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The Layered Garden: Design Lessons for Year-Round Beauty from Brandywine Cottage Hardcover – October 16, 2012
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A spartan home sits on a modest piece of property tucked into the suburban sprawl of southeastern Pennsylvania. It is surrounded by an effusive explosion of plants of every shape and hue. Vibrant magenta alliums send their pom-poms skyrocketing over drifts of pale blue forget-me-nots. Hillsides overflow with cascading ferns and hostas, while a vegetable garden banked with perennials dominates the sunny foreground. Rainbow pots of herbs and annuals carry the eye on a radiant journey of discovery—an ancient stone trough here, a gnarled wooden trellis there. So imaginative is Culp’s genius and so resourceful his passion for plants and design that his layered garden offers more sensory delights per square foot than most gardens manage to achieve over acres. In no mere “how I did this” memoir, Culp, with help from award-winning garden writer Levine, offers solid advice on design technique and plant selection. Famed garden photographer Rob Cardillo’s swoon-inducing inages showcase Culp’s vision for maximizing a garden’s potential. A stunning chronicle of the way Culp and his garden evolved over the years. --Carol Haggas
“So imaginative is Culp’s genius and so resourceful his passion for plants and design that his layered garden offers more sensory delights per square foot than most gardens manage to achieve over acres.” —Booklist
“Spellbinding writing and Cardillo’s breathtaking photos entice readers through Culp’s woodland garden. An essential title in the ‘how I did it’ genre of garden writing.” —Library Journal
“I love the book. . . . It teaches us how to design and maintain a complex, layered garden.” —Garden Rant
“Offers the perfect blend of inspiration and practical advice. Readers will come away with plenty of ideas and guidance to create their own layered, four-season gardens wherever they live.” —American Gardener
“This is one for your must read list. . . . and it would make a wonderful gift for anyone who loves plants and gardens.” —A Charlotte Garden
“Culp shares the beauty of Brandywine and some of his garden-design secrets.” —McClatchy-Tribune News
“If you are planning to design or redesign a space next spring and summer, this is a wonderful guide to choose.” —Northern Gardener
“A visual feast of inspiration combined with practical advice on how to put together a garden that shines throughout the year. A great winter read.” —Detroit News
“A good choice for people trying to correct their jumbled mess of a landscape.” —Harrisburg Patriot-News
Top customer reviews
Full of glorious photos and a lovely story of a delightful gardener and his garden to go with it.
The titled made me first buy this American book; as I have always been interested in garden design and how the plants are planted to give a layered effect. The photos by Rob Cardillo, (incidentally he also did the photos for the book on the splendid American garden Chanticleer), are a joy to see and study how the plants associate with each other.
Actually, its a book I find myself referring to a lot over my New Zealand early summer season, nice ideas on every page.
A well recommended read for gardeners all over the world. Most likely be the best book of the decade for me. Enjoy.
This is filled with excellent advice, suggestions and methodology... but more importantly, it's a very fun read.
One thing I have noticed in David's book and most of the beautiful gardens books and magazines I have been devouring -- is the language and how to pronounce or even read some of the botanical plant names that are mentioned in almost every paragraph/page -- without constantly using the search bar on my phone/computer -- to even understand what kind of plant he is talking about. And it kind of takes the joy away from reading the book. (So thank goodness for the beautiful photography)
However, I understand that the majority of gardeners do know what he is talking about and appreciate all the botanical names and lingo. Learning the language and classifications are just part of the gardening experience and horticulture journey that I am looking forward to going on….but at this time I still I find myself skipping over the difficult plant names in the book.
I find it very helpful in the magazine “Fine Gardening” that they include a breakdown of the plant names and how to pronounce them. I think this would be helpful in more gardening books/magazines.
I found the book unsettling at first, though, because the term “layered garden” is mentioned often but never explicitly defined. I Googled “layered garden” and learned that the term refers to the use of a pleasing mix of forms and colors, a mix that may vary considerably throughout the year—the result of choosing plants that bloom and finish up on different schedules—but stays effective. And this is indeed a major theme of the book; there is even a long section on plants that perform during each of the four seasons. But why the static-sounding “layered”—why not the fluid “interwoven” or even “shape-shifting”? Also, “layered,” in a garden, may refer to varying heights of plants, to tiers of plants from ground level to treetops, and in fact Mr. Culp does devote a few pages specifically to that concept. Then I realized, goodness, this is a really good book—as it probably is for most people right from the start—so, forget the perplexing title.
Along with discussions of successive waves of plants there is a generous amount of detail about individual plants and their cultural preferences. The plant choices won’t all suit the far north or the subtropics, but I think many would apply to most places. More importantly, I think that anyone who gardens wherever a rotation of seasons takes place will find information here to relate to and learn from.
This is a gardening memoir of the best sort, useful and inspiring.