchen gardens, parterres and knot gardens. East Lambrook Manor features again in her chapter on more natural style gardens, along with the Longstock Water Gardens, Hampshire. The flower garden and colour border, as well as Gertrude Jekyll’s influence, feature in her discussions of Monet’s Giverny; Hestercombe and her own garden, Tintinhull, both in Somerset. The final chapter describes the concepts of garden rooms, inner gardens and informal garden areas.bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-368

In the last book, Penelope reveals all her gardening secrets and ideas, using her own garden, Tintinhull, to illustrate her theories. She describes each garden area, supported by stunning photographs, as well as discussing feature plants like hellebores and euphorbias; anemones and self-seeders; silver foliage plants; flowering salvias and roses; and cyclamen and alliums. Like Rosemary Verey’s book, there are beautiful watercolour plans of all her plantings. She also discusses seed collection and sowing and propagation by cuttings in her final  chapter titled ‘Behind the Scenes’. A truly beautiful and inspiring book!!!bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-371

Edna Walling (1896-1973)

No Australian garden library would be complete without a book by our own celebrated garden writer, designer and environmentalist Edna Walling and I actually have four books:

Cottage and Garden in Australia 1947

The Edna Walling Book of Australian Garden Design 1980, edited by Margaret Barrett

A Gardener’s Log 1985

The Garden Magic of Edna Walling 1988

Here is the back cover of the second book, in which Edna expresses her garden philosophy.

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Cottage and Garden in Australia 1947 is an original copy, which we inherited from my husband’s mother. It is one of my favourites! Edna loved old English cottages, particular their scale, charm and use of local materials, and she created her own village in Bickleighvale at Mooroolbark, Victoria, now alas swallowed up by Melbourne suburbia, but nevertheless, with the cottages still intact, though the now-mature gardens are very shady and probably need rejuvenation! I love the old sepia photographs of both interiors and exteriors in this book, which really add to the sense of history and simplicity of her delightful dwellings. She includes plans, specifications and detailed drawings of her cottages and detailed notes about doorways and windows; stonework and timber; chimneys and paved floors and homemade garden pots.

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The Edna Walling Book of Garden Design, (a blend of extracts from Edna’s first three books: Cottage and Garden 1947, already discussed;  Gardens in Australia 1943; and A Gardener’s Log 1948) focuses more on the garden, with chapters titled: On Garden-Making; Trees and Shrubs; Perennials and Ground Covers; the Natural Rock Garden; Paths, Paving and Pergolas; Walls, Steps and Stairways; Cottages and Country Gardens; and Natural Swimming Pools. Edna had her own signature plants and vocabulary, which she employed time and time again in the gardens, which she designed and then planted for her cottages.eg: Birches, Crabapples, Hawthorns, Medlars and  Claret Ash; Kolwitzias, Daphne, Amelanchiers, Spireae, Kalmias and Chimonanthus; Campanulas, Verbascums, Achilleas, Lavender, Erigeron, Ajuga, Chamomile and Thyme. She also had a great love of the Australian bush and included many native flora in her repertoire, including Leptospermums, Lilly-Pilly (Acmena smithii), Grevilleas, Eriostemons, Baeckeas, Ericas and Prostantheras.bloggardendesignbksreszd30image-359

A Gardener’s Log 1985 is a reprint of Edna’s original 1948 book, edited by Margaret Barrett. It is presented in the form of a diary or garden notebook, with little gems of wisdom and practical advice appropriate to each season.bloggardendesignbksreszd30image-358

The final book, The Garden Magic of Edna Walling, once more edited by Margaret Barrett, contains over 100 black-and-white photos taken by Edna during the 1930s and 1940s, as well as colour photographs of the gardens, taken by John Hay 50 years later. Neil Robertson writes an introduction about Edna’s life and career and while much of the book is written about Edna, it does include extracts from her writings about stonework; natural gardening; Australian native plants; architecture in the garden; the use of water in the garden; gardens for children; more  greenery than colour; climbing roses; places of repose and the art of leaving well alone! bloggardendesignbksreszd25image-356

A good place to finish, I think !!! Next week, I will be returning to our garden for a post on the 2017 Summer Garden!