A Community of Plants and People

Book Review: Planting for a Post-Wild World, by Thomas Rainer and Claudia West. Both absorbing and challenging, Planting for a Post-Wild World is dense with both ideas and inspiration for gardeners who want to mix ecology into their horticulture.

Matchmaker, Matchmaker …

Book Review: The Perennial Matchmaker, by Nancy J. Ondra Gardening is about bringing plants together into satisfying partnerships. If you were to peek into the mind of the typical gardener, as he or she stares off into the middle distance, you would most likely find thinking something like: “What on earth can I put in …

These Are The Insects In Your Neighborhood

Book Review: Bees, Wasps, and Ants, by Eric Grissell I picked this book up because I wanted to know more about insects. Eric Grissell, a research entomologist, is a good source for such knowledge. This particular book focuses on the order Hymenoptera, which consists (as the title suggests) of bees, wasps, and ants. Also sawflies. …

Book Review: Hummelo, by Piet Oudolf and Noel Kingsbury

Chicago’s Lurie Garden and New York City’s High Line are two of the most popular gardens in North America, yet they would be barely recognizable as “gardens” just three decades ago. Piet Oudolf, a designer for both those gardens, is one of the pivotal figures in this shift. He is not a landscape architect but …

Book Review: Are “Aggressive” Plants a Blessing or a Curse?

The purpose of plants is to make more plants. That is all they want to do. Gardeners sometimes frustrate, sometimes tolerate this will to reproduce. Some plants are particularly successful in this endeavor. Oftentimes gardeners consider such plants mildly criminal. How often have we heard the word “thug” used in the context of the garden, …

Book Review: In and Out of Paris: Gardens of Secret Delight

For gardeners and lovers of gardens, this coffee table book is like a great big scrumptious hot fudge sundae. Or, if you want to switch the metaphor from food to sex, this book is garden porn at its absolute finest. In and Out of Paris: Gardens of Secret Delight is mainly about private gardens and …

Book Review: Is There Such a Thing as an “American” Garden?

Recently I finished reading Great GardensĀ of America by the English garden writer Tim Richardson. The book has much to commend it, but I would have liked it a lot more if I had skipped the introduction. In this book, Richardson describes 25 American gardens that he considers superlative (two are actually Canadian, but let’s not …

Book Review – Sissinghurst: Vita Sackville-West and the Creation of a Garden, by Vita Sackville-West and Sarah Raven

Judy and I visited Sissinghurst late last summer, and we both loved it. Even so, I wish I had read this book before we got there. It certainly would have helped me to appreciate even more this remarkable garden, which began as the estate of writer Vita Sackville-West and her diplomat husband, Harold Nicolson. It …

Book Review: 100 Flowers and How They Got Their Names, by Diana Wells

100 Flowers and How They Got Their Names will not make you a better gardener, but it should make you a more amused and informed gardener. And it may provide you with the material for some witty or scholarly remarks you could mention casually at next summer’s garden walks. Diana Wells provides brief, entertaining, and …

Review and Giveaway: The Layered Garden, by David Culp

For reasons we don’t need to go into here, I find myself in possession of two hard cover copies of David Culp’s The Layered Garden. I figured this was a good reason to do something I have never done before: a giveaway (of the extra book). Details at the end of this post. The Layered …