Friday, August 31, 2012

Fine Foliage Book Preview

Image courtesy of Fine Foliage © Fine Foliage St. Lynn's Press 2012-13 

I don't have to tell you that containers are one of a gardener's greatest assets. There are many times in the growing season when a part of your garden can look a little lacklustre or even just a bit too green. Having a pretty container to shift into position and give that sad looking part of the garden a colorful boost can be a godsend.

Though I have always recognized the value of having pretty containers in my gardening bag of tricks, I have never been particularly happy with my container plantings. To say they are a little unexciting is probably an understatement!

For inspiration I have turned to book and magazines, but so often I find that the plant pots brimming with blooms that you find there are the sort of container plantings that look great on the day of the photo shoot and then like hell a few weeks later.

If I am going to invest the time and money into a container planting, I want it to look good all summer and into the fall!


When I have put together my containers, I have always concentrated on the flowers for that hit of color. 
It wasn't until I read KarenChapman's blog that I realized that I had always focused on the wrong thing! 

Karen has a garden design and container garden business where she prepares hundreds of containers for clients. She writes in one of her blog posts that, "Focusing on flowers is guaranteed to bring disappointing results at some point in the season as many plants go through waves of blooming with 'blah' periods in between." 

So true!

But I still want my container plantings to be bright and colorful! 

That is where Karen suggests foliage comes in. And that makes perfect sense! I always consider foliage when it comes to the garden proper, but less so when it comes to my containers. That's a big mistake.

Any experienced gardener knows that foliage is in it for the long haul.

Image courtesy of Fine Foliage © Fine Foliage St. Lynn's Press 2012-13

Anyway... I have become a fan of Karen's blog and was really excited to see that she has a book coming out early next year. 

Written with partner Christina Salwitz, Fine Foliage takes a fresh and creative look using foliage color, shape and texture in the garden. The book provides 60+ examples of plant combinations that work not only for containers, but for every garden purpose.

Page spread image courtesy of Fine Foliage © Fine Foliage St. Lynn's Press 2012-13 

I really like the way the thoughtful way the book is laid out. There is no squinting at the picture trying to identify what that attractive mystery plant at the back of the flowerbed or container!

On one side of a page spread you have a pretty piece of inspiration that is beautifully photographed...

Page image courtesy of Fine Foliage © Fine Foliage St. Lynn's Press 2012-13 

and on the other side you have everything you need to know clearly spelled out: sun or shade, season, soil, and zone. 

Karen and Christina also tell you why a planting combination works and introduce you to each of the players involved.

Christina writes,"When we first sat down and brainstormed this book, one of the very first thoughts that I had was to be able to explain "Why this works" on every one of our 60 colorful combinations. I wanted to take the dreamy, artistic photos and make them an achievable risk for any level of gardener to take when armed with enough good information. We've taken extreme care to cover many areas of the country in different Hardiness Zones as well as design esthetics. As well as including annuals, perennials, shrubs and trees too in a simple and sophisticated format."

Image courtesy of Fine Foliage © Fine Foliage St. Lynn's Press 2012-13 

I really appreciate that the book's planting combinations have been test driven.

Karen writes, "...I plant hundreds of containers every season for my clients and myself. Everything I use has to perform 100- there's no room for slackers. I provide premium potting soil, a single dose of slow release granular fertilizer (e.g. Osmocote), regular water and sun or shade as needed. After that the plants have to strut their stuff to convince me they are good enough to tell you about." 

Page spread image courtesy of Fine Foliage © Fine Foliage St. Lynn's Press 2012-13 

Chocolate and Strawberries! Yum!


Page spread image courtesy of Fine Foliage © Fine Foliage St. Lynn's Press 2012-13 

As well as container plantings, the book addresses foliage in the garden proper with pretty plant combinations like this one.

Karen and Christina's book Fine Foliage will be published early in the new year, but is available now for pre-order. You can find information on reserving your copy here.

