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The Artful Garden: Creative Inspiration for Landscape Design

The Artful Garden: Creative Inspiration for Landscape Design
James van Sweden and Tom Christopher
Random House
Publication Date: 

Cloth, 188 pp., ISBN 978–1–400–06389–5, $40.00

Landscape architect James van Sweden, and horticulturist Tom Christopher, have produced a book presenting a new approach to a garden — that of an “artful garden.” The art they refer to may be found in sculpture, the use of light and shadow, the painterly approach, rhythm and movement, texture, as well as layering. These ideas are set forth in the six chapters, along with photographs of gardens where they have been used, including several from the Chicago Botanic Garden. There are also a number of paintings which provided inspiration for gardens. Within the section on rhythm and movement there is a wonderful conversation with Yo-Yo Ma and Julie Moir Messervy, who collaborated on the Toronto Music Garden, showing how they “let the music express itself in this landscape." The use of shadow is represented by a wonderful Brassai photograph, and van Sweden reminds the reader not to “neglect the use you can make of a backdrop of shadows to dramatize some brightly colored garden feature.”

Although most of the gardens shown in this book are much larger and more elaborate than any the average person would have, there are still many ideas that could be used effectively in a smaller space.

— Joan Richards, volunteer, Chicago Botanic Garden