Dream Plants for the Natural Garden

Overview


In this book, pioneering garden designers Henk Gerritsen and Piet Oudolf describe their special choice of ideal plants – perennials, bulbs, grasses, ferns and small shrubs. An ideal plant is one that is both beautiful and robust, performing reliably with very little input from the gardener. Complete growing information is provided for each plant along with advice on how to use it to best effect.

Gerritsen and Oudolf have a genuinely innovative approach to gardening. Rather than...

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Overview


In this book, pioneering garden designers Henk Gerritsen and Piet Oudolf describe their special choice of ideal plants – perennials, bulbs, grasses, ferns and small shrubs. An ideal plant is one that is both beautiful and robust, performing reliably with very little input from the gardener. Complete growing information is provided for each plant along with advice on how to use it to best effect.

Gerritsen and Oudolf have a genuinely innovative approach to gardening. Rather than striving for big, bold masses of colourful blooms that are vigorously pruned back as soon as they have finished flowering, the authors choose plants chiefly for their form - leaves, flower heads and stems included - which means they retain their natural beauty through all the seasons.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Gerritsen and Oudolf loosely define a "natural garden" as one that contains plants that need minimal maintenance, attract wildlife, and have a "natural appearance." More than 1000 such plants are covered in this encyclopedic guide. Because the authors are garden designers practicing in Northern Europe, the plants featured are mostly suitable to cold-winter, temperate climates with summer rainfall. For other regions, many of the plants covered are unsuitable horticulturally (requiring lots of care) and environmentally (extremely invasive and ecologically destructive). Moreover, the authors support the cautious use of invasive plants, so long as gardeners are vigilantly prepared to control their growth. This advice is clearly unsound, especially considering that plants with invasive characteristics can be serious threats to local habitats. For readers interested in natural gardening, a much more regionally and environmentally appropriate resource is Natural Gardening, edited by John Kadel Boring (Time-Life, 1999). This book is not recommended. Brian Lym, City Coll. of San Francisco Lib. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Booknews
The impassioned writers, famous for their stunning landscape designs in The Netherlands and beyond, argue for the use of low-maintenance, architecturally strong plants in creating and sustaining natural- looking and easily tended gardens. Some 1,200 such naturalistic plants are described, many accompanied by evocative color photographs. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Bloomsbury Review
"An excellent source for gardeners who want to start a natural–looking garden, as well as a valuable reference on many of the low–maintenance plants now available."—Lori D. Kranz, Bloomsbury Review, May 2001
— Lori D. Kranz
Fine Gardening
"I loved this book. It's smart, incredibly informative, well and engagingly written, and the photos are excellent."—Vincent Lawrence, Fine Gardening, January/February 2002
— Vincent Lawrence
Oregonian
"When many people were discovering the English cottage garden, Dutch garden designer/author Piet Oudolf was hybridizing wildflowers and North American prairie plants to make them behave just enough for the garden bed-but still look as if they came out of the wild."—Sally Ruth Bourrie, Oregonian, August 23, 2001
— Sally Ruth Bourrie
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780711217379
  • Publisher: Lincoln, Frances Limited
  • Publication date: 7/26/2011
  • Pages: 144
  • Product dimensions: 9.40 (w) x 10.70 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Distinguished garden designer Henk Gerritsen was born in Utrecht in the Netherlands. He trained as an artist and made his living as a painter before turning to garden design. He now writes regularly for gardening magazines in Holland, Germany and the US, and has had several books published. His best-known garden design project in the UK is the reconstruction of the Waltham Place gardens in Berkshire. He also started the Priona Gardens in Schuinesloot in the Netherlands with his friend Anton Schlepers. Henk's gardening philosophy is to respect the full cycle of life in a garden, allowing wild and cultivated plants to grow side by side in natural-looking environments; rather than battling disease and decay, 'troublesome' weeds and 'pests', he prefers to compromise, considering them an essential part of the beauty of the garden. He never uses chemical fertilizers or pesticides.Distinguished garden designer Henk Gerritsen was born in Utrecht in the Netherlands. He trained as an artist and made his living as a painter before turning to garden design. He now writes regularly for gardening magazines in Holland, Germany and the US, and has had several books published. His best-known garden design project in the UK is the reconstruction of the Waltham Place gardens in Berkshire. He also started the Priona Gardens in Schuinesloot in the Netherlands with his friend Anton Schlepers. Henk's gardening philosophy is to respect the full cycle of life in a garden, allowing wild and cultivated plants to grow side by side in natural-looking environments; rather than battling disease and decay, 'troublesome' weeds and 'pests', he prefers to compromise, considering them an essential part of the beauty of the garden. He never uses chemical fertilizers or pesticides.
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Read an Excerpt


Winter is perhaps the best time of year for the gardener: the peace! You don't have to do anything, you don't have to think about anything and you don't have to worry about anything. You can just sit next to the fire reading gardening books and dreaming about how wonderful the garden will be next summer. Naturally, you will have to ensure that the garden has been prepared for winter: that is to say readied for winter without having cut back one plant or raked one leaf. Silhouettes of Eupatorium, Aster umbellatus, Veronicastrum virginicum and the beautiful black spherical seed heads left by the monardas which even in the depths of winter smell like Earl Grey tea. Grasses, of course, especially Miscanthus with its amazing silver plumes, and a lot of Calamagrostis x acutiflora 'Karl Foerster' against the backdrop of a neatly clipped hedge or just against the chill winter wind: it is always sad when you have to cut it back again in spring. And in front, close to the house so you can see them from your armchair, the strong, fleshy shoots of hellebores, working their way through the fallen leaves and remains of last summer's border intones of apple green, darkest purple, white and pale pink, exactly as you would see them in nature, in the Balkans. And, naturally, a specimen of Viburnum x bodnantense 'Dawn' next to the door so you can experience the delicious scent of its flowers every time you go in and out. A garden lovely enough to lift the spirits even on the most sombre and overcast days of winter. And when it has frozen and frost lies everywhere, or when it has snowed, it is so beautiful that you can sit, next to your cat, and stare outside for hours with your nose pressed against the window pane admiring the ghostly forms.
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