From the Publisher
"for both beginner and experienced gardeners who are looking for a fantastic resource!" - A BOOKISH AFFAIR
"Two advocates of the naturalistic planting movement, Dutch garden designers Piet Oudolf and Henk Gerritsen (now deceased) have carefully selected reliable plants for schemes that imitate the beauty and bounty of nature. Having created some of the most imaginative gardens in the world, the authors are recognized authorities in this style." - CHICAGO BOTANIC GARDEN, Current Books on Gardening and Botany
"Lovely photos...to help with identification. Another wonderful reference book..." - GARDEN DESIGN ONLINE
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.
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)
"I loved this book. It's smart, incredibly informative, well and engagingly written, and the photos are excellent."
"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
"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
Fine Gardening - Vincent Lawrence
"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
Oregonian - Sally Ruth Bourrie
"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
Bloomsbury Review - Lori D. Kranz
"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
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.