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!
Sounds inspirational! Sounds like more work! ;)ReplyDelete
I have a long, straight, grass walkway in my weird-shaped side yard. It emphasizes the pathway and not the shape of the yard.
Love Rosemary Verey designs. I may have to try this book...
Sharrieboberry, I hope you enjoy the book. I, too, love Rosemary Verey designs. They really are classic. It sounds like you have done a great job of designing your garden, too, and have camouflaged the "weird shape" of your side yard well.Delete
This sounds like a book I need to read, since I am design-challenged and just resort to throwing things in where they will fit or grow well. It's now on my list.ReplyDelete
I throw a lot of plants around, too. I need to keep to my designs! But, it's more fun that way! :) Hope you enjoy the book.Delete
This sounds like an excellent book, and the author has a way with words! I'll be posting my book review shortly. Thanks for hosting!ReplyDelete
I do love Rosemary Verey and have several of her books. This one really is full of a lot of advice to think about. Makes me wish I could redesign my entire garden all over!Delete
Looks like a great book, Holley. That's good about getting ADVICE on every page... A book can't get much better than that... I like the way that author writes.ReplyDelete
I need a lot of advice, and find that as I grow as a gardener, the advice becomes more and more clear to me, and more and more valuable!Delete
My head is a jumble of ideas as I think about our new garden. Sounds like Rosemary can help me sort it all out. I too agree with your point about reading every page. It is almost the best part. Like a treasure hunt you didn't know you were on until you find something delightful.ReplyDelete
You're so right! It's like a treasure hunt, finding all kinds of little surprise bits of wisdom!Delete
Holley I love books like this. They give us ideas and inspiration which we are always looking for....will check it out.ReplyDelete
I never mark in a book, but I'm thinking of highlighting several of the ideas she has given me. Oh, so many ideas, and only so much time...Delete
Thanks, Holley, this sounds like my kind of book, too. I have read a couple of books by Rosemary Verey, but wasn't aware of this one. I'm off to the secondhand book sites to track it down!ReplyDelete
I think this must have been one of her later books, although I didn't look that up. I hope you find a copy of it. I think the book is a classic. The only problem is substituting appropriate plants for the ones that won't work outside of England!Delete
This sounds like a book with lots of inspiration and ideas – and a book that could cost my wallet a lot of money :-) I often try to recreate things I see in other gardens, adapted to my tiny garden, there are so many plants and ideas I would like to try out and so little space to play with! Thanks for sharing Holly.ReplyDelete
It's an old book - 1980's - so I doubt it would cost much, and maybe the local library would have a copy. I always buy books second hand! And I know what you mean about too many plants and ideas. Even though I have a large garden, even I am running out of room for all I wish I could add!Delete
Oh, sorry, I didn't mean the book would be expensive - the ideas I would get from them could be costly! New plants, containers, different types of fertilisers and so on. I do this every year, try to limit my costs and get loads of new ideas and end up spending far too much. I have just bought 8 new plants online, coming next couple of weeks :-)Delete
Oh! hahaha I did misunderstand. And yes, ideas can become quite expensive! :) I am trying not to spend too much this autumn, but I'm afraid I always spend more each season than I expect to!Delete
I haven't read any of the books by Rosemary Verey but from your other review and the review of this book, I know I would enjoy reading her books. Classic Garden Design would be a book I know I would find useful. I think your garden looks great, by the way! And I have just linked my book review to your meme, but again I had problems with cropping and I forgot to add an apostrophe to Flora's. That's what happens when I stay up late and post! You have my permission to tidy up my photo if you can. (And to make it grammatically correct!) Sorry!ReplyDelete
Dorothy, I couldn't find a way to change your photo, and it looks like you had put in the apostrophe, but for some reason it's not showing up on the title. Maybe it's a glitch that doesn't recognize apostrophes? Not sure, but you didn't do anything wrong! Thanks for joining in!Delete
I just discovered your Garden Book Review and cheated a little and used a post that had recently been added to my site. I will return to join again next time.ReplyDelete
The book you are reviewing looks very interesting.
Glad you discovered the reviews! And thanks for linking in. I am determined to learn more about succulents, so I look forward to reading your review.Delete
Every little gem from Miss Verey gives me new ideas. Well, maybe not the Queen of Night tulips which would be drop-dead gorgeous but I gave them up because of the difficulties getting them to bloom.ReplyDelete
Maybe we could make lists of plants to substitute that grow in hot and humid climates, like Gingers for Hostas.
What a great idea!!! That would be so useful! Sometimes the hardest part about incorporating a great idea is finding the right plant substitute. I bet cold areas have the same problem, too.Delete
Thanks Holley for hosting this book review party. Its always fun to learn about more garden book gems. Your book by Rosemary Verey looks like a beautiful book to look at and one full of good info.ReplyDelete
And thank you for joining in! I love to read, and love to read about gardening, so I find the best books by others' recommendations.Delete
The very important thoughts! I learned every of gardeners might look at his own garden and find what to change in it.ReplyDelete
That's the problem with gardens - or maybe that't the fun part of gardens - they're never finished, and always need a little change now and then!Delete
I love to browse a great garden book!ReplyDelete
Me, too! Nothing better than looking at the photos and dreaming!Delete
The moment I saw the name of this book, I had a feeling I would like it. After reading your descriptions, I have written it down and put it on my wish list. I am also going to need a new bookcase, to hold all my garden books!ReplyDelete
I know that feeling! I have filled up two shelves in my husband's office, a bookcase in the back bedroom, shelves in the living room, and a drawer in my bedroom! And these are all gardening books! I am trying to find another spot to hide even more of them! :)Delete
Rosemary Verey's wonderful garden is very near to where we live. When she was alive she very kindly gave us lots of advice for our new garden in the Cotswolds. Our ground is very stoney with hardly any soil - she said "pick axe through it my dears, make a big hole and then fill it with my compost" she then invited us to her huge compost heap, and said we could take as many sacks of it as we wanted.ReplyDelete
What a wonderful story! I would have loved to have been able to talk to her about gardening. I would also love to see her garden in person. However, I can't imagine having to actually pick axe through soil! My soil is very hard, but I still don't have to use a pick axe. You must be a very dedicated gardener.Delete