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The Inward Garden: Creating a Place of Beauty and Meaning Hardcover – April 2, 2007


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The Inward Garden: Creating a Place of Beauty and Meaning + Home Outside: Creating the Landscape You Love + Landscaping Ideas that Work (Taunton's Ideas That Work)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Bunker Hill Publishing Inc; 2 edition (April 2, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593730594
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593730598
  • Product Dimensions: 10.4 x 0.9 x 10.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #612,413 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Julie Moir Messervy is an award-winning author of four books including The Magic Land, Contemplative Gardens, and Outside the Not So Big House. Among her notable works, Messervy collaborated with Yo-Yo Ma and the City of Toronto to design a three-acre Music Garden at the Toronto Harbourfront based on a suite by J.S. Bach. Messervy is the 2006 recipient of the Association for Professional Landscape Designer's Award of Distinction. She lives in Saxtons River, Vermont (www.JulieMoirMesservy.com)

Sam Abell is a contributing photographer-in-residence for National Geographic. Among his prodigious published photographic output of cultural and wilderness subjects, his books include Sam Abell: The Photographic Life and Julie Moir Messervy's Contemplative Gardens.

More About the Author

With over three decades of experience, eight books, and numerous high-profile lectures, Julie Moir Messervy is an innovative leader in landscape and garden design theory and practice.

Her most recent book, Landscaping Ideas That Work (Taunton Press, January 2014), is her most practical book yet, offering a host of visual ideas as well as design tips, before and after images, case studies, and essential information for homeowners.

Julie and her award-winning studio, JMMDS, offer full-service landscape architecture and design for residences and organizations, as well as an online landscape design service. For information about the Home Outside® online service, visit www.homeoutsidedesign.com.

With the online design service and Home Outside Palette landscape design app (available in the iTunes and Google Play stores for all major devices), Julie and JMMDS are pioneering new ways to bring good landscape design to homeowners everywhere.

Julie's first book, Contemplative Gardens (Howell Press, 1990), was named "one of the ten best garden books of the year" by The New York Times. Her second book, The Inward Garden (Little, Brown and Company, 1995), won the Garden Writers Association of America Gold Medal in 1996. Her third book, The Magic Land, was proclaimed a "delight" by Yo-Yo Ma and "a companion for inspired daydreaming" by The Boston Globe. Julie's fourth book, written in partnership with architect Sarah Susanka, Outside the Not So Big House (The Taunton Press, 2006), is a consistent best-seller on Amazon.com and ranked at the top of bookseller lists in Canada. Her fifth book, Home Outside: Creating the Landscape You Love (The Taunton Press, 2009), received the Garden Writers Association 2010 Gold Medal for Best Book Writing. In 2009, she published The Toronto Music Garden, an in-depth guide to the conception and creation of this award-winning three-acre public garden, designed by Julie in collaboration with eminent cellist Yo-Yo Ma.

Julie's vision for composing landscapes of beauty and meaning is furthering the evolution of landscape design and changing the way people create and enjoy their outdoor surroundings. Visit her at www.jmmds.com for her news, blog, design portfolio, and upcoming lectures and events.

Many people ask how to pronounce Julie Moir Messervy's name. Moir rhymes with "lawyer"; Messervy is pronounced "meh-SIR-vee."

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

75 of 76 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 17, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Messervy has found a way to codify something that seemed vague to me: the "feel" of a landscape, or how a person reacts to a space. She breaks landscape forms down into 7 "archetypes," lists the features of each, then suggests ways to use this new understanding in designing your own yard or garden. I suddenly realized, for example, that the narrow, paved alleys coming off my tiny city backyard weren't necessarily the problem and disappointment I had always considered them, but were features I could play up and turn to advantage. (They had always tempted me to walk to the end -- now I just have to make that journey worthwhile.) I was just bursting with ideas after reading this book, able to look at my tiny space with new eyes. The archetypal business isn't just pleasantly mystical but is also practical, backed up with sophisticated but down-to-earth ideas. It's a different kind of garden design book that gets you to think of the overall "f! eel" (not look) you want first (the step missing from most gardening books), and then figure out how to actually construct it -- a satisfying blend of mythic/artistic with practical and well-organized. (And as a bonus, the photos are drop-dead gorgeous!)
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 18, 1997
Format: Hardcover
This is garden design from the heart, not the head. Garden design books usually offer us a formula, templates, and lists of plants. "The Inward Garden" instead tries to stimulate a new way of thinking about our landscapes. Messervy tries to create gardens that resonate with fond memories of the places where we felt most secure and most free as children. You might think that you want an elaborate perennial border, but after reading this book realize that you'd really rather gaze at a little bit of prairie, or a woodland or listen to a tinkling stream. If you are going to spend all that time, money and effort, wouldn't it be wonderful to have a garden that makes you feel good, instead of one that merely consumes resources and becomes a millstone? This is not the book that will help you calculate how many bags of mulch you need, or how to build a retaining wall. What it will do is help you identify what you really want from your landscape, instead of what you think you're supposed to want, or what all your neighbors have.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 5, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Julie Moir Messervy has written what undoubtedly will become a classic of garden writing and design. Deeply literate and beautifully written, The Inward Garden gives the reader a process for designing one's "dream garden". Based on garden archtypes: the sea, the cave, the harbor, the promitory, the island, the mountain, and the sky, this book provides a structure for imagining the garden of one's desires and a practical process for designing this deeply felt garden. The author describes in detail each of these archytical gardens. Each archtype is illustrated with outstanding garden photographs. The Inner Garden gently asks the reader to think and feel deeply about the garden of his or her dreams and to have the couage to begin creating that garden.
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42 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Dan Mays on December 19, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have no problems with the premise of the book -- that is why I read it. I have always believed strongly in an intuitive approach to garden design. The problem that I have with reading this book is the excessive wordiness. Several online reviews of her life's work say more in a paragraph or two than the entire first half of the book -- and say it much better. Messervy is a master at saying the same thing with seventeen varieties of repetition. ENOUGH! -- LET'S MOVE ON, JULIE!

Particularly in the first half of the book, in addition to the relentless repetition, she rambles on in generic terms about nonspecific generalities; not really saying much at all. True, this book is dealing with the conceptual. But please; elaborate with some good examples or analogies rather than restating what you have already restated.

Instead of examples, she will toss out ambiguous, esoteric references that would mean nothing to anyone but a select few. For a representative example: On page 82, when talking about a natural effect achieved in a woodland garden, Ms. Messervy says, "A good example is found in Sir John's Wood at Kingshaye Court near Tiverton in Devon, England." That is it! No diagram, no picture and no further information! Perhaps I am supposed to be impressed with name dropping (Or is it just plain, droppings?) from her world travels. However, her "example" adds nothing substantive to the text.

There are a few photos of Messervy's design work in the book and they are superlative. I wish there were a lot more of them. I don't question that her work embodies the ideals she is promoting. It is just that she does not communicate these very well. There are fragments of insight scattered throughout the book.
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29 of 34 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 11, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Unlike most garden books that focus on individual design elements of gardening, this one focuses on how to identify the atmosphere and mood of the garden you want to create. The author tells readers to think back to those places that have given them the greatest joy and ease, either as children or as adults, and to use the memory of these places in creating a retreat or garden of the mind in one's own yard. You should read this book before all others
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