Gardening with Foliage Plants

Overview

There is more to a plant than just its flowers, as we learn in this delightful illustrated book showing how to use leaves, bark, berries, and stems to enhance a garden.

Colored stems, beautiful bark, striking leaf shapes, and vibrant foliage are just some of the characteristics that continue to adorn a garden before and after its flowering season. Here, Ethne Clarke's fresh ideas and Clive Nichols's stunning, specially commissioned photographs ...

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Overview

There is more to a plant than just its flowers, as we learn in this delightful illustrated book showing how to use leaves, bark, berries, and stems to enhance a garden.

Colored stems, beautiful bark, striking leaf shapes, and vibrant foliage are just some of the characteristics that continue to adorn a garden before and after its flowering season. Here, Ethne Clarke's fresh ideas and Clive Nichols's stunning, specially commissioned photographs combine to produce an innovative book that will be an inspiration to all gardeners.

Gardening with Foliage Plants encourages individuals to look beyond the transient flowering potential of plants and to experiment with leaf shape, plant form, and shades of green both as the backdrop to a garden's floral composition and as the focal point of its design. Natural landscapes with their long-established habitats provide a source of inspiration to the author and she suggests how relaxed harmonies to be found beyond the garden wall can be reinterpreted to work within the cultivated area. Close analysis of plants with unique and striking characteristics-spiky flower bracts, a graceful arching shape, or enormous paddles for leaves-leads to an understanding of how the plants can be used to best effect in the garden. Detailed planting plans and beautiful illustrations show how to use plans in gardens of all sizes, while simple line drawings portray shape, texture, and form. In addition, there is a comprehensive, illustrated plant directory where species are grouped by foliage type and by color and horticultural requirement.

Combining sumptuous photographs with informative and unique suggestions, this book opens up a whole new world in whichflowers become a passing show in contrast to foliage plants-the garden's star players.

Other Details: 325 full-color illustrations 168 pages 9 1/2 x 9 1/2" Published 1999

and find as much inspiration in them as I have. I hope, too, that we will succeed in firing your passion for leaf, bark, and berry.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Clarke suggests that gardeners concentrate on the contrasts of plant forms, leaf shapes and textures to solve the problems of shade gardening. In engaging, practical prose, enhanced by 325 photos by Clive Nichols, Clarke (English Country Gardens) leads readers through the principles of design with the main focus on form, encouraging an assessment of the environment and its landscaping needs before beginning to select compatible plants. A lesson on leaf forms precedes a discussion on combining textures and shade and coloring variations. While many of the examples illustrating design possibilities consider expansive stretches of landscape, Clarke also delineates the important contributions made by foliage and its distinct properties to smaller spaces, including containers. The plant directory is arranged by color, e.g., "Yellow, Orange, Red & Purple" and "Blue-Green." The short concluding chapter, "Bark, Stem & Berry" discusses plants with such notable features as the dogwood, Cornus alba, on which the bark of young stems is a brilliant crimson. Plants are also listed by site specifications. While Clarke concentrates on gardening in the English climate, readers will have little trouble adapting her comments to their own zones. (Apr.)
Library Journal
Emphasizing leaf shapes, plant forms, and varieties of color for garden harmony and design concepts, veteran garden author Clarke advises readers how to use foliage plants in designing a garden. In addition, he describes how to integrate specific gardens such as a bog or courtyard garden in terms of color and design and provides basic propagation information for the plants to be used in each area. Of particular merit is a directory that lists plants by color, reflecting the range of shape, texture, and color and varieties in leaf, bark, and berry. The photography of leading garden photographer Nichols is excellent. A basic book providing solid information; highly recommended for all gardening collections.Daniel Kalk, Enfield, Ct.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780896601093
  • Publisher: Abbeville Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/28/1999
  • Pages: 168
  • Product dimensions: 9.78 (w) x 11.29 (h) x 0.83 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Foreword

Foliage was not my first interest when I began gardening, I must admit. Flower color was all and everything to me. I spent hours plotting Jekyllian schemes that rarely made the transition from drawing pad to garden border, mostly because I would rather acquire one special plant than a dozen of a certain color. I soon got tired of shouldering the responsibility of trying to orchestrate year-round color though--something was always out of tune.

