A changing gardening aesthetic has embraced a naturalistic approach to garden design and Piet Oudolf is at the fore of the movement. In the book, http://simplecommunion.com/paul/?share=email Planting: A New Perspective, Noel Kingsbury teams up with Oudolf to lay out the specific details of an approach to planting design that involves the blending and mixing of species to develop a vegetation rather than the planting of blocks of plants. The result is a landscape that is sustainable, supports biodiversity, and seeks to reflect nature rather than control it.
The authors begin by explaining their concept of planting design and go on to discuss how plants can be grouped in different ways. A large part of this chapter is devoted to a study of Oudolf’s planting plans and an explanation of his plant grouping systems. This leads to a discussion about combining plants based on shape and structure rather than color and a consideration of long term plant performance with a focus on the survival strategies of plants . A final chapter of the book describes the work of contemporary designers dubbed ‘ecological engineers’ because they combine technical knowledge of plant performance with visual appeal to create their designs. A directory of plants giving information such as size, foliage and flower characteristics, season of interest, longevity, and hardiness, rounds out the work.
This is a special book and probably of most interest to people who are intensely interested in garden design and especially those who are ecologically sensitive. Even if you don’t have a garden, the material presented has a big appeal as it provides a look into the way garden design is changing and evolving. If you do have a garden the detailed information on grouping and combining plants can be used in a large or small garden although the examples in the book are of the former. Most of the plants are for sunny areas and are more suitable for moderate growing areas in the US rather than in extremes. The photographs show many of Oudolf’s gardens and are an inspiration. A good read and valuable resource.
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