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.
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.
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
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.