Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Layered Garden: Book Review and Giveaway

Image from The Layered Garden © David l. Culp & Timber Press, 2012. Used with kind permission from Timber Press.

This year, I happened to visit the garden of a well-known, local garden expert and writer while on a summer garden tour. I was so disappointed! His garden was truly awful. Seriously, any amateur could do better! The new pond he had installed was so staged and artificial that it was hideous. Most of the tiny back garden was patio. There were very few plants to speak off, let alone take pictures of.

We got to chatting and perhaps because the conversation turned quickly in the direction of the other gardens on the tour, he got a little self-conscious. 

"You know who has the worst gardens?", he asked me. He didn't pause for my reply. "Garden writers! They are too busy writing to be fusing around in their own gardens."

"Really?", I thought to myself. "Can that possibly be true?"

No, come to think of it, I don't think that's true at all. The garden writers I respect are the ones with the dirty hands. They are gardeners first and writers second. They speak from experience both good and bad.


The reason I bring all this up is the fact that I am about to review a book by a gardener who offers expert information that has been gleaned from decades of hard work on his two-acre garden in Pennsylvania. 

You need not take my word on this- David Culp's garden is his best referral. 

Take a peak at the garden he and his partner call "Brandywine Cottage".

Image from The Layered Garden © David l. Culp & Timber Press, 2012. Used with kind permission from Timber Press.

 Isn't this Ruin Garden simply amazing?

Image from The Layered Garden © David l. Culp & Timber Press, 2012. Used with kind permission from Timber Press.

Of course it didn't always look like this. This is a before and after shot.

Do you see what I mean? This is a garden that grew out of lots of hard work. I absolutely respect that!

Image from The Layered Garden © David l. Culp & Timber Press, 2012. Used with kind permission from Timber Press.

The rest of the garden is just as nice.

Image from The Layered Garden © David l. Culp & Timber Press, 2012. Used with kind permission from Timber Press.


David confesses in The Layered Garden, "The path to horticultural enlightenment may be littered with countless missteps, mistakes, and (may I be honest?) dead plants. But the wonder of gardening is that it always keeps us looking forward, since there is always the next flower to bloom, the next season, next year."

In the book, the term "layers" refers to the design process of maximizing interest in each garden space with plantings that either grow and bloom together or follow each other in succession. The result is a non-stop parade of color that begins with daffodils and hellebores in spring and continues into the winter months with Asian wildflowers. 

The book leads you on a detailed tour of the garden through the various seasons. It was especially nice on a few occasions to see the same part of the garden in one season and the next side by side. 

The photographs by Rob Cardillo are superb!

The Layered Garden is the perfect book to cosy up to and read this winter. 

I am going to link this review to HolleyGarden's monthly book club on her blog Roses and Other Gardening Joys. To see more reviews, please click the link.

If you would like to be included in a book draw for a copy of The Layered Garden, please leave a comment below. The contest closes January 6th. Be sure to see the previous post, as there are other books to be given away as well. Many thanks to Timber Press for providing a copy of The Layered Garden for the giveaway.

More Information and Links:

Author David L. Culp along with his partner Michael Alderfer are the creators of the gardens at Brandywine Cottage in Downington, Pennsylvania. David's writing has appeared in Country Living, Fine Gardening and many other publications. An expert on herbaceous perennials, David serves as a sales consultant and new plant researcher for Sunny Border Nurseries in Connecticut. He has developed the Brandywine hybrid strain of hellebores, and was recently cited in the Wall Street Journal for his expertise on snowdrops. Brandywine Cottage has been featured several times on HGTV and Martha Stewart Living.

38 comments:

  1. His garden is lovely! Hard work is the key to everything...isn't it?!! His garden is a wonderful example of this. As a newbie I hope to have a layered garden one day. Something to look forward to for sure!!! Thank you for sharing this one. I am adding it to my wish list!

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  2. Thank you for such a great review - I'd love to win.

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  3. I would love to win a copy of this book...

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  4. I love this garden and am dying to read the book. Please enter me.

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  5. Me encantarĂ­a tener ese libro!!.Aprovecho la oportunidad para enviarte mis mejores deseos para esta Navidad.Un abrazo grande.

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  6. The photos you have shared are delightful. It seems this book is full of inspiration as well as details.

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  7. How can I not want a chance at getting this book - the photos of the garden are fab. Actually I should say the garden is fabulous!