It was the Stream Garden at Hidcote in England that opened my eyes. It is the lowest point in the topography of that splendid garden and the water in the little rivulet is completely obscured by an enormous range of equally enormous leaves. The contrasts of forms, leaf shapes, and textures in this group of moisture-loving plants held my attention as no flower border had ever done. The backdrop was formed from the tight clipped hedges that characterize the garden layout at Hidcote, and the whole composition was suddenly revealed to me in layers of various shades of green, from cool silver to dark purples, browns, and reds.

Beth Chatto's Gold Medal-winning displays at London's Chelsea Flower Show in 1987 were another turning point. Chatto suits the plant to the site rather than trying to adjust the site to accommodate the plant, and she advocates immaculate preparation of the soil. Her compositions are as carefully thought out as any painter's two-dimensional work, achieving an entirely natural effect. This is best studied in her garden at Elmstead Market in Essex, England, and I soon beat a path to her gate determined to apply her techniques to my newly-acquired empty field in central Norfolk, England. If you can't visit theChatto garden, then I highly recommend her book, The Green Tapestry.

Pippa Rakusen, too, and her treasure-filled garden Lyng Beeches near Leeds, England, taught me much about the beauty of woodland gardening; she was as generous with her knowledge as with cuttings, plants, and seed, convinced that I would learn from her and give the plants a good home. Her book Foliage and Form Throughout the Year was my first primer on the subject, and copies can be obtained by mail from the Northern Horticultural Society at Harlow Carr, Harrogate, England; the gardens are also worth a visit.

A visit to East Central Texas took me to Peckerwood Gardens where John Fairey relies on the blue-gray shades of fleshy-leaved succulents and sculptural agaves to visually cool the view of the garden from the house. Dusk fell before he and Carl Schoenfeld had shown me the whole garden collection and the neighboring Yucca Do nursery, so we finished by moonlight under which the exotic plants took on an additional layer of glamour as they were reduced entirely to form and texture.

It was while working with Clive Nichols on my book about herb garden design that he and I decided to do a book that would present our enthusiasm for the brilliant design potential of leaves, bark, and berries. We have both spent many years looking at plants and gardens, and increasingly it was the way that foliage was used as the backbone of the garden that caused us the most excitement. We have tried to include as many of the fine leaved plants as we have enjoyed in our journeys through many different types of gardens. Whether driven by the "eco-habitat" gardens at the cutting edge of modern design or the more traditionally inspired formal gardens, all the gardeners mentioned in this book share an interest in growing foliage plants well in the situations that will suit them best. We are indebted to them for sharing their knowledge and gardens with us.

Nevertheless, I am sure many of your favorite foliage plants may be missing, or that some of my favorites wouldn't be looked at twice by someone else. Thankfully, the world--particularly the garden world--is full of different opinions, which is what makes gardening a lively topic of discussion and garden-visiting a major recreational sport. I hope you will take pleasure in the beautiful gardens and plant groupings shown here and find as much inspiration in them as I have. I hope, too, that we will succeed in firing your passion for leaf, bark, and berry.

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Table of Contents

Foreword

In a Green Garden: Shelters, backgrounds, and screens; Hedges; Seeing green; Specimen trees; Shrubs; Perennials and ephemerals; Suiting the situation; Leaf form, texture, and color; Foliage and planting design; Color; Design alternatives

The Gardens: A winter garden; A late summer border; Edible landscaping; A container garden; A hosta border; A bog garden; A woodland edge garden; A dry sunny garden; A late season shrub garden; A courtyard garden

Propagation

The Plant Directory: Yellow, orange, red, & purple; Green; Gray-green; Blue-green; Yellow-variegated; White-variegated; Autumn color; Bark, stem, & berry

Plant Site List: Where to see and study foliage plants

Index

Further Reading

Author Biography: Ethne Clarke is an established gardening writer with a worldwide reputation. She is the author of the best-selling books Herb Garden Design and English Country Gardens and the award-winning Art of the Kitchen Garden. She is a regular contributor to gardening journals and magazines. Born in America, Clarke now lives in England, where she has created a one-and-a-half-acre garden from an empty field, incorporating many of the trees, shrubs, and perennials described in this book.

Clive Nichols is a leading garden photographer. He is the author of the award-winning Photographing Plants and Gardens, and his work regularly appears in leading gardening publications.

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