A Thoughtful Gardener: An Intelligent Approach to Garden Design by Jinny Blom

Book Recommendation, G A R D E N S, Landscape Design | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

A Thoughtful Gardener: An Intelligent Approach to Garden Design by Jinny Blom, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

I have long been an admirer of Jinny Blom’s garden designs for the juxtaposition of feeling like they have always existed while being fresh and reflecting the current excitement in garden design. When she hinted at writing a book via Instagram early last year (@Jinny.Blom), I made a mental note to pre-order on Amazon. I am honored she accepted my request to review the book on Thinking Outside the Boxwood, and as a result got to read the book cover to cover before everyone else!

 

The short of the review is, YES you should buy this book. But here is why –

 

Gardening books typically fall into one of three categories; coffee Table/portfolio, DIY and Textbook/Plant geek. Generally a DIY book is not useful to the professional and a textbook/plant geek book can overwhelm a pleasure gardener or novice. The Thoughtful Garden falls into none of these categories.

 

Even though the book is filled with beautiful images worth studying and appreciating, this is not a coffee table book for thumbing through passively. The images are supporting figures for illustrating a thoughtful breakdown of her process for creating gardens that draw out the natural beauty with consideration to place, time and structure. Jinny pulls back the curtain to share her process with an honest dialogue, like her limited use of grasses or her love of Hybrid Tea roses.

 

A Thoughtful Gardener: An Intelligent Approach to Garden Design by Jinny Blom, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

Jinny’s approach for creating a garden strongly highlights that gardens are more than just a collection of plants, with the first discussion on plant selection mentioned in chapter five. There is no chapter list to give the reader a cheat sheet to jump to a specific section, you need to read from beginning to end, for a gradual flow of the process woven between projects with time to pause between each topic to reflect before proceeding.

 

A Thoughtful Gardener: An Intelligent Approach to Garden Design by Jinny Blom, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

The process is littered with sage advice and practical tips that you could easily highlight and return to again and again. Some examples include:

  • Gardens used every day should be close to the house.
  • Posh path ways can meander, but practical routes should be direct.
  • Structure is the necessary corset of the garden
  • ‘First we must destroy’ – with the junk removed it is possible to really see the value in what is left.
  • The details make all the difference to the serenity and quality of the end project
  • Large gardens need division in order to give them intimacy

 

A Thoughtful Gardener: An Intelligent Approach to Garden Design by Jinny Blom, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

This quote towards the end of the book is the best recap of Jinny’s philosophy and what you will learn from The Thoughtful Gardener –

“My fundamental feeling is that it is the structure of the garden – its walls, surfaces, routes, views, water, structural planting such as trees and shrubbery, topiary and hedges – that ultimately counts.”

 

The book release date is next week on March 16,  so pre-order your copy from  Amazon and follow Jinny on Instagram. Once you get a copy of the book, please let me know what you think and how our thoughts compare. I will also report if there are any USA book tour dates announced for this year.

 

Perennial Plant Association (PPA) Symposium 2016 Recap

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Well this is a long over due (about 6 months past) recap of the 2016 Perennial Plant Association Symposium this past summer in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Since this was a six day conference over the summer, we made it a road trip from Ohio up to Minneapolis with a few stops in Chicago and Wisconsin along the way. The trip alone was amazing and while I was attending the conference the family had a great time exploring the city and meeting up with us in the evening. (I shared stops in Chicago and the Olbirch Botanical Garden).

Perennial Plant Association (PPA) Symposium 2016 Recap, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

The Perennial Plant Symposium is the annual conference for the members of the Perennial Plant Association or PPA. The PPA is run by Dr. Steven Still and his wife Carolyn, both of which are retiring this year after years of creating an amazing association,  symposium and not to mention garden tours abroad. I enjoy this conference for the mixture of design professionals with the growers/plantsmen creating the new and unique varieties along with growing the best specimen. At this event you get to meet the folks that cultivate and hybridize the perennials and  grasses that we use in our gardens along with trailblazing unique methods for growing.  The wealth of knowledge and experience is second to none.  Truly the whos who of the ornamental plant world attend.

 

For the conference, it includes a trade show, classes, speakers and garden tours. Generally there are three tracks to choose from for those in the wholesale nursery trade, retail nursery trade and garden design. You are able to attend across sections based on the topics and speakers you are interested and tours between the three trade disciplines, with a final stop/meet up at the end of the day for the groups to reconvene. I did not take many photos during the classes or trade show, but did capture while on the tours and end of day meet ups. One of my favorite speakers was Jeff Epping , from Olbirch Botanical Garden who talked about the planting techniques of gravel gardens popularized by Beth Chatto.

GARDEN TOURS – DESIGN FOCUS;

No surprise I attended the design tours, which included public and private homes.TIP:  while on these tours, drop pins on your phone so you can return back to neat areas or nurseries to purchase more plants to take home (benefit of driving). A great end of day stop was at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. We had a great time walking, driving and resting around the different areas and found the ornamental grass test plot that has different cultivars side by side to make it easy to compare size, color, shape, etc. I need to share that whole experience separately, especially the library.

