I wanted to review this book because...
- I know Mr. Tychonievich and I was curious to see how his writing style would translate to a book (extremely well). That said, this is not his first, that distinction goes to Plant Breeding for the Home Gardener. But since that topic is a little over my head/not really my jam, I didn't read that one.
- I'm still hopelessly in love with crevice gardens and hoped there would be a little coverage of that style of gardening in the book. And there is!
One of the things I like most about the book is that Joseph explores many different styles of rock gardens, and treats them all with equal excitement and curiosity. There was no pretension, no "well this is the "right way" to do it" attitude.
|Southwest style rock garden, photo by Saxon Holt|
And the layout of the book gets right to the meat, aka the garden visits. Joseph did his homework and visited 10 very different gardens, photos and text on each of those visits is right up front after the introduction.
|Masses of stone with Bergenia, from the Aysgarth Edwardian Rock Garden.|
Photo by Joseph Tychonievich
The gardens vary widely, and there's something to learn from each one.
|Saxifrages in a rock crevice at Glenn Shapiro's garden. Photo by Joseph Tychonievich|
One of his visits, to the garden of Phyllis Gustafson, is in Medford, Oregon. I first learned of her garden while researching an article I wrote on crevice gardens for the Oregon Association of Nurseries (here, if you're curious). I really should try and visit sometime soon.
|Phyllis Gustafson's front crevice garden. Photo Joseph Tychonievich|
After the garden visits Joseph rounds out the book with sections on rock gardening techniques (styles and construction, soil, containers, climate, getting (and making) more plants) and then an in-depth look at the plants themselves, the ones that thrive in a rock garden environment. Here Joseph doesn't stick to just the traditional rock garden plants, but shares over 100 pages of different types such as Cacti, Conifers, Daphnes, Hosta, as well as those more commonly thought of such as Saxifrage and Sempervivum.
If you're all at curious about rock gardening (check out the garden I visited on Tuesday for another bit of inspiration) I strongly encourage you to read this book. It's not rock(et) science, anyone can do it! A warning though, Joseph is a gifted writer who could probably get you excited about gardening with weeds. Tread carefully...
|Cliff Booker's front garden, seen from above. Photo Joseph Tychonievich|
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