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Planting in a Post-Wild World: Designing Plant Communities for Resilient Landscapes
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Planting in a Post-Wild World: Designing Plant Communities for Resilient Landscapes

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  223 Ratings  ·  38 Reviews
“As practical as it is poetic. . . . an optimistic call to action.” —Chicago Tribune

Over time, with industrialization and urban sprawl, we have driven nature out of our neighborhoods and cities. But we can invite it back by designing landscapes that look and function more like they do in the wild: robust, diverse, and visually harmonious. Planting in a Post-Wild World by
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Kindle Edition, 270 pages
Published February 4th 2016 by Timber Press (first published October 15th 2015)
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Lauren
Nov 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ou
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Matt Kruse
Jan 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gardening
First, the cons: This book is targeted more at landscape designers than the home gardener, which is especially clear when you get to the practical considerations section. The consistent use of only scientific names for plants throughout the text also makes it more burdensome than it really needs to be (yes, common names vary, but a combo of common and scientific names would make for an easier read and give many readers touchpoints to better understand the examples).

The pros are that this is a be
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Renee
Feb 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I wish there was a *little* more actionable content, but the essays are still very interesting and don't take away from it. Kind of caters to high-level thinking on this stuff, and on design at a level for more hard-core professionals than mere hobbyists or enthusiasts (like me). Found the case-study format of the actual plans the best part of this book; showed what can be done with a kind of space and how to do it.
Jingyan
Dec 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Revolutionary concept! The book is very well written with excellent pictures and illustrations, without a single word wasted. Thank you, Thomas and Claudia, for the ground breaking work, that brings ideas and practical actionable methods to create an ecological, resilient, naturalistic, harmonious and aesthetic pleasing planting style that I have always been wishing for.
Ashlynn
Dec 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lifestyle
This book clarified my thinking about garden design while keeping one foot firmly in the ecological realm of gardening. The archetypes section was especially helpful, as well as the examination of plant behavior to determine what role they should perform in garden design.

(The only disappointment for me was that, save for maybe three mentions of pollinators, it glossed over the fact that thousands of species literally need native plants to survive. The book promoted using native plants, but for t
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Tarah
Aug 22, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting enough in concept (and pretty pictures), but unclear exactly who the audience is here. Home gardener with TONS of money and an estate, I guess? But some interesting take aways re: planting/landscaping with wilderness in mind. However: minus 10 points from Slytherin for sentences like "Imagine for a moment what it must have been like for the first European colonists arriving on the shores of America" and then waxing white-washed nostalgic for the "virgin" land "we" arrived to. Ugh.
Amy
Sep 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gardening
Outstanding. I've been struggling with how to "mass" plants without looking strange in the landscape. I want big impact and keep weeds down, drought tolerance, and native if it is appropriate for the space. This book outlines the strategy I've been struggling to figure out on my own. Designing a "plant community" in layers makes all the sense in the world to me... this book is especially for new gardeners but all gardeners can learn a lot from the methods presented here.
Jason
Nov 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
All of my intuitions and approach to horticulture and landscape design validated - loved it!
Labibliotecaria
Oct 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First of all, gorgeous! Secondly, thoughtful planning and preparation guide for sustainable landscaping. Highly recommend to novices and enthusiasts; definitely a good pick for a public library.
Carol
Mar 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
Good book. Lots to think about both in thinking about your own yard and also community spaces.
Stephanie
Jul 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book opened my mind like no other “gardening” book I’ve ever read. Landscape design is so much more than you think it is, and if you have the smallest interest in learning why then this very thoughtfully written book with perfect charts and photos and descriptions is exactly what you’re looking for. I can open the book to any random page and be instantly engrossed.. in a landscape design book. “As extreme and unnatural as urban conditions may seem, there is likely a native plant community i ...more
Jess
Sep 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book eloquently picks up on a number of trends in landscape design that have been gaining steam over the past few years, directed towards more resilient and enduring place-making. I appreciate the authors’ open framework which takes a more wholistic and creative approach to planting design and breaks free from the puritanical exclusively native camp instead foregrounding community and system thinking.

I’d be interested in an exploration of additional archtypes, while grasslands, woodlands a
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Theresa
This book takes a look at landscaping as an art form with a focus on sustainability. It emphasizes planting the community and not each individual plant. While I agree with most of the concepts in this book, I can't agree that aggressive exotics fit into their overall concept. The authors do suggest using native plants in many instances, but more from an aesthetic point of view. I think it would enhance their ideas to describe why natives are important, not leave it at how pretty they are in the ...more
Carmine
I don't entirely agree with the author's premises as I am much more of a purist when it comes to planting natives, but there were some valuable concepts in here, such as planting to reflect real natural habitats, creating landscape layers all the way to the ground. Plus "how to" info on ratio of structural layer plants to middle and ground layers, and how to go about preparing the site and installing. I think the text is more geared to landscapers than home gardeners such as I, but still valuabl ...more
Julia
Sep 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book explains how to embrace, rather than constantly battle, landscape elements that are typically thought of as challenges, such as clay soils, acidic/alkaline soils, and shade. By working with the conditions that you have, you can create a durable, beautiful landscape that feels uniquely-authentic and provides actual ecological benefits.

