cloth, 288 p., $34.95
Renowned British horticulturist Beth Chatto is celebrated for her introduction of ecology to British garden design. When designing her property decades ago, she had to contend with damp areas that required special consideration. She needed to select plants that would survive under varying circumstances. Her study of ecology led her to develop a list of such plantings, and her book tells about her gardening experiences, which led up to this selection of superior plants and recommended plans for damp situations.
In this newly revised classic, the author takes the reader through the different phases in the development of the series of her damp gardens, beginning with clearing a site to long term garden maintenance. Her literary style is intimate, yet instructive. She shares information about both her successes and those that did not meet her standards in candid terms. She urges readers to become familiar with the origins of individual garden plants; unless the gardener reproduces a similar environment, the plantings will struggle and likely decline in their new home. Chatto’s critical discussion of individual plants and classification of plants by different types of environments are excellent aides in garden planning. The author then provides examples of garden plans where plantings are good companions, complementing each other to effect year–round beauty. Handsomely illustrated with full color photographs, the book is highly recommended for all gardeners.
— Marilyn K. Alaimo, garden writer and volunteer, Chicago Botanic Garden