The Perennial Gardener's Design Primer

The Perennial Gardener's Design Primer

by Stephanie Cohen, Nancy J. Ondra


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The Perennial Gardener's Design Primer by Stephanie Cohen, Nancy J. Ondra

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781580175432
Publisher: Storey Books
Publication date: 02/15/2005
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 565,881
Product dimensions: 8.50(w) x 10.88(h) x 0.74(d)

About the Author

Stephanie Cohen, “The Perennial Diva,” has received awards from the Philadelphia Horticulture Society, was elected a fellow of the Garden Writer’s of America, and was named a Garden Communicator of the Year by American Nursery and Landscape Association. Cohen founded the aboredum at Temple University and served as the director for five years. She has written for Country Living Gardener, Blooms of Bressingham Perennial Program, American Beauties Program, The Pennsylvania Horticultural Magazine, Organic Gardening, Fine Gardening, and Green Profit

Nancy J. Ondra, author of Container Theme Gardens, is a garden writer and editor as well as the former owner and operator of a small rare-plant nursery. 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), Five-Plant Gardens, The Perennial Care Manual, Fallscaping, and Grasses. She currently gardens in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and blogs at

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


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Perennial Gardener's Design Primer 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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).
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.