This book was an impulse purchase. I was in a bookstore. I was in the gardening section. (Of course!)
I was not going home without something to read. That is, not if I could pick out a book fast enough, as I was being hurried along. So I was quickly thumbing though some gardening books, and picked up Mr. Smith's book. I liked the photos, and it was either buy a book, or go home empty. So, this was the book I bought.
I am so glad I did!
At the time I bought it, I was trying to design my garden. I was looking for some help, and some inspiration.
I got both.
This book is about the garden Mr. Smith made encircling his suburban home. He designed several different garden rooms, each leading to the other, yet each room is unique, beautiful, and functional. He explains how he took design elements, and fit them to his garden space (such as scaling down an English border for his front garden room).
His garden is broken into 12 different areas. There are plenty of photos of each space, an explanation of each are, and a map of the entire garden on page 30. His garden does have a lot of formal elements to them, which I like. If you don't like formality in your garden, you will probably not enjoy this book as much as I do. Perhaps another book would work better for you.
I was amazed how much he could pack into one suburban lot. There is a water feature, a dining space, vegetable beds, and even a service area. (Design a service area!? What a great idea!) Each space had something I wanted to use in my garden in some capacity. Even now, when I look through this book, I find ideas I want to use somewhere in my garden.
After showing us his garden, Mr. Smith then explains 12 design principles. I probably didn't get as much from these design principles as Mr. Smith would have wanted, although they gave me a lot to think about, and there are still a lot of creative ideas in this section.
|This photo, taken in May, shows several of Mr. Smith's design principles at work:|
Enclosure, Focal Point, Structures, Color, and Abundance
The last section is about creating your own garden home, with practical advice about shape, areas, pathways, privacy, views, walls, etc. There are no pretty pictures in this section. This section is like a workbook for you to think about what will actually work in your own particular space.
If you are in the creation stage of your garden, and you like a touch of formality in gardens, you will like this book. Check it out. Every time I add a new area to my garden, I go back through this book. It always gives me an idea or two I can adjust to my own garden.
Do you have a garden book to share? I'd love for you to join in! Any book with a gardening influence in it qualifies!
And be sure to visit the other participants, too! :)
That book sounds interesting. I'll look for it when I to some bookstore. Thanks for the tip.ReplyDelete
I hope your local bookstore or library has it. Just look through it - the pictures are quite delightful, and you will probably know immediately if this garden is something you would want to learn more about or not.Delete
I like the sound of this book Holley, especially that he divided his garden into different roomsReplyDelete
I've always heard about "rooms" in the garden, but his garden really is a series of rooms, and it got me to thinking about my garden. I don't have the types of rooms he has, and really I don't have rooms at all, just different garden areas, but I loved the room concept.Delete
I watched his show based on the book but maybe the book will help pull it all together...I have sen the new home based on a newer show and it is breathtaking as are the acres of gardens.ReplyDelete
I loved that he had the overview on page 30. That helped me to understand exactly where I was in the garden while reading the book, and to understand the entire concept. I would love to see more of his gardens at his new farm home.Delete
Love your new header on your blog, can you tell us what rose that large red rose is? Breathtakingly beautiful!ReplyDelete
You are not going to believe it. That "breathtakingly beautiful" rose is a Knock Out. Sometimes, they really are beautiful!Delete
I love to watch his garden showReplyDelete
I haven't see it. I'll have to find out when it's on. I think the only time I've seen him on television were little segments on the Weather Channel!Delete
I have this book and agree with you that it is very interesting to see how the garden rooms are connected and too see them on a small lot.ReplyDelete
I was surprised how much garden he could squeeze into a suburban lot. I think it would make any gardener re-think their garden space.Delete
Hi Holley: P. Allen Smith always has a unique, but practical approach to share. Looks like a great book choice. I added a link--I'm not sure it worked, but my review is at http://plantpostings.blogspot.com/2012/07/flowers-for-home.html. Thanks for hosting, Holley!ReplyDelete
Yes, your link works! :) Thanks so much for joining in. I have just a few books that I reach for over and over, and this is one of them!Delete
I have so much sweeping informality the I do long for some formal boundaries. As a matter of fact, I think formality might be easier to care for than tamed wildness, or am I dreaming? I have grand plans to extend and redesign what is currently my herb bed in an area adjacent to my patio, so a book like this may be just what I need!ReplyDelete
I think formal gardens have a bad reputation for being high maintenance, but really, I don't think they are near as hard to maintain than informal and varied abundant gardens. I look forward to hearing more about the grand plans for your herb bed. Planning a new area is always so exciting!Delete
I love the whole concept of garden rooms. Sounds like a great book! I would love just to see the pictures of what he does with each area (and how that might be applicable to my small lot!)ReplyDelete
I hope you'll check this book out. I got a lot just looking at the pictures, but it was very interesting to hear about his trials and tribulations of designing and implementing each area. I think this would give you a lot of ideas for a small lot.Delete
I love the idea of garden rooms too. I'm not into formality, but I've found out rather painfully how much a garden needs structure, so I'm sure I would get a lot out of this book like you have Holley.ReplyDelete
Yes, structure is so important, and hard to get just right sometimes. He has several structure ideas that you could use in different ways. I loved the way he made garden rooms in this garden. I could imagine going from room to room, each one a surprise and delight.Delete
That's a lovely picture of your garden. (And I like your new heade. But then, I liked your old header, too!) The book sounds like one that I could use. Goodness knows, my garden could use some structure. And discipline!ReplyDelete
I'm the one that could use some discipline! haha Maybe then my garden wouldn't be so weedy and overgrown! :) But, seriously, I've taken several of his ideas and tweaked them to use in my garden. And there are several more ideas of his that I want to use somewhere - sometime!Delete
Sounds like another fabulous book to put on my ever growing list. I'm joining in this month with my favorite tropical gardening book. Thanks, as always, for hosting!