Perennial Plant Association (PPA) Symposium 2016 Recap, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Perennial Plant Association (PPA) Symposium 2016 Recap, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Perennial Plant Association (PPA) Symposium 2016 Recap, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Perennial Plant Association (PPA) Symposium 2016 Recap, Thinking Outside the Boxwood 'Thicket' by weaver Kelly English at Lyndale Park Perennial Plant Association (PPA) Symposium 2016 Recap, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Perennial Plant Association (PPA) Symposium 2016 Recap, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Perennial Plant Association (PPA) Symposium 2016 Recap, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Perennial Plant Association (PPA) Symposium 2016 Recap, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Perennial Plant Association (PPA) Symposium 2016 Recap, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Perennial Plant Association (PPA) Symposium 2016 Recap, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Perennial Plant Association (PPA) Symposium 2016 Recap, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Perennial Plant Association (PPA) Symposium 2016 Recap, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Perennial Plant Association (PPA) Symposium 2016 Recap, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Perennial Plant Association (PPA) Symposium 2016 Recap, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

A Tour stop included Tangletown Gardens and a farm to table dinner at Tangletown Garden Farm outside Minneapolis. On our drive home we had a departing breakfast and stopover back at Tangletown and their restaurant, Wise Acre. One of the stops we made a stop and a return visit was to see Tangletown Gardens and eat at Wise Acre. Both our meals on the farm and at Wise Acer were delicious, and picked up a few plants to take home from the nursery.

Wise Acre and Tangletown Gardens A visit to Tangletown Gardens in Minneapolis, MN - More images at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

Birch trees in Containers at Wise Acres, in Minneapolis, MN - More images at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.comA visit to Tangletown Gardens and Wise Acres in Minneapolis, MN. Birch log and greenwall screening used to cover utilities - More images at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.comA visit to Tangletown Gardens in Minneapolis, MN - More images at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.comTangletown Gardens, Minneapolis, MN - More images at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.comField to table dinner with the PPA at Tangletown Gardens Farm, Minneapolis, MN - More images at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.comField to Table PPA Dinner at Tangletown Gardens Farm, Minneapolis, MN - More images at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

When we arrived to Minneapolis, we spent time wondering around the downtown shopping and eating. The bummer was the day we where to spend exploring neighborhoods and leisurely driving to Minneapolis included heavy rain, so we did not get to explore outside of a return visit to Tangletown Gardens at breakfast at Wise Acres.

Edible Curb Plantings seen in downtown Minneapolis, MN - More images at Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com

I just returned from a long weekend in Lexington, KY and am reminded how traveling (no matter how short the distance) is a great reboot and inspiration revitalizer. This year the PPA symposium will be in Denver CO with all the details released earlier this week on speakers etc. Visit http://ppadenver.com for details and to register.

February Garden Events 2017

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I wanted to update with a few new events on the Garden Calendar in February. These are all open to the public and I am sure tickets will sell out so if interested, order early. Please, if you know of any other great events I should share, please let me know. I am working on editing my PPA conference photos for a post early next week.

 

Madoo Conservancy – Jinny Blom, Changing Nature: Towards a New Landscape

Wednesday, February 8, 2017 at 6:30 pm

http:madoo.org/programs/lectures

I generally have bitter jealousy for anyone living near New York City for the speakers that come into the area. But for those with easy east coast travel,  Madoo Conservancy is having Jinny Blom speaking for the Madoo in Manhattan series. Jinny has a book releasing in March, so this speech will be a great preview. Jinny is also on Instagram (@jinny.blom) and is a good one to follow projects and travel.

You may pre-order her book HERE on Amazon.

 

 

Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA) Horticulture Symposium – The Garden Reimagined

Saturday, February 11, 2017

http://www.imamuseum.org/hortsymposium2017

I remember kicking myself for missing this event last year, and this year I am going to miss it again. But I highly recommend anyone in the area make the trip to attend. Below is a listing of speakers and their topics, however the site link provides a lot more details. If you cannot make it in February to IMA, try to visit during the summer. We visited a few years back and it was a great trip for me and the kids with the park space  and gardens surrounding the museum.

ANDREW BUNTING – A Plant Lovers Guide to Magnolias: Celebrating the Queen of Blooming Trees

LISA ROPER – Evolution of the Gravel Garden: Design, Utilizing Photography, and Ruthless Editing

JOSEPH TYCHONIEVICH – Rock Gardening: Reimagining a Classic Style for Today’s Garden

CLAUDIA WEST – Planting in a Post-Wild World: Designing Plant Communities for Resilient Landscapes

JONATHAN WRIGHT – Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow: Finding Inspiration From the Past While Looking to the Future

 

 

Shaker Lakes Garden Club – Patrick Blanc

Tuesday, February 28, 2016

http://www.shakerlakesgc.org/new-blog/2016/11/16/save-the-date

Thanks to the Ohio Chapter of APLD for bring this event to my attention. The Shaker Lakes Garden Club is bringing in Patrick Blanc in February to speak on his vertical gardens and the presentation is open to the public (lunch afterwards only for club members). I am making the drive up to attend  with a few other APLD members and am excited to hear Patrick speak about his experiences and recent innovations in vertical gardening. I will report back from this event and share via Instagram (@nickmccland).