Fearless Gardening - a book review and giveaway
Congratulations to Suellen who wins two books from Timber Press! Thanks to all who entered the contest!
I have had the pleasure of knowing Loree Bohl since moving here to Washington. We work together on the Hardy Plant Society of Oregon board. Unfortunately, most of our meetings have been virtual for the past year. I got a chance to preview a digital copy of her book and posted the following review. I also got a physical copy of the book afterward and it is a beautiful book and very inspiring, especially to gardeners who hate to hear the phrase "that can't be done here".
The concept of “fearless gardening” encourages gardeners to defy convention and grow the plants they love. Author Loree Bohl has done just that in her Portland, Oregon garden where she grows an impressive collection of “spiky plants” like agaves and yuccas. Climate-wise, Portland may not seem like an ideal location for these types of plants but as she proves in the book, where there's a will, there is a way.
Influenced by Ruth Bancroft and Ganna Walska – who both created influential gardens in California, Bohl began to study how the plants she craved grew in the Pacific Northwest region and observed how adventurous gardeners in the area were using them.
Loree advises readers that in order to pursue their desires, some long-established gardening rules have to be ignored. Ten commandments of gardening are totally debunked here and it all makes perfect sense. For example, the notion of planting in threes and making pathways that are wide enough for two people to walk side by side, are ridiculous when you have a small garden and want to grow as many plants as you can. However, as she explains, there should be a method to this audaciousness and good design should not be ignored.
A strong design sense is evident in her garden and she shows how a pleasing garden can be achieved by using repetition plants, creating vignettes, using texture and working with containers and vertical spaces when your real estate is limited. “Cramscaping” (using as many plants as you can without any bare ground showing) is a concept she highly recommends.
Learning what plants grow in your garden, experimenting with those that are considered marginal in your area, taking gardening zones with a grain of salt and working with micro-climates are just some of the concepts in this wonderfully inspiring book. Chapters are alternated with garden profiles of gardens, both corporate and individual, which illustrate gardeners who are stepping outside the box.