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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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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.
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.
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
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
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.