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.

 

The Lurie Garden – Our Great Midwest Road Trip

G A R D E N S, Garden Tours, Gardens, Landscape Design, Piet Oudolf | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Back in early August I had the great opportunity to speak at the Perennial Plant Association Symposium in Minneapolis.  The event aligned with the last full week of summer for our son and made it the perfect time to make the drive into a family road trip. On the drive to Minneapolis, we stopped at the Lurie Garden in downtown Chicago. Our stop over also aligned with Lollapalooza at neighboring Grant Park, which provided a unique soundtrack to the garden but somehow the garden still was an extremely intimate experience with the crowds just outside its borders.

The Lurie Garden - Our Great Midwest Road Trip, Thinking Outside the BoxwoodThe Lurie Garden - Our Great Midwest Road Trip, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

On the Lurie Garden website is an amazing article by Megan Wade titled Breaking Ground: The Influence of Piet Oudulf’s Perennial Gardens. This article provides great detail on why Piet planting style, the New Perennials Movement and the design of the garden is breaking form within public garden spaces.

The Lurie Garden - Our Great Midwest Road Trip, Thinking Outside the BoxwoodThe Lurie Garden - Our Great Midwest Road Trip, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

 

To be honest, I am really debating making the 5.5 hour drive again next week for a preview screening of the Piet Oudulf documentary and the Lurie Garden tours with Piet and Shannon Nichol, along with a designer panel. This is a huge FREE event that if you are in the Chicago area (or in my case a five hour drive) it would be amazing to attend. Below are a few of the highlights of the event, but you can register and get more details at the Lurie Garden website HERE.

  • August 30, 5:00 PM Screening of the Piet Oudulf Documentary with a Q&A with the director, Thomas Piper and Piet.
  • August 31,11:00 AM and 2;00 PM- Garden walkabouts with Piet Oudulf and Shannon Nichol.
  • August 31, 6:00 PM, Lurie Garden Design Team Panel, panel and Q&A with the team who designed and planted Lurie Garden: Piet Ouldolf of Humelo, the Netherlands, Shannon Nichol of Gustafson Guthrie Nichol, Roy Diblik of Northwind Perennial Farms and Laura Ekasetya, Lurie Garden Head Horticulturist.

The Lurie Garden - Our Great Midwest Road Trip, Thinking Outside the BoxwoodThe Lurie Garden - Our Great Midwest Road Trip, Thinking Outside the BoxwoodThe Lurie Garden - Our Great Midwest Road Trip, Thinking Outside the BoxwoodThe Lurie Garden - Our Great Midwest Road Trip, Thinking Outside the BoxwoodThe Lurie Garden - Our Great Midwest Road Trip, Thinking Outside the Boxwood  The Lurie Garden - Our Great Midwest Road Trip, Thinking Outside the Boxwood The Lurie Garden - Our Great Midwest Road Trip, Thinking Outside the Boxwood The Lurie Garden - Our Great Midwest Road Trip, Thinking Outside the Boxwood  The Lurie Garden - Our Great Midwest Road Trip, Thinking Outside the Boxwood The Lurie Garden - Our Great Midwest Road Trip, Thinking Outside the Boxwood The Lurie Garden - Our Great Midwest Road Trip, Thinking Outside the Boxwood    The Lurie Garden - Our Great Midwest Road Trip, Thinking Outside the Boxwood The Lurie Garden - Our Great Midwest Road Trip, Thinking Outside the Boxwood The Lurie Garden - Our Great Midwest Road Trip, Thinking Outside the Boxwood The Lurie Garden - Our Great Midwest Road Trip, Thinking Outside the Boxwood The Lurie Garden - Our Great Midwest Road Trip, Thinking Outside the Boxwood The Lurie Garden - Our Great Midwest Road Trip, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

The Lurie Garden - Our Great Midwest Road Trip, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

So those are my “edited” list photos from Lurie garden (I took at least 100). I am lucky the kids enjoy gardens, because there were many more stops along The Great Road trip and from the PPA conference to share next. Stay tuned.

