From Publishers Weekly
A revolutionary pioneer of the naturalistic New American Garden style, van Sweden (Architecture in the Garden) explains how gardeners can glean inspiration and borrow effective techniques from the arts. Whether the muse is painting or jazz, mystery novels or modern dance, van Sweden offers practical advice on how thoughtful examination can help the amateur gardener understand and control color, line, volume, light, and movement in the garden. He encourages the gardener to think in terms of composition, orchestration, rhythm, and pattern, and shows how these are employed successfully in his own award-winning gardens. One need not be a connoisseur to benefit from this advice. Less important than whether one has cultivated taste is whether one can understand why one's preferences are personally appealing. Van Sweden offers straightforward advice for translating that idiosyncratic understanding into an assured garden design. Particularly illuminating are his conversations with artists, including painter Robert Dash and cellist Yo-Yo Ma, about how their artistic visions find expression in their private gardens. Like the author's classic Bold Romantic Gardens, this is a refreshing, innovative source of inspiration. 98 photos. (Feb.)
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The nexus between lasting art and landscape architecture is not as amorphous as one might think. Whether it’s the music found in the rustling of ornamental grasses or the rhythm in the way colors repeat across a mixed border, the same principles that inform each artistic genre can, and should, according to van Sweden, be applied to the equally creative art of garden design. One of the founders of the contemporary style known as the “New American Garden,” van Sweden brings his own passion for art in all forms to bear when contemplating new commissions, and encourages homeowners searching for fresh ideas to look no further than their local art gallery or CD collection for similar inspiration. As he illustrates the way sculptor Henry Moore’s negative use of space can be translated to the shaping of garden beds or how artist Georgia O’Keeffe’s majestic use of color can influence the selection of perennials, van Sweden imparts a distinctive approach to garden design in this impassioned and insightful examination. --Carol Haggas