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Planting Design: Gardens in Time and Space Hardcover – Illustrated, October 15, 2005

3.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Oudolf's reputation as an innovative plantsman and designer looms large in the world of horticulture, just as Kingsbury stands out for his unambiguous call to integrate vibrant, naturalistic plantings in contemporary spaces. Artistry and down-to-earth practicality come together in their latest effort as they once again focus on perennial plants. Covering small personal gardens as well as parkland in urban centers--Chicago's Millennium Park appears to exemplify Oudolf's way of putting plants on display--the authors discuss ecological issues and how plants, whether native species or cultivars, should fit the specific environment. Swaths of flowering specimens and grasses come to the fore in entrancing photographs, illustrating the expressive nature--and notion--of a strong framework that relies on hardscape elements in tandem with the plants themselves. Their vision challenges certain aspects of conventional landscape architecture and garden design, yet gardeners interested in creating distinct spaces that encompass the beauty of the shifting seasons will welcome the book's intriguing concepts and expert advice. Alice Joyce
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


Piet Oudolf and Nol Kingsbury have accomplished quite a feat with Planting Design they have written a gardening book that tackles theoretical questions and the practicalities of gardening with equal aplomb. Erin Kappeler, Horticulture, September 2006 (Horticulture)

Excellent as an advanced course in Oudolf's "New Wave" planting movement that advocates choosing plants that are in harmony with the surrounding landscape, are well adapted to the native soil and growng conditions, and that will develop beautifully over time. American Gardener, May/June 2006 (American Gardener)

I spent the first few minutes with this book wondering how they ever determined which of these high-powered plantsmen would have his name first on the cover. Valerie Easton, Seattle Times, September 16, 2005 (Seattle Times)

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Timber Press, Incorporated; 1st edition (October 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0881927406
  • ISBN-13: 978-0881927405
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 0.9 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #735,631 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book further elaborates and discusses the principles behind Piet Oudolf and Noel Kinsbury "New Wave" herbaceous perennial plantings. It is a general discussion for the serious gardner. Their intent is NOT to provide a step-by-step guide to designing, but suggest a "process" for key plant selection and combination. They are not located in North America, so you will find that some of their plant recommendations are difficult to find, or not specifically suited to your North America Plant Zone and no list can be casually taken from the book directly to your yard, but requires considerable effort on your part to identify those plants specific to your zone. For example, their list of 15 small trees to combine with perennials, only six might grow in my zone, I could not find 2 of those listed in my Sunset Western Garden Book, and 3 listed contradictory information to the Sunset Western Garden Book. So while their discussion of their "methods, discoveries and thoughts" are of interest, it will not easily transfer to a newly designed "new wave" perennial garden for the casual user.
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Format: Hardcover
I would describe myself as a fan of Oudolf - by adopting and adapting some of his raison-être our own garden has changed beyond recognition, with masses of seasonal interest throughout the year. Kingsbury ghosted Oudolf's original work, Designing with Plants with some aplomb, Henk Gerritsen's turn of phrase in Dream Plants and More Dream Plants was always light, witty and insightful and while Gardening with Grasses seemed to bow to certain conventionalities, for European readers, the book opened up new vistas of possibilities. But with this offering the writers have run out of steam, or rather Kingsbury has as Oudolf appears to have participated little in the book's creation. This time Kingsbury's style is leaden - is the book a re-working of his recent thesis? It stinks of academia. Timber Press has done an excellent job re the images on the hard and dust cover (and this time all the pages are in the right order and the captions are all in English - not the case with my copies of previous work attributed to Oudolf that they have published). But as publishers they mislead in their suggestion that in this book `home gardeners ... will find invaluable advice in this new approach'. First of all the approach is not new, secondly the style is so leaden most would start to doze while reading it and thirdly not all home gardeners have the opportunity for creating public amenities for their community. For professionals the book may be of use but, as another reviewer has suggested, the narrative raises more questions than it answers, and the lists are short and somewhat mean.

Next time Oudolf's name appears on the cover of a new book I will wait until I get my hands on a copy so see what, if anything, is new and inspirational. In the meanwhile I will continue to use my dog-eared copies of previous work attributed to him which are well worth purchasing.
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Format: Hardcover
As an admirer of Noel Kingsbury's prolific work, I was initially put off by this book. In some passages, it reads like a manifesto on a new approach to gardening. On futher reading, however, I have found it stimulating, valuable, and full of hard-to-find information on cutting edge work in ornamental gardening, particularly in Europe. Its emphasis on design of plantings for reduced maintenance in parks and public areas is not at all off point for the home gardener - certainly for this home gardener. I am 61, have only weekends for gardening, weekends often interrupted by other of life's demands, I garden on a difficult site with heavy wet clay and lots of deer. So any gardening approach that holds out a way to have a beautiful, sustainable garden, using plants suited to existing conditions, that I can create and maintain with minimal effort and time is certainly of value. Moreover, Kingsbury introduces me to some exciting names in gardening and to exciting gardens I've not known of: the work of Cassian Schmidt at Hermanshoff in Germany is only one example. This book is a window into a world of planting design and gardening that most of us have no access to (much of the published literature is in German) and Kingsbury brings it to light. I heartily recommend this book. It is a serious book, and gives more and more on successive readings. If your time is limited, you can reread sections that interest you and find more of value each time. I'm not sure what part Piet Oudolf actually played in this book, but he's certainly the preeminent practitioner of this style, and his apparently loose association with Kingsbury should continue. They are doing exciting work, and this book puts their work into a larger context and gives it a theoretical framework.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An excellent reference for anyone wanting to design landscapes and gardens in an ecologically sensitive manner. The only problem is that it focuses on east coast and European gardens, so many of the specific plant recommendations don't work in the west (some are even invasive here!) But the design principles and ideas for different ways to lay out large areas in a naturalistic way are invaluable.
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