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.

 

Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD) Conference Recap, 2016 Santa Fe

Garden Tours, Inspiration, Landscape Design | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

As promised in my previous post of great conferences and events to attend in 2017, here my heavy pictorial recap of the 2016 Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD) International Landscape Design Conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  This has taken longer than expected to post with image uploading issues, sorry for the delay. The conference was titled “The Art of Adaptive Design,” which Santa Fe was the perfect backdrop to manifest the theme. With an region that gets 14 inches of yearly landfall, dry rocky soils and strict architecture guidelines, landscapes in the area all follow the hand of mother nature first in their design. I was very naive about Santa Fe’s culture and artist community and was blown away by the artistry was incorporated into all the landscapes around the city and gardens we toured.

THE HOST CITY, SANTA FE

I am not an expect on Santa Fe, but what I experienced on my walking tours before, during and after the conference was filled with inspiration. The city is easy walk around around, meandering through parks and art studios.

Santa Fe Pollinator Box with rust patina from Thinking Outside the Boxwood

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THE CONFERENCE IN CLASS SESSIONS:

Here is a link to the conference attendee brochure, providing details on all the events, speakers and tours associated with the conference. I recommend reading to give you a better idea of the structure of the conference and more specific details on the sessions offered.  There were breakout sessions for Design, Water and Plants offering all the attendees a variety to topics and like minded to network. In the pre-conference activities I wish I attended was a Design Charette, where teams toured a site and worked on a sustainable design solutions to present back to the group. This is a great opportunity to work with peers and learn from other designers creative and problem solving processes.

Another great opportunity I had was to host a round table dinner to talk about social media in the landscape profession. These round table sessions allow designers to meet with board members and talk about different issues relating to our profession in a small, intimate and social setting. Our group had lively conversation and an amazing meal at Radish & Rye.

CONFERENCE TOURS:

Ok, now on to the photos. I will not bother with words for each image and let them speak for themselves, but over all the gardens we toured in Santa Fe were all so innovative. They each incorporated the transition between indoors and outdoors, used diverse materials outside of plants and 100% focused on a designs that are sustainable.  Featured below are images form private gardens, the Santa Fe Railyard, and the newly establish Santa Fe Botanical Garden.

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Olbrich Botanical Gardens – Madison Wisconsin

G A R D E N S, Garden Tours, Gravel, Landscape Design | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Back in August, we made a family road trip out of attending the Perennial Plant Association (PPA) conference in Minneapolis, MN. On the drive up to the conference we made a stopover in Chicago at the Lurie Garden (See post HERE), and on the way home we stopped at Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison, WI and the Chicago Botanical Garden (I am lucky that the kids still enjoy visiting gardens as a vacation).

Olbrich Botanical Gardens, gravel garden - Madison Wisconsin, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Olbrich was a planned stop on the way home, however after hearing Jeff Epping, the Director of Horticulture at Olbrich, speak at the PPA conference, we left Minneapolis early to ensure we got ample time in the gardens. Our time was a little more compressed than planned with a Midwest storm approaching, but hands down one of the best botanical gardens I have visited.  The 16 acres features amazing rooms that transition you from different spaces almost disorientating your direction and allowing you be in awe of each different experience.

Jeff’s talk at the PPA conference was about the gravel gardens they have installed at Olbrich. The method involves planting hardy plants in a base of 3-5 inches of gravel to fend of weeds and provide a low-water lifelong solution. The plants will grow into soil below the gravel for water and nutrients, and the inches of gravel will prohibit weeds from growing. Overtime the plants will grow to cover the gravel for a dense planting. The requirements of the planting method require attentive watering while the roots mature to the soil level and vigilant removal of plant debris at cutback and while establishing. My first few photos here are of one of the four gravel gardens at Olbrich.

I have known of Olbrich for a few years and it was always on my list of place to visit and I am so happy my travels to me there.  Olbrich is a garden destination that needs to be high on your list.  For a plant nerd, design nerd, or just looking for a stroll in a beautful garden- it will not disappoint.  I hope you enojoy my photo journal!

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