The large, 255 page, hardcover book with full color photos—including site plans for each of the 22 projects covered—arrived just before for Christmas. I love site plans, to me they read like artwork, I was thrilled to see the space given to printing them at a size I could easily absorb.
Below is the plan for the Grove Studio Garden, a plant-filled gift to the neighborhood around the offices of Raymond Jungles, Inc. in Coconut Grove, Florida, as well as a space enjoyed by the firm's staff.
As I worked through the book my "West Coast eyes" never did manage to adjust to the expanses of lush green lawn that seem so effortless in the tropical locations featured, nor was I able to shake my bromeliad-in-the-ground fueled jealousy. Unfortunately the photo captions do not include many plant names, so there was no adding to my plant lust-list as I read (maybe that's a good thing?).
The photo below, from the Pine Tree North Garden in Miami Beach, Florida, shows the sort of casual, plant-filled spaces referenced in this statement on the firm's website: "The firm’s design priorities are generated by the scale and functionality of a space. Simple, clean, and well-detailed hardscape elements are the quintessential bones of a garden. Planting volumes vary and bold colors and textures are used with intent."
I am a little confused by the second half of the the photo's caption though, which reads: "Jungles extended Studio MK27's concept of a simple green roof by incorporating flowering bromeliads that can be seen from above and below." Flowering bromeliads? As opposed to nonflowering bromeliads? What does that even mean?
Which brings me to my primary complaint about the book, there is a bit of disconnect between the writing and the dramatic images of the projects. Even more so from the engaging way that Mr. Jungles spoke about the projects in the Garden Conservancy lecture that spurred me to read the book. In fact the book reads a lot like the project cut sheets I used to be responsible for putting together when I was in the marketing department of a local architecture firm. Just the facts, and no take-away, or lesson for the reader. Then again maybe there doesn't need to be? The book doesn't claim to be anything other than a monograph on Raymond Jungles work, which it is—a gorgeous one at that.
I had the strangest sense of déjà vu as I turned the page and saw this photo, from the Golden Rock Inn Garden in the West Indies...
- The bromeliads mentioned in the caption are Portea Jungles, grown for their beautiful, tall, long-lived flowers.
- The book does not endeavor to teach planting design but to inspire restoration of natural habitat and celebrate plants. However, many of the image captions call out plant species with latin names, and the publisher knew that a balance of plant identification was important for our fans.
- We take the opportunity in our lectures to go into projects in a deeper way, as well as use Instagram to share our knowledge. My daughter is the sole person in our marketing department and also is the creator of my 300+ slide lectures. She brilliantly finds before and after image pairings on projects she has never visited. Most projects, she has never visited.
- Yes, lawn is easy when you have 60 inches of rainfall every year. We always try to minimize and promote lawn substitutes like Phylla nodiflora.
I received a complimentary review copy of Beyond Wild: Gardens and Landscapes By Raymond Jungles from Monacelli Press. I was under no obligation to write about the book. All photos courtesy Monacelli Press. Words © 2009-2022 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.