Sunday, June 12, 2011

Dream Gardens Across America - Book Review

I have never been a fan of coffee table gardening books.  Better Home and Gardens: Dream Gardens across America has its place first because it is a soft covered.  This shows a concern for the purchaser's pocket book.  Secondly the money has been put into the colour photography.  After all it is not the role of a coffee table book to be beautiful?
 The photography shows excellent examples of the use of plant material.  Most gardeners just put in whatever strikes their fancy or what is trendy that year.  The photography also shows the use of colour, repetition  and most important enhancing the view.  I find a mish mash of colour and plants annoying and disturbing.  There are examples in this book on pages 26-30.
Just as a photographer frames his picture, a garden must frame a view in the garden, a good example is the photograph on page 49 and their good example of colour usage, contrast of texture and frame a view or a feature is the picture on page 51.  You are being invited into this cottage by the potted plants.  The section called "Going All Out" I find touches the heart.
The section "Simple Geometry" is important to show contrast in soft and hard lines.  One of my teachers used to say that geometric gardens are for accountants and people who cannot colour outside the lines.  The photograph on pages 112 and 113 is a very good example of a geometric garden. Although I have a strong objection to showing the invasive weed Variegated Gout Weed that novice gardeners may use incorrectly.  Is there a correct way to use this plant? 
The sections "Pushing the Limits" and "Backyard Retreats" when combined are my personal gardening  style, so no one but family enters my personal paradise.
The "Cottage Garden" section shows their beauty but not their intense planning, planting, and occasionally a roughing out or two or three.
This book will inspire you and help you determine your gardening style.

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