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Sunday, June 3, 2007

5 Books I Love about Gardens

So each Sunday I am planning on posting a group of 5 books about a particular subject. As anyone who reads this Blog regularly knows, I am passionate about books (I have a collection of about 2000 design books) and I firmly believe that they are a necessary resource for anyone serious about design. While I think magazines are great, they do not give an in depth analysis that a book offers. Today's list is about gardens. You will notice that when it comes to gardens, I am a bit of a traditionalist and also a bit California-centric, but I hope that you enjoy the list, and that I have piqued your interest.

This book by Winnifred Dobyns, was originally published more than 50 years ago, but it has become one of the touchstones for anyone interested in the great gardens that were constructed in Southern California in the last century. But this reprint is much more than a historical book, it can provide some great inspiration for anyone looking to create an old world garden that captures some of the qualities of the classic European gardens.

2.

Almost any book by David Hicks is worthy of making almost any list of great design books (in fact I think one of my future lists will be my favorite David Hicks books). I particularly enjoy this book, as Mr. Hicks gives you access into some of the greatest and eccentric gardens in the world. It is beautifully shot and with insightful descriptions, this book is one of the most used in my collection.

3.

No list on gardens would be complete without a book by the legendary English Garden designer, Gertrude Jekyll. She is known for her books on designing classic English Gardens and borders. Her theories on layering color and texture in gardens, have influenced generations of garden designers, no matter of the style that they work on. This book on Arts and Crafts Gardens is a more accessible volume about creating a thematic garden. California has a great Arts and Crafts tradition, so this book has been particularly helpful to me, and would make a great addition for anyone who wants to create a loose cottage style garden.

4.

I included this book for people who enjoy gardens, but do not "garden". For those of us who prefer to sit on the porch and enjoy the garden, rather than dig in the soil, and actually garden, this is the book for you. It is a great story written by a couple as they construct a garden at their new home. Follow the ups and downs as they try different plantings, and follow them to the their ultimate success. It's a perfect gift for your gardening friends too (couple it with some cool gardening gloves and some great bulbs and it makes the ideal gift).
5.

For all of you that think a garden is all floral borders and gravel paths, this is a terrific book. Written by Pamela Burton (a more than accomplished Los Angeles Landscape Designer in her own right) this book looks at contemporary gardens of Southern California. Los Angeles in particular has a great collection of mid-century modern houses, and to see how these are complemented by imaginative landscape is very interesting to see. I think that Pamela's descriptions provide both insight and a historical perspective that really bring these gardens alive.

So that is my list for this week, I hope you enjoy the collection!

1 comment:

Cote de Texas said...

Gosh - someone with more design books than me! Don't you hate going to the bookstore and finding you have every single one (well, every one that you WANT!)??? I love being surprised by a new book that I hadn't heard buzz about. The David Hicks garden book is a favorite of mine too. I love how he takes shots of his garden from within the home - that's unique, although Prince Charles' book of his gardens has shots like that also. Must be a veddy English thing to do. Loving your blog, as you can tell.