Those random little manufactured planting beds outside of Target, the grocery store, lining the pedestrian walkways in your city... Pansies, petunias,Those random little manufactured planting beds outside of Target, the grocery store, lining the pedestrian walkways in your city... Pansies, petunias, and maybe a random boxwood or juniper, right?
This book, while about plants and land use, is also about humans and society. Professional landscape designers, as well as the common gardener can take something away from this beautiful book. Yes, we want wild spaces to remain wild and untouched, but how can we bring this aesthetic, this biome into our urban spaces, suburban parking lots and business parks, and even in post-industrial/farming/rural landscapes that could be wild again?
This is a practical guide - discussing plants, heights, native species, management and maintenance, but also societal, and personal relationships with nature and habitats. My favorite chapter/section was entitled "The Inspiration of the Wild" and had detailed descriptions about three specific land archetypes, and how they play into human culture (folktales, songs, literature) and also into our livelihoods and general aesthetic. The authors look at grasslands and savannas, shrublands/marshes, and forests, discussing in detail each of these landscape archetypes. (Unfortunately, deserts were not discussed here, but many of the themes, especially of "edge" environments can apply to deserts.) The archetypes lead to technical discussion of designing these spaces and land use, which is fascinating itself, using colors, plant heights, etc. One theme that was brought up a number of times resonated with me. It's about the whole habitat - not just the individual plant. Gardeners plant things apart to cultivate them, spread apart, mulched, cleared, weeded - but nature is not orderly in this way. This book makes a case for managing a landscape rather than maintaining an individual plant/s.
The final part of the book showcases this design method in many environments- small "beds" and ponds, green spaces in urban areas, rooftop gardens that use savanna grasses or meadow plants, interior tree groves and mosses planted and managed inside buildings, etc. On a larger scale, there are also land trust sites, preserves, and arboretums also described and showcased in a larger environment with more room to design.
The spaces are designed, yes, but they recall this natural element that appeals to us and desire for the "natural". And NO pansies or petunias in sight! I'd love to see more of these natural spaces, however large or small, incorporated into landscape design around my city and suburbs!
A beautiful book, with great writing too. Recommended to anyone into plants, land use, and human / nature interaction. ...more
A comprehensive guide to the common and available heirlooms available on the market today. Each section is broken up into families (legumes, summer sqA comprehensive guide to the common and available heirlooms available on the market today. Each section is broken up into families (legumes, summer squashes, etc.) and includes 5-10 varieties of heirlooms. For each vegetable and fruit, there is seed information, tips on planting/transplanting, and harvest information. In descriptions she gives some preservation tips (drying beans, basic cooking/canning). Additional information at the end includes seed saving techniques, commercial heirloom nurseries, and a suggested bibliography.