It also made me realize how prevalent bare ground (aka wasted space, aka weed sanctuary) and far-spaced plantings are in our designed landscapes...

4.5 Sta
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Katie
Jul 27, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This had a lot of information and plenty of beautiful pictures. My biggest issue was that they nearly always (but not consistently) reference plants by their scientific names. I understand why, but unfortunately it makes the book a little less accessible to the lay reader like myself who only knows a handful of scientific names. It definitely slowed down my reading and made it harder to connect with the specific plants that were mentioned. I don't think it would have been hard to use both common ...more
romney
Oct 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a pretty technical book, targeted at the professional gardener. That said, it contains a lot of information about design, planting and maintenance of semi-wild spaces. If you're wondering why your prairie meadow looks bad or seems to require a lot of maintenance even though you're doing exactly what other people told you to do, this book will tell you how to fix it but perhaps not in the way you expect. Be prepared to have your assumptions about natural landscapes challenged.
Susan Beecher
Oct 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the very best books I have read on landscape design. I learned so much. They direct us to start with a landscape type that we want: forest, woodland (or what others might call savannah), grassland, etc. Not really a book for the total amateur more for landscape architects but as I said I learned more from ths book than from the many I already have.
Mark Hartzer
Jul 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is really for landscape designers moreso that the average homeowner. Nevertheless, some ideas are really good. As someone who has bought dozens of cubic yards of mulch over the years, I really like their idea of "green mulch", or having layers of plants covering the ground instead of mulch.

Really nice photos too.
Melissa
Jun 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
While definitely geared for landscape designers and professionals, the theory presented in this book really helped me understand a lot about planning and developing plant communities that work for different situations. I learned a ton and am so glad I picked it up.
Anne
Jun 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Timely

This book has gotten me back into the dirt. I'd recommend it to all my friends, but I think most of them are here already. Still, this is beautifully written and illustrated, and gives a great overview. Will I see a changed aesthetic in my lifetime? I really think I might.
Jennifer Johnson
Dec 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Most up-to-date advice for ecological plantings

I’ve read most of the gardening books to come out in the last couple of years. This has by far the best advice.
Suzanne
Aug 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reference
Beautiful photos and layouts about building resilient landscapes instead of forcing gardens.
Emily Bragg
Apr 13, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: kindle, plants
informative but ultra-dry
Patti
Excellent reference book for folks interested in sustainable landscape development. I wish it was a requirement for gardening clubs and landscape management companies and everyone who is concerned with the clear cutting for new housing developments that are rampant in my area. Now in the spring of 2018, as I drive through areas that were open land two years ago that are being built on I am distressed by all the developers who have little regard for native and invasive plants.
Grady McCallie
Feb 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lovely pictures, clear graphics, and a fairly narrow rubric for landscape design presented in a much grander frame. Stripped down, that rubric is: decide whether the site you're dealing with is belongs to the grassland, shrubland, or forest archetype; within the appropriate template, plant architectural elements, groundcovers to hold the soil, and seasonal plants to add color and flair; and don't necessarily get stuck on natives, but use plants that belong together in a habitat and evolutionary ...more
Arlene S
Very well-written and also persuasive regarding the thesis that "nature . . . can flourish in our cities and suburbs, but it needs our help." Also takes into consideration "the reality of today's environmental challenges". The feel is like a basic course on landscape design focused on practicality, complete with useable tips and lovely photographs. This approach met my expectations and purpose for reading. Coherent introduction outlines the author's five "essential principles" for a designed pla ...more
Scourgebrew
Mar 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I greatly appreciate the authors pointing out that you cannot just transpose a wild garden into a n urban area and expect it to look great. Many native gardens end up looking like an ugly jungle when you do that. To that extent the book goes to great extent on how to create a native garden that is both functional and looks great a well.
I would have however, appreciated the common names of plants and some practical, urban garden scale template examples as well.
Stephen
Nov 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The book really helped me concretize loosely tied ideas I have had about gardening and provide framework for the different layers for a newbie hobby gardener.

The book came out at a particularly good time for me since I recently read Doug Tallmy's books and heard him speak. This book helps pull the theory, values and science behind his work to the practical.

I expect I will refer back to the book over time as I dive in and create gardens.

Thank you.

Nick Woodall
A very interesting book, premised on the idea that there is not much wild land left. That's why i related it a 4. They need to travel more. Even though we have big cities, there is so much wild land left in the US that it is untamed, unvisited, and un-cultivated. That being said, I liked the design elements of this book and their ideas on layering. Very helpful to me personally, since that is what I'm trying to accomplish on my eight acres.
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