What were they thinking?

How often have you looked at a designed landscape and wondered what had inspired the creator to develop the area in this particular way! This book has been both a revelation and a comfort as there are times when the source of inspiration may be clear and obvious – for example, when the garden is an obvious reflection of its surroundings – while at others it can be quite obtuse as when the designer, in search of inspiration, delves into childhood experiences of which, of course, we could have no knowledge and, so, are unable to be in a position to interpret their design.

The Inspired Landscape

The designs, twenty one in total, discussed in this book are outside the experience of the vast majority of gardeners and while I have referred to them as “gardens” above it would be more accurate to call them “landscape designs”. They are far from the domestic in their dimensions, scale and impact and are truly impressive, awe-inspiring and works of art in themselves. The gardener of domestic experience could well be puzzled by them but Susan Cohan’s book provides a wonderful, insightful and very interesting insight into what lay behind these landscapes; what it was that inspired each designer.

Some were pleasantly obvious and, to me, comfortable: Shlomo Aronson’s design at the Ben-Gurion University of the Neger, Beersheba, Israel is directly inspired by the surrounding desert landscape, for example, while Charles Jencks’ design for the Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centre, Inverness, based on dividing human cells is not immediately obvious. Likewise, without being informed, it is not obvious that Tom Stuart-Smith’s box parterres in the walled garden at Broughton Grange are based on a microscopic picture of the cells of leaves. Some designers carry on in the style of local gardening traditions, others look to other garden designers for inspiration (is this copying?) while sculpture, plant form, even clothing patterns have inspired others. Some look to the past, – history, myths and legends – while others can impressively embrace the past and bring in along into the present and into the future, such as Peter Latz’s Landscape Park in Duisboury Nord, Germany, where he took a derelict industrial area of vast scale and, rather than clearing the area to begin on a blank canvas, kept as much as possible or ore bunkers, railway tracks and immense walls and made garden spaces within them which have served the community splendidly.

Each project is well illustrated with initial sketches and plans, design drawings and photographs with an outline of the journey from inspiration to completion. The author’s interviews with the various designers have provided an insight into an area with which I would be otherwise unfamiliar and have made the reading of these landscapes very enjoyable indeed. This is an excellent book to be enjoyed at a leisurely pace and includes work by:

  • Shlomo Aronson, Sheila Brady, and James Burnett
  • Gilles Clément, Gary Hilderbrand, and Charles Jencks
  • Mary Margaret Jones, Mikyoung Kim, and Peter Latz
  • Shunmyo Masuno, Signe Nielsen, and Cornelia Hahn Oberlander
  • Laurie Olin, Ken Smith, and Stephen Stimson
  • Tom Stuart-Smith, Christine Ten Eyck, and Ryoko Ueyama
  • Kim Wilkie, Thomas Woltz, and Kongjian Yu

 

 [The Inspired Landscape, Susan Cohan,Timber Press, 2016, Hardback, 272pp, £35, ISBN: 9781604694390]

Paddy Tobin

To find out more about the Irish Garden Plant Society visit our website or follow us on Facebook

 

Primulas – The Plant Lover’s Guide

Our beautiful native pale yellow primroses announce, “Spring is here” more effectively than any other plant. It is no wonder we love them and delight in seeing them each year. They have a simple beauty which endears them to young and old, to gardener and non-gardener alike.

Primula vulgaris (1)
Our native primrose, Primula vulgaris 

Beyond the native species of our own country and others there are innumerable cultivars, bred by enthusiastic individuals and by dedicated nurseries,  which now grace our gardens.  Barnhaven Primroses is one such nursery and it enjoys not only a reputation for excellence but is also held in warm regard by those who love to grow these obliging and beautiful plants.

Lynne Lawson and her daughter, Jodie Mitchell, are the present forces behind Barnhaven Primroses. Twenty years ago Lynne moved from the U.K. to Brittany and, by chance, settled within a mile of the Barnhaven Primroses Nursery which had been established there shortly before.  Some years later she, with her husband, took over the nursery and Jodie later joined her there in running the business.

Barnhaven Nursery was begun in Oregon in the 1930s by an out of work pianist named Florence Bellis. She was the first to engage in the hand pollinating of primulas on a commercial basis and produced new strains, introduced new colours – the first true blues and pinks – and transformed the world of primroses in the process. On her retirement in 1966 she passed her stock plants to customers of hers, the Sinclair family, who lived in the Lake District of England and Barnhaven Primulas were based there before moving to Brittany in 1990 under the care of Angela Bradford. David and Lynne Lawson continued the Barnhaven story from 2000 onwards and their daughter, Jodie Mitchell, and family have now joined them in the work.

