Tuesday, September 8, 2015

New books

When not actively gardening, I've been doing a lot of reading lately. Primarily to continue to evolve our landscape plan. In addition to the backyard, we now have two beds out front that need to be addressed.
Here's a quick run down of my latest reads.
  • Landscaping Ideas that Work by Julie Moir Messervy
  • Landscaping with Native Plants of Wisconsin by Lynn M. Steiner
  • The Well-Designed Mixed Garden: Building Beds and Borders with Trees, Shrubs, Perennials, Annuals and Bulbs by Tracy DiSabato-Aust
  • Plant-Driven Design: Creating Gardens That Honor Plants, Place and Spirit by Scott Ogden and Lauren Springer Ogden
  • The New American Landscape: Leading Voices on the Future of Sustainable Gardening by Various Authors
  • Outside the Not So Big House: Creating the Landscape of Home by Julie Moir Messervy and Sarah Susanka
  • Home Outside: Creating the Landscape You Love by Julie Moir Messervy
My favorite book of the bunch is Plant-Driven Design. It really resonated with my thinking and approach to what I want to create - not just a nice space to live and play, but something that also takes into consideration the plants I want to put in. The whole focus of the book is to ditch the "outdoor room" paradigm and to treat the landscape as a living thing. Which sounds a bit self-evident, but if you spend any time watching HGTV or DIY Network, you see what they mean.

The other thing I really liked about this book is the approach they bring to the "native" vs. "exotic" debate. The thinking being that, yes, priority can and should be given to so-called native plants. But that we should be realistic about what "native" actually means in most North American regions - especially in northern states like Wisconsin. And that, if a naturalized plant or exotic can serve just as well or better than a native specimen, then it should not be excluded just because it does not qualify as a native plant.

I still have a fair amount of homework to do, especially with regards to the front yard. I think I have reached a design for the west side of our backyard that I like - that expands upon what we've already done and adds in new ideas we've had. Out front, though, I'm really not sure where to start.

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