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  8. This is my style but I had no idea it had a NAME! Bravo.

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  9. This is a Nova Scotia lurker, Jennifer who is a little homesick for Ontario this time of year. I would love a chance to win this book. Merry Christmas an thank you for a year of wonderful posts on your blog.

    Donna

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  10. I would love to win a copy of this beautiful book

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  11. What a beautiful garden - something to aspire to.

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  12. This book is already on my Christmas wish list, don't know if anyone has been asking yet, will have to wait and see! It looks a good read, my sort of garden!

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  13. What an amazing garden. This is a book just for my taste. I´m not in the category to win as I live in Denmark, but I will look for this book on the internet.

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  14. What a find. I will be adding this to my winter reading list. I imagine I will be inspired with every turn of the page.

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  15. Looks like a great book and amazing garden! I especially like that ruin garden.

    Merry Christmas, Jennifer and your hairy friends!

    Satu and Mickey from Finland

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  16. What an incredible garden! I'll add this book to my wish list in case I don't win it. What an inspiration!

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  17. I checked this book out from the local library last week thinking it would be more just one gardening book with pretty pictures. But I enjoyed reading the text just as much as looking at the pictures. Thank you for the great review of this book. And I would be happy to be included in the drawing for it, even though I have almost finished my borrowed book!

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  18. Thanks for bringing this to my attention - definitely one to add to my book shelf

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  19. I totally agree with you. The best garden writers are the ones that get out in the garden and get their hands dirty.
    I love garden books and "The Layered Garden" looks like a winner and one I would love to read.

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  20. I love it! The book looks wonderful, filled with inspirational photos, and I would love to be entered in the drawing.

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  21. My own garden is going to be on tour this spring as part of a tour of gardens created by people who work at the Norfolk Botanical Garden. I am already overwhelmed by all that I want to get done between now and then. Fortunately I am not writing any books, so maybe it will look good.

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  22. I think designers have the worst gardens, but I can believe it about writers too. I subscribe to layering. It is the only way to great design. Love The 50 Mile Bouquet. Great book and luscious photos.

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  23. Now that is my garden fantasy...how stunning.

    And what a beautiful book.

    Jen

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  24. Hard to believe looking at these gorgeous photos that the writer ever had a misstep in his garden. Wish wish wish my garden looked even half as nice. (sounds like that first writer/garden tour maybe knew he was out of his depth?)

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  25. So pretty! I love these ideas. Thanks for the chance to win!

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  26. Thanks so much for joining in! The after photos of the ruins is amazing! This book has been on my wish list for some time, but after reading your review, it has moved up to the top! (Of course, I hope you never include me in the drawings since I host the meme.) I, too, think that garden writers should have the garden to back them up. There's nothing quite like the experience of getting your own hands dirty - and from killing a few plants! ;) Have a Merry Christmas!

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  27. Wow -- his garden is just -- wow. Beautiful.

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  28. A very inspiring garden. Beautiful pictures!

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  29. I would love to win this book, if for no other reason than to look at the photos--his garden is beautiful! I don't think that I have achieved "horticultural enlightenment" yet, but I'm glad to know I'm not the only one to kill a lot of nice plants along the way:)

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  30. This looks like one to add to my garden book shelf. How I will enjoy savoring these scenes over the winter.

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  31. OMGosh! I would love a copy of this book. I so desire the "layered garden" and find it challenging to create. Also, I used to live in this area of PA, I just wish I would have known about these people/gardens when I was living there. Thanks for sharing this book that looks so interesting. Interesting comment on garden writers...

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  32. I'd love to win this, Thanks for the chance

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  33. This is the kind of garden I would love to have. Having tried it in my small prairie backyard I know how hard it is to achieve. Timing is everything and just because the info gives you dates, in no way does this mean it will happen in your garden. Trial and error is the name of the game and it requires time, effort and patience. All credit to David and boo to the other guy you mentioned.

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  34. How did I miss this post? What is wrong with me!!! I want this book! I love that this guy killed plants. So validating!

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  35. My path to horticultural enlightenment has voles, deer and rabbits too. :-)

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  36. Hi from Australia, just found your blog from Pinterst as I was searching cottage gardens for inspiration. My plan for my 2 acre property is to transform it into a country delight. Thanks
    evesapple@bigpond.com

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