cloth, 456 p., $39.9
Rivaling her own best-selling book, The Well-Tended Perennial Garden, Tracy DiSabato-Aust has produced a book that addresses all the layers of garden making. Including trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals and bulbs, The Well-Designed Mixed Garden is a refreshing mix of garden design, color theory and plant encyclopedia. Any student of garden design will be delighted to read — and use — this book. At nearly 500 pages, it is a prodigious work.
Unlike so many books on garden design that tempt readers with pretty pictures and give little or no instruction as to how to accomplish such delights, this work begins with site evaluation and takes readers through the complete design process. Plenty of inspiring photographs, many of the author's own designs, guide readers through the process.
A section on plant combinations addresses the nitty-gritty of pairing plants to transform good gardens into smashing ones! All of the plants mentioned throughout the text are detailed in an encyclopedic listing of traits including design aspects such as form, texture and foliage interest in addition to the usual height, zone, etc.
Topping it all off are lists upon lists that will jog the reader's mind. These range from what plant will do best where, to plants for winter interest, to plants for attracting butterflies, adding fragrance or providing a specific form.
Because Tracy DiSabato-Aust breaks down abstract concepts and lays them out in both written and pictorial form, including beautiful watercolor designs and backing them up with concrete references, this book will appeal to both the novice and veteran gardener.
— John R. Beaudry