The Perennial Gardener's Design Primer

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Put Perennials in Their Place!

Stephanie Cohen and Nancy Ondra are both thoroughly obsessed with everything about gardens and gardening -- with digging, planting ,designing, and creating great canvases of living color and texture. In this book they generously share both their passion and their knowledge about garden design. Their encouraging words, based on practical experience and the belief that there is more than one right way to createa garden, boost confidence and promote ...

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The Perennial Gardener's Design Primer

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Overview

Put Perennials in Their Place!

Stephanie Cohen and Nancy Ondra are both thoroughly obsessed with everything about gardens and gardening -- with digging, planting ,designing, and creating great canvases of living color and texture. In this book they generously share both their passion and their knowledge about garden design. Their encouraging words, based on practical experience and the belief that there is more than one right way to createa garden, boost confidence and promote experimentation. After all, Stephanie builds her garden combinations around harmonious colors and contrasting flower forms, whereas Nan's love for colorful foliage leads her to feature dramatically contrasting leaf colors and textures. Along with design basics, they present 20 garden plans, as well as the before-and-after stories of gardens they've created for themselves and their families.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Garden design is less rule-bound than it once was, but many novices approach it with trepidation. By bringing a refreshingly relaxed attitude to a well-worn topic, Cohen and Ondra give it friendly appeal. Both are professional designers and private enthusiasts who believe "you don't really know a plant until you've killed it." Readers who follow their ample, practical advice are much more likely to create beautiful gardens than to kill many plants, and even experienced gardeners will pick up some tips. First, the authors "demystify" perennial design, explaining how to approach a project, choose plants, plan the design and add details for extra appeal. They then explain how to "put perennials to work," focusing on specific designs and including handsome color sketches, schematic plans and lush photographs. Each of their designs accomplishes a goal-solving a problem with site conditions (e.g., excessive shade or sun), achieving a desired color effect, maximizing seasonal impact-and comes with a detailed list of recommended plants and alternate selections. Finally, in the "From Theory to Practice" section, they document the two-year histories of a new border, a major expansion and a garden renovation. The conversational text and photographs comparing early plantings with second-year results are great confidence builders for neophytes. Helpful appendixes include a zone map, a comprehensive plant list in an easy-to-use chart format and a reading list. (Jan.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
What sets this book apart from similar titles is its pure popular appeal, all but guaranteed by its chatty style, profuse illustrations, and enthusiastic emphasis on the practical. Cohen and Ondra-both highly accomplished garden writers, teachers, and practitioners-divide the text into three sections. Part 1 deals with design principles like color, form, scale, and texture, while Part 2 tackles problems originating with site conditions and contains detailed plans and pictures for 20 different theme gardens. Part 3 is for "reality gardening," in which the authors document three of their own projects, along with their hopes, worries, and disappointments. The authors' goal of instilling readers with "the confidence to experiment and explore" will be, no doubt, fully realized by any patron who checks out this book. From its hot pink cover to its bright yellow back flap, it is nothing if not exciting. Although indexes were not seen, one hopes that a common plant name index will be included. Another quibble: plant lists contain little for extreme growing zones. Still, warmly recommended for most gardening collections.-Robert Eagan, Windsor P.L., Ont. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781580175456
  • Publisher: Storey Books
  • Publication date: 2/15/2005
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 8.54 (w) x 11.18 (h) x 0.98 (d)

Meet the Author

Nancy J. Ondra is a garden writer and editor who owned and operated a small rare-plant nursery for six years. She is the author or co-author of a dozen gardening books, including Foliage (winner of the 2008 Book Award from the American Horticultural Society), The Perennial Gardener’s Design Primer (winner of a 2006 Silver Award from the Garden Writers Association), The Perennial Care Manual, Fallscaping, and Grasses. She currently gardens in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and blogs at www.hayefield.com.

Stephanie Cohen has received awards from the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society and Perennial Plant Association, and in 2000 she was named Garden Commentator of the Year by the American Nursery and Landscape Association. She lives in Collegeville, Pennsylvania.

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Table of Contents

Part One: Perennial Design Demystified

1 Getting Started

2 Selecting Your Perennials

3 Exploring Perennial Partners

4 From Dream to Reality

5 It's All in the Details

Part Two: Putting Perennials to Work

6 Problem-Solving with Perennials

7 Creative Color Effects

8 A Year of Perennials

9 Gardens for Special Effects

Part Three: From Theory to Practice

10 Building a Border from Scratch

11 Expanding an Existing Garden

12 Reworking an Old Garden

Appendix: USDA Hardiness Zone Map, Planning Chart, Recommended Reading, Please Don't Eat the Delphiniums!, Acknowledgments, Photo and Garden Design Credits

Index

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2005

    I saw, liked what I saw, bought and love it even more.

    I am a library person so I've checked out a lot of garden design and gardening books and didn't plan on buying one when I when in to Barnes & Noble. I was just browsing. Many books I've seen in libraries seem like they have too basic information, or the garden scales are overwhelming or the plans are ugly. This book is perfect. The aesthetic taste of the designs are naturalistic without looking messy, with a wide array of specimens used. It reads nicely and the garden photographs are great. Between the photos, sketches, and plant lists, you can actually get a great sense of what is being done in these gardens. There are great examples for all the different conditions a garden may be. It's very inspiring. I am definitely planning on stealing some planting designs to get good height, color and texture differences. And I went in looking for a wildflower field guide (which I also bought).

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2005

    What every gardener needs

    Very helpful.Not dry and dusty, but a fun read. Good solid information presented in a witty style. Gives gardeners permission to try new things and not feel guilty about making mistakes, a great reference for design.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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