Primula 'Kinlough Beauty' (1)
Primula ‘Kinlough Beauty’ which originated in Kinlough, Co. Leitrim, Ireland
Primula 'Guinivere'
Primula ‘Guinevere, a very old Irish variety

Mother and daughter, Lynne and Jodie, have co-written this book. It is one of the “Plant Lover’s Guides” series – an outstanding series – from Timber Press and follows the follows the same layout as the others: “Why We Love Primulas”, “Designing with Primulas”, “Understanding Primulas”, “100 Primulas for the Garden” and “Growing and Propagating”.

Without making a song and dance about it – though the book deserves fanfare, drum roll and wild unbridled dance – this is an excellent book to be commended without reservation. It will appeal to all lovers of primulas from beginner to enthusiast, accessible to the former yet interesting and useful to the latter. If primroses are your interest this book will delight you and, if not, this book will convince you that they should be.

Primula 'Dark Rosaleen' 20100412
Primula ‘Dark Rosaleen’ – from Irish primula breeder, Joe Kennedy. 

As a final word, I was delighted to see some Irish primulas included in the book: ‘Kinlough Beauty’, ‘Lady Greer’, ‘Guinevere’, ‘Dark Rosaleen’ and ‘Innisfree’ among others and to see a photograph of them growing so well in Carl Wright’s Caher Bridge Garden. We have perfect conditions here in Ireland for growing primroses and this would be an excellent handbook to those who wish to grow them.

Primula 'Dawn Ansell'
Primula ‘Dawn Ansell’ a “Jack in the Green” primula – the flower is surrounded by a ruff of green leaves – raised by Cecil Jones in Wales in the 1960s
Primula 'Dawn Ansell' (1)
Typical of many of these primroses, Primula ‘Dawn Ansell’ is a wonderfully easy plant to grow in the garden and can be divided regularly to increase numbers.

[The Plant Lover’s Guide to Primulas, Jodie Mitchell and Lynne Lawson, Timber Press, Oregon, 2016, HB, 246 pages, £17.99, ISBN: 978-1-60469-645-5]

Paddy Tobin

To find out more about the Irish Garden Plant Society visit our website or follow us on Facebook

Coming to Terms with Your Plants!

Amicia zygomeris is an uncommon and rather unusual looking plant. The leaves are of a peculiar shape, not unlike those of the tulip tree where what would normally be a pointed end of the leaf is blunt and double-lobed with an almost cut-off appearance leading to the common name of yolk-leaved Amicia and it is this foliage which is most attractive in the plant. On closer approach one sees the purple-veined stipules – which I would have called bracts but now know better – and later in the season yellow pea-like flowers emerge. All in all it is an odd thing, somewhat peculiar and out of the ordinary. Even the name is peculiar. Although “Amicia” is used as a girl’s name and generally explained as “One most loved” this plant is named in honour of John Baptiste Amici, an Italian scientist of the 19th century while the specific name derives from the botanical term “zygomorphic”,  as all parts of the plant display bilateral symmetry.

amicia-zygomeris-1
Amicia zygomeris – a strange plant with an equally strange name

A Botanist’s Vocabulary by Susan K. Pell and Bobbi Angell lists and illustrates 1,300 botanical terms and, while I would not suggest a cover to cover reading, even a quick browse will throw up some nuggets of interest.

botanists-vocabulary

As we enter autumn and winter those who delight in the winter colour of their beech hedges should realise that it is because the foliage is “marcesent” – the withered leaves remain attached. Those stickyback seedheads we threw at our friends woolly jumpers as children displayed “epizoochory”, seed dispersal via transportation on the outside of vertebrate animals (mostly mammals). How exactly they also managed to get into our minds and have us throw the seedpods at each other is still beyond me but I certainly recall the fun we had. These seeds could also have been described as “sticktights” – which makes sense!

Some plant parts grow upwards and others downwards: those stems that sprout from the roots of a perennial plant, such as a tree, that has been cut down are called “ratoons” while some bulbs have the ability to reposition themselves at a depth in the soil which is most beneficial to them sending a shoot down from the bulb to develop a new bulb where required and these are called “sinkers” or “droppers”.

