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Wild about Design: Give the Gift of Design

Your bulbs are planted and the garden has been put to bed. What next? With the imminent arrival of winter, it is time to search for holiday gifts for all the gardeners on your list.

Another pair of gardening gloves? So ho-hum. Instead, why not give a gift of garden design to inspire your favourite gardeners to new botanical heights? (Or drop hints for your own list.)

Books on garden design are the perfect answer to get any gardener through a long winter. The following classic design books are not new, but they are essential tools to get the creative juices flowing. As beautifully illustrated as coffee table art books, they will provide inspiration for many seasons to come.

  1. Nori and Sandra Pope’s Color By Design: Planting the Contemporary Garden is a luscious exploration of colour and colour combinations. (300 colour photos)
  2. John Brookes has written several excellent books showing the use of design elements to create beautiful, innovative gardens. Each book contains helpful sketches and diagrams and stunning photos. My favourites are Garden Masterclass and Small Garden.
  3. Landscapes in Landscapes by Piet Oudolf and Noel Kingsbury features twenty-three of Oudolf’s public and private gardens, including the High Line and Battery Park in New York City, as well as Ouldof’s own garden in the Netherlands. Lavish photos, sketches and detailed planting plans demonstrate how form, texture and colour spanning the life cycle of plants are the basis of the New Perennial planting movement.

Keeping track of what grows (and what didn’t grow) and where it is in your garden is easy with Margaret Bennet- Alder’s Gardener’s Journal & Sourcebook. This resource directory and weekly journal includes tabbed sections for garden plans and records, photos and a section on “Delights and Disappointments.” The information contained is useful for gardeners in the Greater Toronto Area and the Golden Horseshoe. It is available in Garden Shop for just $24.95.

Walking through a well-designed garden is one of the best sources of inspiration for gardeners. Tickets to the TBG’s Through the Garden Gate garden tour in June is a gift of an up-close-and-personal look at what’s new in garden design, creative plant combinations, and a wonderful day spent in some of the best private gardens in the city. You can purchase tickets by calling Andrew at 416-397-1483.

The idea of designing a garden bed or a whole garden can be overwhelming. The gift of a garden consultation with an experienced designer or landscape architect can help a gardener overcome their hesitation and get started on their dream garden. Just an hour or two of expert advice is money well spent and can be the basis for a well-designed, creative garden.


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