The full name of the book is The Crevice Garden: How to make the perfect home for plants from rocky places and it was written by Paul Spriggs and Kenton Seth. I received a copy of the book back in April (thank you Filbert Press!). That means I've been picking up and reading bits of the book for almost five months now, what a luxurious way to read a book.
I suppose I should fess up right away that this is not going to be an normal book review, nor an impartial one. Not when I've been conversing with Kenton Seth for going on seven years. I first "met" him when he granted me a phone interview for a story I was writing for the Oregon Association of Nurseries on crevice gardens—Thriving between the cracks. I've been a fangirl of Kenton's and the crevice garden since then.
But here's the thing. I don't much care for the plants people create crevice gardens to grow. Fussy little flowering things. I do like the big buns, the cushion plants. Big mounds of interesting—many times spiky—foliage, yes please! I confessed this shocking realization to Kenton when he was in town (we finally got to meet in person!) to build a crevice garden at Cistus Nursery, on the private Rancho Cistus grounds (home to Sean Hogan and Preston Pew). He didn't seem to upset by my admission, which was pretty in character. Even though he's built dozens (hundreds?) of crevice gardens and is arguably the US authority on them, he's not a stickler for what exactly defines a "proper" crevice garden. Got rocks? Great. Want to use urbanite (broken pieces of unwanted concrete) instead? No problem. Want to plant in the cracks between boulders rather than flat rocks. Yep, that works.
|A different kind of crevice garden, at Rare Plant Research in Oregon City|
How can you not be charmed by someone who is so happy to see their craft interpreted in a way that works for the gardener, the creator of the space, rather than adhering to a set of RULES? The good news is, that feeling of joy at seeing a garden be what it's builder/owner wants it to be comes through loud and clear in the book. Kenton and Paul start the book explaining what exactly a crevice garden is, talk about natural rock gardens, and then delve into the history of what a crevice garden is and where it came from (very interesting stuff for anyone who enjoys learning about gardens and gardening styles).
|Table of contents, screenshot from Filbert Press website|
|Left to right: Saxon Holt, Kenton Seth, Jeremy Schmidt—at Cistus Nursery|
|A sketch of the garden, I believe drawn by Sean Hogan and refined by Jeremy Schmidt|
But it was a busy night with lots of people mingling about. I decided to make a trip out on a quieter day last month, to snap a few photos of the magic already happening in this very newly built (and not quite complete) feature. It's worth noting a bit of man-made shade has been created for these poor plants which are enduring summer-time planting with extreme heat and no rain. Of course Sean has chosen to plant up some of the crevices with exactly the type of plants I would have planted...