The Authentic Garden: Five Principles for Cultivating A Sense of Place

Overview

What makes a garden authentic? For American gardeners, this question can be vexing. Because America is a comparatively young nation, it hasn't had much time to develop an indigenous garden style. Gardeners have tended to turn to other national traditions—such as Italy's, Japan's, or England's—for inspiration. The unhappy result of this piecemeal stylistic borrowing has been the creation of gardens that bear no relationship to local landscapes and history, and that have no ...

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Overview

What makes a garden authentic? For American gardeners, this question can be vexing. Because America is a comparatively young nation, it hasn't had much time to develop an indigenous garden style. Gardeners have tended to turn to other national traditions—such as Italy's, Japan's, or England's—for inspiration. The unhappy result of this piecemeal stylistic borrowing has been the creation of gardens that bear no relationship to local landscapes and history, and that have no connection with our daily lives.

Clair Sawyers shows this tendency can be reversed: how we can create gardens that are both deeply rooted in their surroundings and deeply satisfying to their creators and owners. Drawing on her knowledge of a vast array of American and foreign gardens, she identifies five principles that help instill a sense of authenticity: capture the sense of place, derive beauty from function, use humble or indigenous materials, marry the inside to the outside, and involve the visitor.

Practical and inspiring, The Authentic Garden will enable the reader to make a garden that is true to a specific time, place, and culture; to capture and reflect an authentic spirit so that the garden, in turn, will nurture the spirit of those who cherish and dwell in it.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"If you consider yourself a conscientious consumer, one who tries to tread lightly on the earth, then the ideas Claire Sawyers presents in her elegantly written book, The Authentic Garden, will resonate with you."The American Gardener

“Ms. Sawyers thinks that admirers are drawn to certain traits, moods or emotions in other cultures’ gardens. And, she adds, they don’t dissect those underlying characteristics adequately. For example, gardeners may be drawn to a Japanese lantern. But the quality to translate into a personal garden is tranquility, rather than the specific object itself.”

The Bulletin

“Sawyers shows how we can create gardens that are both deeply rooted in their surroundings and deeply satisfying to their creators and owners.” - Sierra Heritage Magazine

American Gardener
"If you consider yourself a conscientious consumer, one who tries to tread lightly on the earth, then the ideas Claire Sawyers presents in her elegantly written book, The Authentic Garden, will resonate with you."The American Gardener
Library Journal

The "authentic" gardening style of a particular country takes centuries to develop. America, being relatively young, has looked to other countries such as Japan, England, and France for inspiration. Sawyers (director, Scott Arboretum, Swarthmore Coll.) presents five principles of design for gardeners to stay true to a specific time and place. They include 1) capturing the sense of place by working with what you already have and not fighting against it, 2) deriving beauty from functional elements such as driveways, fences, mailboxes, and barbecues by using them in creative and unique ways, 3) using humble materials such as sticks, trunks, rocks, and recycled materials instead of fancy ornamental objects, 4) remembering that there are therapeutic benefits to marrying the inside to the outside through views outward to the garden, and 5) involving the visitor by using paths, stepping-stones, and plants that encourage touching and feeling. A final chapter shows gardens (both public and private) that uphold these principles. Generously illustrated with over 300 color photos, this is recommended for public, academic, and horticultural libraries.
—Phillip Oliver

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780881928310
  • Publisher: Timber Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 12/15/2007
  • Pages: 285
  • Product dimensions: 7.75 (w) x 10.77 (h) x 0.93 (d)

Meet the Author

Claire E. Sawyers has been director of the Scott Arboretum of Swarthmore College since 1990, bringing both U.S. and international perspectives to her work. She spent six years of her youth in Japan, and later returned to work with Japanese landscapers. Sawyers has worked in Belgium and France, and holds a master's in horticulture from Purdue.

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2007

    A reviewer

    As the director of the Scott Arboretum of Swarthmore College, Claire Sawyers generalized her many years of international and domestic landscape design experience and her extensive horticultural knowledge in 'The Authentic Garden: Five Principles for Cultivating A Sense of Place.' What are authentic gardens? They are 'gardens that are both deeply rooted in their surroundings and deeply satisfying to their creators and owners.' They are gardens that are 'true to a specific time, place and culture.' Claire Sawyers described five principles to create authentic gardens: capture the sense of place (or 'Genius Loci,' a popular term to landscape architecture students and designers), derive beauty from function ('form follows function'), use humble or indigenous materials (sustainable and local materials), marry the inside to the outside (treat a building and its garden as different parts of the same overall design), and involve the visitor (user participation). These are timeless, universal principles that are common to architecture, landscape architecture and urban design and planning. Claire Sawyers also used the fine works by some famous designers like Edith Roberts, Elsa Rehmann, Frank Lloyd Wright to demonstrate how these principles can be used in garden design. 'The Authentic Garden: Five Principles for Cultivating A Sense of Place' has 288 pages and many fine interior color photographs. It is a great design book for landscape architecture students and seasoned design professionals! Copyright 2007 Gang Chen, author of 'Planting Design Illustrated' Non-exclusive rights of use granted to bn.com

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2010

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