Synopses & Reviews
Over the last 25 years, Heidi Gildemeister has converted a dry landscape on the western Mediterranean coast into a gorgeous, thriving ten-acre garden. Her own experience and research have taught her the secrets of utilizing drought-resistant plants and waterwise gardening practices to allow the soil and plants to absorb enough winter rain so they can survive the dry summer.
Now this expert gardener, author of the widely praised Mediterranean Gardening: A Waterwise Approach, shares her wealth of knowledge in a lovely, inspirational volume that shows us how to create a lush garden in mediterranean-climate regions throughout the world. Her presentation of 20 dream gardens-among them an olive grove in bloom, a haven by the sea, and a scented shade garden, each with extensive plant lists and practical advice-is at the heart of her book, illustrated with more than 200 of her own, exquisite full-color photographs.
"Mediterranean-climate regions, characterized as 'winter-wet and summer-dry' within a narrow set of specialized conditions, make up only a tiny percentage of the Earth's surface, including the Mediterranean basin and small areas of southern Australia, California, central Chile and the Cape of South Africa. The aesthetic, however, is ubiquitous: 'all things Mediterranean have become fashionable.' Gildemeister, an author, lecturer and founding member and past president of the Mediterranean Garden Society, writes with evident enthusiasm for pursuing that aesthetic in the face of 'hot, dry summers and strong light' or 'devastating winds, destructive fires, and erosion.' Her exuberant text takes readers on a whirlwind tour of 'Mediterranean Dream Gardens' from olive groves and sheep parks to city courtyards. Two brief initial chapters cover basic horticultural and design issues specific to this style of gardening. The remainder is devoted to 'inspirational garden projects' that tackle a wide range of objectives, sites and challenges. These chapters are well researched, informative and practical, each concluding with a thorough listing of appropriate plants. Unfortunately, the lists themselves aren't illustrated, and almost none of the recommended plants are identified in captions for the 207 lush color photographs. This is doubly frustrating, since Gildemeister tempts readers from all climates with the timeless beauty, environmental prudence and rich history of Mediterranean gardening. (Sept.) Warring ideologies, polarizing debate and ugly name-calling ('fanatic,' 'libertine,' 'atheist'): sound familiar? Well, it's not the election of 2004 or even 2000, but of 1800. With this year's election imminent, readers may find some historical perspective in two first-rate accounts of that other hotly contested election in which America's democratic future was very much at stake." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Coastal gardeners throughout the United States will benefit from the advice in this practical, inspirational, and illustrated book on Mediterranean gardening, which is beautiful year-round.