Synopses & Reviews
North America's eastern half, roughly from the Midwest to the Atlantic, was once a great deciduous forest. Although centuries of human intervention have cleared much of the land, the timeless forest remains in the spirit of the place. Today, even the shortest period of human neglect allows for the resurgence of the process of forest creation. The greatest gardens — and happiest gardeners — in this area will be those that take into account the nature of the land.
In his unique, and often thought-provoking new book, award-winning author Darke promotes and stunningly illustrates a garden aesthetic based on the strengths and opportunities of the woodland, including play of light, sound, and scent; seasonal drama; and the architectural interest of woody plants.
While written from a compelling and fresh perspective, The American Woodland Garden never strays from the realistic concerns of the everyday gardener. Information on planting, soils, and maintenance provides a firm foundation for horticultural accomplishment. An alphabetical list of woodland plants offers useful advice for every garden, emphasizing native trees, shrubs, vines, ferns, grasses, sedges, and flowering perennials that fit the forest aesthetic. More than 700 of the author's stunning photographs show both the natural palette of plants in the wild and the effects that can be achieved with them in garden settings. Many of the most striking photos in the book were taken at classic gardens that are paragons of an ecological style.
The American Woodland Garden is a clarion call to a new awareness of our relationship to the natural world. This book will take its rightful place among the classic works that have influenced our concept of the American landscape.
"Reads like a memoir. It's also a visual showcase, with more than 700 of Darke's exceptional photographs gracing its pages, all documented with an attention to detail gardeners will appreciate ... A valuable reference for those who seek to follow Darke's call to 'capture the spirit of the deciduous forest' in their own spaces."—Moira Sheridan, People Places Plants, Spring 2003
"An accomplished work of epic proportions. ... Wherever you garden and no matter how extensive or small the woodland you tend — even if it is just a single birch tree — The American Woodland Garden offers the most comprehensive, inspiring, and thought-provoking advice you are ever likely to find within the confines of a single volume. As the text on the inside jacket correctly claims, this book is destined to become a classic."—Bob Purnell, Gardens Illustrated, December 2003 Fine Gardening
"A gallery of breathtaking images of native woodlands in all seasons...This is an inspiring reference that synthesizes ecology and horticulture, presented by a philosophical author with an artist's eye."—Virginia Small, Fine Gardening, January/February 2003 Virginia Small
"A must-have for anyone interested in woodlands and gardening." Bristol Herald Courier
In his unique and often thought-provoking new book, award-winning author Rick Darke promotes and stunningly illustrates a garden aesthetic based on the strengths and opportunities of the woodland, including play of light, sound, and scent; seasonal drama; and the architectural interest of woody plants. An alphabetical listing of woodland plants offers useful advice for every garden, emphasizing native trees, shrubs, vines, ferns, grasses, sedges, and flowering perennials that fit the forest aesthetic. More than 700 stunning photographs, taken by the author, show both the natural palette of plants in the wild and the effects that can be achieved with them in garden settings.
In this volume, lushly illustrated with color photographs, Darke, a landscape designer retired from the Longwood Garden (PA) staff, advocates what may be for some a new aesthetic of gardening: "tending a modest piece of ground that is a part of the larger forest." Though focusing on the Eastern deci
This award-winning book promotes a garden aesthetic based on the strengths and opportunities of the woodland, including play of light, sound, scent, seasonal drama, and the architectural interest of woody plants. Accompanied by an alphabetical list of suitable plants.
About the Author
Rick Darke is a landscape design consultant, author, lecturer, and photographer based in Pennsylvania who blends art, ecology, and cultural geography in the creation and conservation of livable landscapes. Darke served on the staff of Longwood Gardens for twenty years, and in 1998 he received the Scientific Award of the American Horticultural Society. His work has been featured in the New York Times and on National Public Radio. Darke has studied North American plants in their habitats for over three decades, and his research and lectures have taken him to Africa, Australia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Chile, Japan, New Zealand, and northern Europe. His books include The Encyclopedia of Grasses for Livable Landscapes (2007), The American Woodland Garden (2002), and In Harmony with Nature (2000).