Twilight at Moss Mountain Farm

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

Last week I had the pleasure of attending Garden2Grow at P. Allen Smith’s farm in Arkansas, Moss Mountain Farm, with a group of diverse social media influencers. The event, which was organized by Allen and his team, provided us the with opportunity to discuss how we can grow connections through creative and social content, and Moss Mountain Farm provided the dramatic backdrop for those conversations. While we spent two days touring the different areas of the farm from the legendary Poultryville to the vegetable garden, I found the twilight hour of our last day the most empowering at capturing farm’s beauty.

Twilight at Moss Mountain Farm, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Twilight at Moss Mountain Farm, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Twilight at Moss Mountain Farm, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Twilight at Moss Mountain Farm, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Twilight at Moss Mountain Farm, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Twilight at Moss Mountain Farm, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Twilight at Moss Mountain Farm, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Twilight at Moss Mountain Farm, Thinking Outside the BoxwoodTwilight at Moss Mountain Farm, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Twilight at Moss Mountain Farm, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Twilight at Moss Mountain Farm, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Twilight at Moss Mountain Farm, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Twilight at Moss Mountain Farm, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Twilight at Moss Mountain Farm, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Twilight at Moss Mountain Farm, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Twilight at Moss Mountain Farm, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Twilight at Moss Mountain Farm, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Twilight at Moss Mountain Farm, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Twilight at Moss Mountain Farm, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Twilight at Moss Mountain Farm, Thinking Outside the Boxwood   Twilight at Moss Mountain Farm, Thinking Outside the BoxwoodTwilight at Moss Mountain Farm, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

There is something magical about the lighting at the twilight hour in the garden, the plants seem to glow. Also helps that the other Garden2Grow attendees were sipping cocktails and I had the gardens to myself. The image above is one of my favorites I took that night.

 

In addition to the gardens, another highlight of the event was the stories woven through our guided tours by P. Allen. With my only previous exposure to P. Allen from his books and TV shows, I enjoyed how his personal stories brought additional life to the garden and home.  He is an amazing storyteller (and not to mention quite funny), and you can see how he allowed Moss Mountain to continue tell that story with the details incorporated into the house, gardens and animals on the farm.  Allen was a tremendous host and I hope I have an opportunity to visit with him again in the future.

Twilight at Moss Mountain Farm, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

The gardens surrounding the house were divided by elevation, structures, hedges and gates to create different rooms. This helped create different vistas in the garden and guide you from space to space.

Twilight at Moss Mountain Farm, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Twilight at Moss Mountain Farm, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

garden2grow (9 of 116) Twilight at Moss Mountain Farm, Thinking Outside the Boxwood Twilight at Moss Mountain Farm, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Hedges throughout the property help provide mystery to what is around the next corner or force you to engage within the immediate space.

Twilight at Moss Mountain Farm, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Another favorite space that included hedges, fence and structure. My favorite juxtaposition of this elevated design moment is 180 degrees behind you is a wild path overlooking a pond below.

Twilight at Moss Mountain Farm, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Outside of being a passionate landscape designer and tv most Allen’s passion also lies in heritage bread poultry.  “Poultryville’ is his palatial poultry playground where he and his staff and preserving the genetics strains of birds that might otherwise be lost over the next few years.  You can hear the passion in his voice when he speaks on the topic.

Twilight at Moss Mountain Farm, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Twilight at Moss Mountain Farm, Thinking Outside the Boxwood

P. Allen Smith's poultry barn at Moss Mountain Farm with style influences from Palladian architecture . Image from Thinkingoutsidetheboxwood.com P. Allen Smith's Home viewed from near the poultry barn.  Moss Mountain Farm outside Little Rock, AK

I really enjoyed my time at Moss Mountain Farm with the team from P. Allen Smith, Garden2Grow influencers and the sponsors of the whole event. I wish I could have spent a bit more time in Little Rock explore the amazing food and drink scene!

SPONSORED: My trip to Moss Mountain Farm for the Garden2Grow event was paid for by the following sponsors.