During last summer I visited a population of our native Bee Orchid where “sexual deception” was the order of the day – parts of the flower of these orchids mimic a female insect, in this case a bee, tricking the male insect into attempting to mate with it – “pseudocopulation” – which leads to pollination. Clever! Clever as it might be the “perfect” flower is described as one that has functioning female and male reproductive parts!

ophrys-apifera-bee-orchid-33
Ophrys apifera, the Bee Orchid, which uses “sexual deception” for pollination

It is that type of book, in essence a list, a dictionary which one might dip into occasionally as needs be and also come across an interesting term to brighten your day.

Susan K. Pell is the Science and Public Programs Manager at the United States Botanic Garden and, formerly, Director of Science at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Bobbi Angell works at the New York Botanical Garden as an illustrator for botanists there.

[A Botanist’s Vocabulary, Susan K. Pell and Bobbi Angell, Timber Press, Portland Oregon, 2016, Hardback, 226 pages, £17.99, ISBN: 978-1-60469-563-2]

Paddy Tobin

To find out more about the Irish Garden Plant Society visit our website or follow us on Facebook

 

 

Magnificent Magnolias

As I live very close to Mount Congreve Gardens in Waterford, magnolias are a big part of my gardening year as I can see not only an unrivaled selection of magnolias but also plantings in numbers which cannot be seen anywhere else. The February flowering of Magnolia campbellii, a planting made over fifty years ago by the garden’s owner and creator Mr. Ambrose Congreve, is one of the most fabulous planting of magnolias anywhere in the world. The storms of February 2014 did a great deal of damage in the gardens but such events can at times bring improvement and the loss of two large cherry tree to the side of a pathway in one of the higher parts of the garden suddenly opened a vista over 150 metres of the canopies of Magnolia campbellii, a vista the famous horticulturalist, Roy Lancaster, said he had never witnessed in all his travels, not even in the forests of China, the natural home of Magnolia campbellii. There are as many Magnolia campbellii again in other parts of the garden and an avenue of Magnolia x soulangeana of over 100 metres.

magnolias

I cannot think of any other tree which gives as spectacular a display in the garden as the magnolia and while many are what might be described as forest trees, growing to fifty  feet or more, there are also many others which are perfectly suited cultivation in smaller gardens. Magnolia x soulangeana is probably the most commonly grown of these, a cross between Magnolia denudata and Magnolia liliflora made by Etienne Soulange-Bodin in Paris and which first flowered in 1826. In its various guises it has graced gardens worldwide ever since. Its creator had served in the army of Napoleon Bonaparte before his retirement to establish a nursery in Paris and his interest in magnolias and I always feel gladdened that he did not follow his own comment on war – “It would have been better for both parties that they stay at home to grow their cabbages.” Though, to be accurate, it seems he grew vegetables to a standard and in a variety not previously seen in Europe and his plant interests covered other species also; dahlias being one favourite.

There are many, many other magnolias – species and innumerable cultivars – which would add beauty to our gardens and joy to our senses. The Plant Lover’s Guide to Magnolias by Andrew Bunting gives a detailed description, along with excellent illustration, to 146 from which we might choose. The information for each is clear and concise and will guide selection with notes on size, hardiness and flowering times – somewhat critical with magnolias as those which flower earliest are prone to frost damage so it is important to make choices to suit your local conditions. There are introductory chapters: “Why I Love Magnolias” – which seems superfluous to me as I could not understand why anybody would  not love them – “Designing with Magnolias” and “Understanding Magnolias” which together give an informative introduction to the main section of the book and there is a concluding chapter on “Growing and Propagation Magnolias”.

Andrew Bunting is assistant director of the garden and director of collections at Chicago Botanic Garden and had previously worked at the Scott Arboretum in Pennsylvania for 25 years where he built a national collection of magnolias which gained recognition by the North American Plant Collections Consortium. So, quite simply, he is well experienced and well qualified to write a worthwhile book on this species. Given his background it is, perhaps, not surprising that he writes from an American perspective and that his comments relate to North America more specifically than to western Europe. Indeed, to my disappointment, neither Mount  Congreve nor Ireland receive a mention other than the listing of “Marjorie Congreve” as a form of Magnolia campbellii.

Nonetheless, my local bias aside, I could not but recommend this book. It is the most comprehensive, compact and convenient presentation on magnolias that is available. It is well written, well illustrated and wonderfully produced – another in the series of “Plant Lover’s Guides” from Timber Press, a thoroughly excellent series. If you are thinking of having some magnolias in your garden I would suggest you first purchase and read this book. Few garden centres stock a selection of magnolias so you will have very little choice locally. However, with a little research in this book, you can make a well-informed choice and may then to go on to source the tree which will give you joy and pleasure for many years to come.

