Preparing for 2018 – preview/update

G A R D E N S, GARDEN DESIGN | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

It’s that time for reflecting on accomplishments and misses along with planning for the year to come, and during Ohio winters those are the only two items we can really do for our gardens.  I have been placing seed orders, flipping through books, designing, reading articles, giving talks, designing some more and compiling long lists of things to do, with the majority only after the freeze of winter breaks.

Garden Tours from the APLD conference in Boston. Thinking Outside the BoxwoodA stop along the APLD Boston Conference garden tours. Next set of posts to include individual garden tour recaps.


One of my lists includes all the blog topics I want to explore and write, which continues to grow every year from the last since I never write as many posts as I plan. A redesign for the blog is in the works (about time), along with creating an official content calendar to keep us on top of posting.  The plan is not to post for the sake of posting, but making sure I am planning ahead, getting the photos I need, have deadlines for writing and creating graphics. I don’t think I will ever get to a weekly post (or I should say we because it’s a team effort with Allison), but I do plan on putting more effort in dedicating time to


Terrain in Westport, CT Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Terrain in Westport, CT from my visit on the way out to Boston. More photos from the visit back in this post HERE.


I started the blog to share garden design from my point of view and knowledge of plants and how to install and maintain. I don’t check my site analytics nor ever wish to include ads. I write for the comments (please comment) and meeting anyone that has said they read a post.  I pin my content to Pinterest and get excited for every repin, not because of the exposure, but because someone is learning from my content or are inspired by the image. I am still trying to figure out what the future of the blog will become, but for now it will stay a place to share work, inspiration and know-how from my point of view.

Holiday lights in German Village. Feature a collar of greens and curly willow lit from interior spot lights. McCullough's Landscape & Nursery. Thinking Outside the Boxwood

Holiday Containers from this past Christmas, this par looked like torches when you past them on the street at night.


First posts of the new year will be garden tours from the APLD conference. Will post these in a quick session this week. Please comment or email me if there is anything specific you think I should write about.






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.