Thanks for reviewing one of your favorite books. The books that we gardeners reach for over and over - those are the books I love to know about!Delete
Thank you for another nice book to read. Sometimes I think I don't have to buy garden books, I can just read your blog :).ReplyDelete
Oh, what a sweet compliment! I love garden blogs, too. There is so much good information out there. But I like to read books at night right before I go to sleep. Nothing better than beautiful garden images to go to sleep by!Delete
I haven't heard of this guy before, but it sounds like a great book. I do however know about the principle of rooms in your garden and I try my best to implement that in my tiny garden - more 'virtual' rooms I guess! Not really with fences or hedges in between, but more using the plants. Hey, I just got an ida for my next post, thanks Holley :-)ReplyDelete
I really loved how he used 'rooms' in his garden, and I bet your use of different plantings for different areas in your garden is very effective. I would love to have more hedges in my own garden, but for right now, that's just not feasible. Maybe one day!Delete
Holley, I love the concept of garden rooms. I will need to check this book out. I ordered the book that Dona reviewed and it arrived a few days ago.ReplyDelete
I hope it's not too late. I'm joining with a book about vegetable gardening. Thank you for hosting. It was fun to do a book review.
I'm glad you joined in with a book review, and that you are finding some books to read. I always think a recommendation from a gardener is the best recommendation there is!Delete
I am surprised Helene never heard of P. Allen. He really is everywhere, TV, books, personal appearances. He is quite interesting to hear in person too, also not bad to look at!!!ReplyDelete
Well, I do watch a lot of TV, but I don't watch American TV - I live in Britain! Don't think he is a big name over here, even if he look handsome :-)Delete
haha - Helene - he may not be big in Britain, but he clearly loves British gardens, and British gardens have definitely had a big influence on his designs. Interestingly, the Foreword is written by Lady Elizabeth Ashbrook (of Arley)! :)Delete
Sounds like a great book! I will have to see if I can find a copy :-)ReplyDelete
I hope you find a copy, and that you enjoy it! :)Delete
I am sorry to have missed this month's review, but I have a great book lined up for next month. I was never much for formal gardens in the past. Your tastes change as you get older however and this sounds like a great book for inspiration.ReplyDelete
I love formal gardens, and my taste has changed to be a bit more 'free' as I've gotten older! Isn't that funny! His book has really inspired many parts of my garden. I hope you will have the chance to look through his book some time. I think you would enjoy it.Delete
Holley - You can subscribe to P. Allen Smith on Facebook. Today he had a video tour of his house. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1surUk0qRWg&feature=shareReplyDelete
Thanks for the link! I'm not a FB'er, but I am interested in seeing what he does with his new garden - and all that land!Delete
Having a large space to work with I really understand the concept (and need!) of garden rooms now and am always looking for how different people incorporate them in their gardens. If I come across this book I'll be sure to take a peak.ReplyDelete
I was impressed with all that he squeezed into a suburban lot. It gives those of us with larger plots a lot to play with, too. I loved his use of garden rooms, although I don't really have "rooms" like that in my own garden.Delete
I joined Facebook in December 2011 for the first time. Rather than put up a lot of "personal" stuff about myself, I subscribe to all kinds of gardening feeds and have been Most Pleased with what I learn that way. Twitter, however, is a waste of freaking time, IMHO.ReplyDelete
haha - I don't think I'd be much of a Twitterer. But it sounds like you have used FB in the best way possible! Smart idea!Delete
I'll read this book as prep for my new garden. It sounds like it has a lot of useful information. I would have probably picked it up because of the rather gorgeous young man on the cover.ReplyDelete
:) And it has lots of gorgeous pictures of his garden, too. I hope you will read it - it just may change your plans!Delete
Sounds like a good book. I'll have to check it out! LOVE your roses in the top photo!ReplyDelete
I hope you like the book. I find I turn to it whenever I'm stuck on a new garden plan.Delete
I have that book and love the pics of Smith's garden. I DO do Facebook and I have "liked" P. Allen Smith's page and he regularly posts links to gardening tips and his videos. I don't know if I can post a link here but here's another view of the garden in a recent video.ReplyDelete
It sounds enticing to go on FB in order to get gardening tips and such! Thanks for the link, too. :) I'm obviously missing a lot!Delete
thanks for sharing.ReplyDelete
You're welcome. :)Delete