[The Plant Lover’s Guide to Magnolias, Andrew Bunting, Timber Press, Portland, Oregon, 2016, Hardback, 229 pages, £17.99, ISBN: 978-1-604-659786]

Paddy Tobin

To find out more about the Irish Garden Plant Society visit our website or follow us on Facebook

 

Pottering about in the Garden!

The quiet times in our gardens regularly allow us to enjoy delightful moments when we may witness scenes not enjoyed by those who rush along through life – the robin who comes to snap up the disturbed worm, the wood pigeon bathing in the garden pond, the house sparrows raiding the hens’ food, the stoat bouncing among the shrubs, the young foxes stealing our shoes, the grey crows who work as a team with one teasing the cock pheasant to distract him from his food so another another may slip in to steal it or the silly pheasant who stands in front of me and does her dance of indecision to and fro before eventually going on her way.

beatrix-potter

For one more gifted, the rabbit becomes Peter or Benjamin; the hedgehog is Mrs. Tiggy Winkle; the duck is named Jemima; the frog morphs to Mr. Jeremy Fisher; and there is Squirrel Nutkin, Miss Moppet, the cat and, of course, Tom Kitten; Samuel Whiskers the rat; Ginger and Pickles, a dog and cat and many, many other animal characters which featured in the fabulous tales penned by Beatrix Potter and enjoyed by generations of children such that 150 million copies of her books have been sold around the world and continue to entertain children to this day.

Martha McDowell’s Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life: The Plants and Places that Inspired the Classic Children’s Tales is a biography of Beatrix Potter from her childhood days in London to her later life in the Lake District, exploring the influences and experiences which lead to the creation of her wonderful characters and books though her personal life and marriage and her activity  as a land conservationist, eventually leaving vast tracts to the National Trust. It is an account which gives a very interesting insight into one of the best known of English authors.

This is followed by a season by season description of a year in her garden – and she was a most enthusiastic and competent gardener as well as being an efficient estate manager. Despite her wealth and success her garden was a very modest one because this is how she wished it to be and how she enjoyed it and, perhaps, this account of her gardening also gives a great deal of insight into her character and personality.

A final section gives a guide to the tourist who might wish to visit her gardens – she had several houses and gardens in the Lake District – with all information that the visitor might need.

This was a very interesting read, one I enjoyed very much, especially so to see how many of the illustrations in her books were paintings of scenes in her own gardens or neighbourhood.

[Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life: The Plants and Places that Inspired the Classic Children’s Tales, Martha McDowell, Timber Press, Portland Oregon, 2013 – in its fifth reprint in 2015, Hardback, 339 pages, £16.99, ISBN: 978-1-60469-363-8]

Paddy Tobin

To find out more about the Irish Garden Plant Society visit our website or follow us on Facebook

 

Give a lot; Demand little!

Geraniums are among the most popular of garden plants and it is easy to understand why. They are versatile, easy to please and excellent performers. It is easy to find cultivars which will suit sun or shade, those for border display and others for ground cover under shrubs and trees.

GERANIUMS

Robin Parer is the owner of “Geraniaceae”, a mail-order nursery in California and specialises in geraniums with, at last count, 398 varieties on offer. She is the author of “The Plant Lover’s Guide to Hardy Geraniums”, one of twelve titles in the series of Plant Lover’s Guides published by Timber Press. This is the ninth of the series that I have read and it is a testimony to the design, editing and production standards that it appears as fresh and as interesting an approach to a plant genus as the first I read.

Geranium 'Rozanne'
Geranium ‘Rozanne’ regarded as the best perennial plant of the century!

As with others in the series, there are three introductory chapters, “Why I love Geraniums”, “Designing with Hardy Geraniums” and “Understanding Hardy Geraniums” before we get to the core of the book which is a selection of the very best and most suitable geraniums for our gardens. Every gardener seems to love viewing good plant photographs, reading of the plants and wondering if there is a place in the garden which would be perfect for it – the perfect fit of plant and conditions.

Geum 'Tai Mai' with Geranium 'Splish Splash'
Geranium ‘Splish Splash’ with Geum ‘Mai Tai’
Dianthus with Geranium sanguineum
Geranium cinerium with dianthus in the foreground

Robin Parer’s treatment of this selection divides into a number of categories, something probably unnecessary given the versatility of geraniums in the garden, but here it is used to highlight some aspect of each group so as to make our perusal all the more interesting. However, with the exception of the more demanding alpine species and those tender to our climate – which are quite few in numbers – the vast majority of the geraniums described are amenable to general planting in our gardens.

