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The Artful Garden: Creative Inspiration for Landscape Designby James Van Sweden
Synopses & Reviews
“I want to put the mystery back into the heart of garden design, where it needs to be. It’s what lures you in through the gate, keeps you moving through the landscape, and fills you with excitement along the way. The sense of mystery is what turns a mere display of plants, paths, and ornaments into an adventure.”
—James van Sweden
Guided by world-renowned landscape architect James van Sweden and horticulture expert Tom Christopher, any gardener can learn the secrets of the gardener’s art and absorb the essence of inspired garden design. In their gifted hands, creating your own perfect garden, with its own alluring mysteries, turns out to be not only easy but a delight.
Whether it’s a ten-foot-square city terrace or a ten-acre expanse, the same principles apply: the intelligent use of positive and negative space, of form and scale, of light and shadow, of rough and smooth textures. Do you want a garden you can immerse yourself in? A garden you can smell and listen to as well as observe? An exuberant garden or a contemplative garden?
In this elegantly written and visually stunning book, van Sweden reveals the secrets of famous gardens around the world and encourages you to find inspiration in the arts—in painting (from America’s classic regional artists to the abstract expressionists), music (from classical to jazz), sculpture, even dance. He introduces you to famous artists who share how their art has influenced the design of their own gardens, and teaches you to think not in terms of borders and beds or even paths and meadows but of a tapestry woven from sky, trees, rocks, vines, flowers, grasses, and space.
Richly illustrated throughout with magnificent photographs, The Artful Garden both tells and shows, sharing with beginning and experienced gardeners a wealth of inspiration and practical help. “What’s my message?” van Sweden asks in conclusion. The wise answer: “Don’t squander the potential for surprise and wonder.” This beautiful book guarantees everyone who reads it a priceless store of gardening wisdom.
"A revolutionary pioneer of the naturalistic New American Garden style, van Sweden (Architecture in the Garden) explains how gardeners can glean inspiration and borrow effective techniques from the arts. Whether the muse is painting or jazz, mystery novels or modern dance, van Sweden offers practical advice on how thoughtful examination can help the amateur gardener understand and control color, line, volume, light, and movement in the garden. He encourages the gardener to think in terms of composition, orchestration, rhythm, and pattern, and shows how these are employed successfully in his own award-winning gardens. One need not be a connoisseur to benefit from this advice. Less important than whether one has cultivated taste is whether one can understand why one's preferences are personally appealing. Van Sweden offers straightforward advice for translating that idiosyncratic understanding into an assured garden design. Particularly illuminating are his conversations with artists, including painter Robert Dash and cellist Yo-Yo Ma, about how their artistic visions find expression in their private gardens. Like the author's classic Bold Romantic Gardens, this is a refreshing, innovative source of inspiration. 98 photos. (Feb.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
Book News Annotation:
A leading landscape designer and a horticulturalist showcases six diverse gardens along with conversations on the artistic concepts behind their inspiration. For example, the hybrid nature of creativity is explored through a conversation with the designer of the gardens of cellist Yo-Yo Ma who discusses the relationship of rhythm and movement to landscape design. The book includes landscape plans, art illustrations, and quotes on creativity. Van Sweden is with Oehme, van Sweden & Associates, a firm which influenced the New American Garden style. Christopher is a garden writer. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
About the Author
Following training as an architect and landscape architect in the United States and the Netherlands, James van Sweden formed a partnership with landscape architect and horticulturist Wolfgang Oehme. A revolutionary garden style quickly emerged and continues to flourish today at their international firm, Oehme, van Sweden & Associates. Van Sweden’s first book, Bold Romantic Gardens, co-authored with Mr. Oehme, is considered a classic in the field. James van Sweden is a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects and the recipient of many awards, including the prestigious 2010 ASLA Design Medal. He lives in Washington, D.C.
Tom Christopher apprenticed for two years at the New York Botanical Garden. Subsequent to graduation from NYBG’s School of Professional Horticulture, he spent a decade restoring the landscape of a historic Hudson River Valley estate. He has written articles for The New York Times and served as a columnist at House & Garden and Martha Stewart Living. The author of seven books, he currently gardens in the hills of western Massachusetts.
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