Classic Garden Design
how to adapt and recreate garden features of the past
by Rosemary Verey
is full of advice. For instance, this is the very first sentence in the first chapter of the book:
"Paths, alleys and walks are the skeleton of the garden."
Just this one sentence can give me hours of thought. And this book is full of those types of gardening wisdom. It's these little sentences of advice that makes this book special to me. It makes me think about and see my garden in a new way.
There are chapters on different areas in the garden. Herb gardens. Knot gardens. Rock gardens, etc. And don't think classic means formal. She talks about cottage gardens, and even has a chapter on The Wild Garden and Meadow Gardening. But I have found that even in the chapters that I would normally skip, I read them anyway, because I find so much useful gardening information in them.
She gives loads of practical advice such as how to cut back the roots of a box-edged vegetable garden so that the roots don't interfere with the growth of the vegetables, or of adding Iris reticulata in the corners of beds so you will remember where they are planted. She explains the phrase 'divers coloured ribbons' in a knot garden. She even gives specific advice on plants, such as using 'Queen of Night' dark tulips together with 'Desdemona' ligularia, as "the dark tulips look spectacular growing through purple-leafed sage". Plant suggestions, of course, need to be researched in order to determine if they grow well in your own particular climate. However, most plants can be easily substituted with a similar one that grows in your area.
But it's the little sentences of gardening wisdom that make this book so special to me. Sentences such as:
"In a hot climate succulents are the equivalents of alpines."
"Near the house and in small gardens, pots should be moved around frequently so they will always look their best, in fact they should be treated more as flower arrangements."
"Scent is as important as flavour to our senses, let us have plenty."
"...the untold pleasures of having a garden which is pleasing from all the windows of the house, one which you can walk round at every season of the year and find something beautiful to appreciate, a garden full of surprises."
"From spring to autumn there must be colour, and in winter they should have form."
After re-reading her section on Beds and Borders, I realized what has been bothering me about my Walking Garden.
|The Walking Garden|
She states: "In a border, height will be consistent." After studying border pictures, I realized I had too much height variation, and that the Walking Garden would look much more pleasing if the heights along the back of the borders were more uniform. I need to cut back my roses in order to achieve this consistency, and just that one small tweak will give my Walking Garden a much more relaxing feel.
|Just needs a little tweak here and there|
Of course, the more of this book that I read, the more ideas I have. After reading this sentence,
"Once you start thinking of planting your vegetables in a decorative way, in patterns of colour and texture, you will not only enjoy working in the garden far more but you will also hate to see any bare patches, so you will always be infilling and planting."I just may have to re-work my vegetable garden, too!
Now it's your turn! Please join us on the 20th of every month with your own Garden Book Review. Any book with a gardening influence qualifies. As always, please take the time to visit each of the other participants, too!