Geranium 'Mrs Kendall Clarke'  (2)
Geranium ‘Mrs. Kendall  Clarke’

A total of 140 hardy geraniums are beautifully illustrated, described succinctly, accurately and informatively and will lead the avid gardener to seek out more varieties for their own use. For example, I have a bed in the garden about 30 metres X 4 metres which has a line of mature ash trees running along the boundary behind it. It is an excellent bed for spring plants and I have snowdrops there in large drifts. Finding a plant which will grow over snowdrops without choking them is a challenge in itself so there is a great delight to find a geranium that will do this, will flower well, can be propagated easily and will thrive in the deep shade and arid conditions that the ash trees create. Geraniuim x cantabrigiense ‘Biokovo’ (white flowers)has performed that task perfectly for over ten years and three years ago I added Geranium x cantabrigiense ‘Karmina’ (pink flowers) to the planting. I came on Geranium x cantabrigense ‘Cambridge'(a lighter pink) only a fortnight ago but, with the help of this book, I now have another selection I can seek out – with eleven cultivars of this cross described. This is just one example of the wealth of information in the book and why it will be so useful to the gardener.

Geranium cantabrigense 'Biokovo'
Geranium x cantabrigense ‘Biokovo’ – a perfect plant as groundcover over spring bulbs in dry shade

A later section of the book deals with “Growing and Propagating” – excellent information –  while there is also information on where one might buy or see plants along with other minor offerings in the appendices.

Each of the books in this series has been a joy to read and likely to be a standby reference book for many years to come with abundant material for the enthusiast as much as for the beginner. A success!

Geranium nodosum ex Frances McDonald
Geranium nodosum which thrives in shade

Oh, by the way, the term “hardy geranium” seems to be gaining in usage as the confusion between “geranium”, the garden plant, and “pelargonium”, the house geranium, continues with some!

[The Plant Lover’s Guide to Hardy Geraniums, Robin Parer, Timber Press, Portland Oregon, 2016, Hardback, 272 pages, £17.99, ISBN: 978-1-60469-418-5] 

Paddy Tobin

To find out more about the Irish Garden Plant Society visit our website or follow us on Facebook

 

Rainy Days are Reading Days!

It is the first of April, the weather is dreadful but it has provided an opportunity to catch up on book reviews. There is always a queue of books to be read and often it is more pleasant to read the next one that write about the previous. This must be one of the busy publishing times of the year as a number of new titles have arrived in the post this week – enough to prompt me to clear some from the stack by the fireside to make room for the new arrivals.

This present batch is a diverse one so likely to have something to appeal to everybody. Owen Johnston’s “Arboretum” is written by a man who loves trees and presents his research in a most enjoyable manner; Thomas Rainer and Claudia West’s  “Planting in a Post-Wild World” has been taking the American gardening world by storm with its suggested approach to planting; Ken Druse has written another classic with “The New Shade Garden”; Paul Dickey and Marion Brenner present a marvellous selection of “Outstanding American Gardens” while Linda Chalker-Scott tells us “How Plants Work” in an entertaining and informative manner. There is much to enjoy and I hope you do enjoy some of them.

Arboretum cover image

Arboretum: When 35 years of intense interest and study is condensed into a book it is sure to contain a depth and breadth of material rarely encountered elsewhere and when it is written in a style that is both entertaining as well as informative it cannot but be recommended – especially at this time of year when we celebrate our annual Tree Week. Dr. Owen Johnston’s interest in trees, begun at the age of 13, has continued unabated ever since. Over these years he has researched and recorded more than 80,000 specimen trees; is presently Registrar to The Tree Register maintaining the definitive database of exceptional trees in Britain and has previously published The Collins Tree Guide and Champion Trees of Britain and Ireland. It strikes me that the greatest achievement of this book is that it makes an enormous volume of information accessible in a manner which is very enjoyable for the reader. Trees are impressive, the largest plants of our gardens, landmarks on our landscape, with longevity which diminishes our short span and it is a joy to share Owen Johnston’s love of them.  A book I recommend highly.

Arboretum – A History of the Trees grown in Britain and Ireland, Dr. Owen Johnston, Whittet Books, Stanstead, 2015, HB, 480 pages, £40,ISBN 978 1 873580 97 4.