More Information and Links:

Author, Karen Chapman:"I am a container and landscape designer, serious plant-aholic, garden writer and public speaker for all things gardening. In other words, I'm ususally covered in a layer or two of soil, I drive everywhere with a large trap for impromtu plant purchases and I am truly passionate about sharing the joys of gardening." Visit Karen's website and blog here: Le Jardinet
Author, Christina Salwitz: "I am a container designer, garden coach, garden writer, speaker and foliage-aholic who loves to teach and see the light bulb go on when a gardener suddenly "gets it". I adore the entire horticultural industry and revel in helping others feel the same passion that I do about plants". Visit Christina's blog here: The Garden Coach.
Fine Foliage's Photographer is Ashley DeLatour: Visit Ashley's website and blog.

" Fine foliage is a visual treat that will inspire you with dazzling combinations for containers and gardens. Karen Chapman and Christina Salwitz explain why each combination works- bringing artistic design within easy reach of all gardeners. A great user-friendly resource." - Debra Prinzing, author of the 50 Mile Bouquet. Find out about pre-ordering a copy of Fine Foliage here. Visit the book's Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/FineFoliage?ref=hl 


23 comments:

  1. This looks like an excellent book. Like you, I just don't seem to have great success with all summer flower plantings but this year was a bit better as I focused more on leaf color and structure. I put a good size Croton tropical plant (awesome leaves) surrounded by Latana camara "Lucky Sunrise Rose"..great combo, lots of hot color there. Still, I could use a book like Fine Foliage. Thanks for the book preview.

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  2. Very useful book! I love all combinations with barbarism.

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  3. Ah! Putting it on my reading list for those late nights with my new bean! I love how she says that the plants have to "strut their stuff" in order for her to write about them...ha! Can't wait to jump in to this one!

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  4. Amen. I think this book was written for me.

    I can't do much with flowers or blooms in containers, but foliage can be stunning. I love the way they do the full-effect picture and then the easy to see details of each plant. Thanks for highlighting this -- I'm definitely going to get this book.

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  5. Some of those plantings do look stunning!

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  6. Jannifer - thank you SO much for your enthusiasm, encouragement and support. Christina and I are thrilled with how the book has come together and can't wait to share it with all of you. It's a great size for slipping into your bag to take to the nurseries too -sort of iPad size.

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  7. It makes perfect sense when you think about it, to rely on foliage, rather than flowers. I grew Coleus for the first time this year, and they have put on a good show for a few months now. This book looks excellent, and I will be checking out the associated blogs.
    Many thanks for your visits to my blog, they are very much appreciated.

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  8. Super photographs of some wonderful foliage. So glad that foliage is gaining in popularity, it lasts so much longer than flowers! Have to put it on my Christmas list!

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  9. Major eye candy. Thanks for the review.

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  10. Wonderful review! Thank you for showing so many of the fine photos in the book. I am very excited to pre-order my copy and to learn more about how to make my containers better.

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  11. Thanks for this great review, Jen. It looks like a book that would be well worth getting.

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  12. I, too, have been guilty of looking for the flower and ignoring the foliage.

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  13. Nice looking book. Very beautifully layed out.

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  14. Very nice the combinations of foliage, especially in this time of year. And I think this will be an intereting book.

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  15. Beautiful plants, beautiful colours, interesting post. I am greeting

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  16. Great, great post! Beautiful and interesting!

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  17. You must have been reading my mind, Jennifer! I was just looking at some of my containers this weekend and thinking how ratty they had become, except for one--a combo of profusion zinnias and two contrasting coleus. The zinnias look pretty washed out, but those coleus are gorgeous! It made me realize that I depend too much on those pretty blooms that entice me in May, but foliage can be just as eye-catching and doesn't give up halfway through the summer.

    Looks like a great book; I really like the layout with photos and descriptions of each plant, not just the one big photo.

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  18. Great post and the book looks wonderful! I plant with foliage in mind for almost all my containers, I love the looks & textures of different leaves. Must be why I love hostas and heuchera so much!
    Debbie :)

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  19. Jennifer, when it comes to the garden borders I agree foliage is so very important. However perhaps its the cooler Summers which we have, but the containers filled with half hardy annuals just go on and on from June through till late September.

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  20. Certainly gives one pause .......next year more foliage will be in my planters maybe a grass or 2.

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  21. Looks beautiful ~ you did a very nice job reviewing too. Hope it does well for them!!

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