January is the month to leaf through seed catalogues and imagine springtime and what your garden will be like. Whether you are looking for plants that will thrive in the tropical conditions of Miami or potted plants that are perfect for confined spaces in an urban environment, House Beautiful Gardens is filled with individual gardens that are the perfect mix of personal style and conditions.
Filled with 200 exquisite photos depicting lavish gardens, the book shows how a gardener's vision was transformed into an actual showpiece. The first part examines various estate gardens, while the second deconstructs parts of the garden, to help you bring some of these elements into your garden.
For instance, dealing with the walls and hedges, or the skeletons, as House Beautiful Gardens refers to it, must be considered right from the onset, as those endure long after the last sunflower has keeled over. Walls and hedges protect your home against harsh winds. They define the boundaries of a garden and introduce space. And they allow for you to have some privacy in your own home. Examples in this book include pictures of a dry stone wall around a small Atlanta garden, an old brick wall off the side of an 18th-century Connecticut home that divided it from the garden, and a variegated hornbeam in a Paris garden.
Besides dealing with the practical, House Beautiful Gardens will help you incorporate other unique features into your outdoor space. Water is something that many gardeners love because it expands the feeling of space and introducesmovementand sound. It is expensive if you are building a dry waterfall or a pond but not if you are willing to include a lovely fountain. The book also warns against garden pools because they are hard work and tend to be messy. And there is advice on putting to use water that already exists on your property and the free-falling water that comes from the heavens, also known as rain.
The last part of the book explores the relationship between the house and the garden. Using a home that sits on the French Riviera; a Bucks County, Pennsylvania, farmhouse; a Los Angeles Spanish Colonial Revival house; and other examples, this section shows the ways a garden can enhance a home, taking into account the home's size, style, and area.
Whether you need an inspirational push to grow some daffodils and tulips or are looking to do something ornate with your garden, House Beautiful Gardens offers sound examples of lush, vibrant outdoor spaces that will help you think spring even on the snowiest winter days.