SPECIAL OFFER AVAILABLE to IGPS Members(or readers here, I suppose!): Purchase on www.booksystemsplus.com   Enter “IGPS” in the voucher box at Checkout to get 20% discount off the retail price.

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Planting in a Post wild World

Planting in a Post-Wild World by Thomas Rainer and Claudia West proposes a major change to the way we select and develop our gardens, that we should seek to imitate how plants grow in the wild – all together in resilient plant communities which grow together rather than a collection of individuals; that plants be valued for their performance and adaptability and be chosen because they fit together in their growing requirements and so provide us with care-free gardens which imitate nature. They begin from the premise that we all love and long for natural planting yet our gardening activity very often is epitomised by a constant fight against this very nature. The approach is very similar to that of Piet Oudolf and Nigel Dunnett and, while I have admired these gardens in certain locations – the High Line and around the Olympic grounds in London, for example – I don’t feel any immediate longing to apply these suggestions in my own garden. Because of this, I found the book interesting but without relevance to my own gardening. It may well appeal to those engaged in landscape design in public spaces. The American Horticultural Society recently announced its book awards for 2016 and this was among those chosen for award so it has come highly recommended.

Planting in a Post-Wild World, Thomas Rainer and Claudia West, Timber Press, Portland, Oregon, HB, 270 pages, £20, ISBN: 978-10-60469-553-3

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the new shade gardens

Very often it is only as one’s garden ages that the necessity of dealing with shade becomes an issue. The trees which were so small when planted can create planting conditions we had not anticipated. We can view these changes as a problem or as an opportunity but we certainly cannot ignore them and expect the sun-loving plants which we first planted to continue to perform in the new conditions. Ken Druse has a range of excellent books to his credit and he continues with this latest. He gives a comprehensive guide to creating a shade garden dealing with all aspects of the process from design, soil preparation, tree selection and pruning and, most enjoyably, the vast array of flowers which grow best in shade. While aimed primarily at American gardeners it will be of great interest and relevance to Irish gardeners also. The illustrations are excellent and the writing perfectly enjoyable. A good one – as always from Ken Druse!

The New Shade Garden, Ken Druse,  Abrams & Chronicle Books, London, 2015, HB, 255 pages, £25, ISBN: 9781617691041

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outstanding american gardens

In the United States, The Garden Conservancy marked its 25th anniversary with this wonderful publication, Outstanding American Gardens: A Celebration. 25 Years of the Garden Concervancy The Conservancy was founded in 1989 and has over 3,000 private gardens across the country that have opened to the public through its “Open Days Program.” This book presents eight gardens that the conservancy has helped preserve and another 43 private gardens that are part of the programme.  It is a book of beauty and delight and amazing diversity and, given the geographical spread of the gardens over many climatic regions and the fact that they are presented in various seasons, it presents a fabulous selection of designs, plant selections and utter beauty for us to enjoy. The general layout might be compared to that of a magazine as gardens are presented through excellent and large size photographs while the text rarely extends to more than a page. It is sufficient to give us a very pleasant and enjoyable peep into a wide selection of gardens, gardening styles and plant selections. I found it thoroughly enjoyable which was best read a little at a time.

Outstanding American Gardens: A Celebration 25 Years of the Garden Conservancy, Page Dickey and Marion Brenner, Abrams & Chronicle, London, 2015, HB, 270 pages, £30, ISBN: 9781617691652

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how plants work

Some knowledge of what influences how our plants grow is certainly going to be a benefit to any gardener. We, generally, pick up snippets here and there – magazine articles, our own experience and the experience of other gardener, for example – but it is worthwhile reading some material which is more authoritative and comprehensive. Linda Chalker-Scott has a background in horticulture and is a certified arborist, as well as other experience and qualifications which qualify her as someone we can safely listen to. She has both the academic background and the practical experience we would hope to see in somebody writing a book on How Plants Work – The science behind the amazing things plants do. A book promising to introduce the reader to the science of their hobby might be a little off-putting but all is presented in a light, enjoyable, readable, accessible and enjoyable manner that it is interesting from beginning to end.

How Plants Work – The science behind the amazing things plants do, Linda Chalker-Scott, Timber Press, Portland/London, 2015, Softback, 235pages, £15, ISBN: 978-1-60469-338-6

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Paddy Tobin

To find out more about the Irish Garden Plant Society visit our website or follow us on Facebook