Designing with Plants

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Piet Oudolf's gardens excite the senses and stir emotion with an approach to gardening that emphasizes form, texture, light, movement, and color. Designing with Plants is both inspirational and instructive-an informative and visually breathtaking study that shows readers how to create the same effects in their gardens. This paperback reprint includes four main parts. "Planting Palettes" shows the range of plant choice available in form, texture, and color. "Designing Schemes" shows how to combine these elements ...

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Overview

Piet Oudolf's gardens excite the senses and stir emotion with an approach to gardening that emphasizes form, texture, light, movement, and color. Designing with Plants is both inspirational and instructive-an informative and visually breathtaking study that shows readers how to create the same effects in their gardens. This paperback reprint includes four main parts. "Planting Palettes" shows the range of plant choice available in form, texture, and color. "Designing Schemes" shows how to combine these elements to create stunning and sculptural gardens. Through stunning photography, "Planting Moods" shows how to create a particular atmosphere. And "Year-Round Planting" emphasizes the importance of choosing plants that have value throughout the seasons.

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Editorial Reviews

Horticulture
"(Piet Outdolf's) views about which perennials look best in fall and winter, along with inspiring photographs of late-season gardens he has created, can be found in Designing with Plants, written with Noel Kingsbury."—Horticulture, September 2003
Des Moines Register

"Designing with Plants by Piet Oudolf, is worth buying or checking out just for the photos of beautiful, casual gardens."
— Stephanie Bruner

National Gardener - Maggie Oster
"Stretches your imagination to see plants not just for their flowers but also for their shape, form, color, size, and texture in all seasons."— Maggie Oster, National Gardener, October 2003
The New York Times - Anne Raver
"Piet Oudolf [has] ... an uncanny eye for plant combinations."—Anne Raver, New York Times, March 2, 2003
Des Moines Register - Stephanie Bruner
"Designing with Plants by Piet Oudolf, is worth buying or checking out just for the photos of beautiful, casual gardens."
Library Journal
A garden designer and plant breeder, Oudolf designs gardens that use perennials exclusively, eschewing the current trend toward high-maintenance mixed borders of perennials, annuals, and shrubs. He values perennials for their form and texture, emphasizing structure as the most important aspect in successful garden design. The color of flowers comes in a distant third after the form of the plant and the shape of the leaves; Oudolf's motto is "a successful plant combination relies primarily on shapes." To help gardeners follow this principle, he lists plants he has found valuable based on what he calls a "palette of shapes" and gives diagrams for planning borders based on them. While his approach is novel and thought-provoking, it reflects the context in which he works, mainly Britain and Northern Europe. But even if you do not garden in this ideal maritime climate, his ideas will be helpful, especially his advice on when to break the rules: "To be a successful gardener you need to understand the basics of how plants grow, and how they develop over time." Recommended for large public and academic libraries.--Daniel Starr, Museum of Modern Art, New York Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Booknews
Dutch garden designer and nurseryman Piet Oudolf, with No<:e>l Kingsbury, presents the concepts behind his distinctive landscapes which emphasize form, texture, light, movement, and elements of surprise as well as color. His treatment of palettes, design schemes, moods, and cycles are clearly explored through inspiring and appropriately chosen color photographs. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
The New York Times
"Piet Oudolf [has] ... an uncanny eye for plant combinations."—Anne Raver, New York Times, March 2, 2003
— Anne Raver
National Gardener
"Stretches your imagination to see plants not just for their flowers but also for their shape, form, color, size, and texture in all seasons."— Maggie Oster, National Gardener, October 2003
— Maggie Oster
From the Publisher

"Designing with Plants by Piet Oudolf, is worth buying or checking out just for the photos of beautiful, casual gardens."

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780881929539
  • Publisher: Timber Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/1/2008
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 9.40 (w) x 10.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Noel Kingsbury is a well-known designer, commentator, and writer on plants, gardens, landscape, and the environment. His doctorate in horticultural ecology from the University of Sheffield focused on the selection and management of ornamental perennials and he is still engaged in active research in this field. Noel is interested in combining natives and non-natives in ecological planting schemes and a passionate advocate for sustainable plant combinations that require minimal intervention from the gardener. He trials plants and gardens at his home on the border between England and Wales and travels widely.

Piet Oudolf is among the world’s most innovative garden designers and a leading exponent of naturalistic planting, a style that takes inspiration from nature but employs artistic skill in creating planting schemes. Oudolf's extensive work over 30 years of practice includes public and private gardens all over the world. He is best known for his work on the High Line and Battery Park in New York, the Lurie Garden in Chicago's Millennium Park, Potters Field in London, and his own private garden at Hummelo in the Netherlands.

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Read an Excerpt


Mysticism in the garden depends almost entirely on circumstances which are beyond your control, when the power of the elements combines with nature — in the early morning, in fog, or at dusk, for instance — to make you feel quite alone. You cannot plant to create mysticism, but certain plants will work best in mystical circumstances; they almost become people in your imagination, taking on human characteristics and attributes. You can imagine that they are looking at you or coming towards you.

Mysticism may be a strange word to use with regard to a garden. It is best defined as a spiritual experience where one feels at one with the whole of creation, and hence at one with the divinity itself. The thirteenth-century German Dominican Meister Eckhart is one of the best-known Christian exponents of the same philosophy, while Sufis of Islam are also familiar to many. By turning the conventional view of gardening upside down, however, it is possible to create a vision of the garden which sees nature as supreme. The concept of the sublime has illustrated that it is possible to feel in awe of the garden, and it is only one step beyond this to see the garden as a paradigm of creation, and the human role within it as a minor one. Rather than controloing and taming nature, the gardener merely orchestrates living things that have their own rythems and processes, over which he/she has litle control. The mystic wants to feel as though he is an integral part of nature, the expression of divine beauty, so the mystic's garden is somewhere very personal where it is possible to feel at one with nature — gardening as a spiritual exercise!

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