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. 

 


 

Timber Press Giveaway

Timber Press is generously giving away a copy of "Fearless Gardening" as well as "The Art of Gardening" to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment below and your name will be entered in a drawing that will be held on January 15th. 

This contest is only open to U.S. residents. The two books will be mailed from Timber Press after the contest has ended.

Good luck and happy fearless gardening!

(All photos courtesy of Timber Press)

 

Comments

  1. I bet Tony Avent at Plant Delights would love this book. He likes to push the limits of garden zones.

    You’re inspiring me to get this book!

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  2. Very much looking forward to reading Loree's book! Love gardening in microclimate spaces in my garden and pushing the limits.

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  3. Thanks for reading and reviewing Fearless Gardening Phillip! I keep meaning to ask you if you've ever visited Chanticleer? I know Alabama is a long way from Pennsylvania but...

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    1. Your are welcome! I have never been to Chanticleer but I'd love to see it. I wish I had planned a detour many years ago when they had the fling in North Carolina. I don't think I knew about it then though.

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  4. I love the term 'cramscaping' and the fun practice of pushing your zone limit. This book sounds like just the thing!

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  5. Our mutual friend deserves the spotlight. Thanks for shining it on her with such style.
    rickii

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  6. I really appreciate your review. I read others but I honestly thought it was more about succulents, but it sounds like, while using her style of garden as an example, the book really is about gardening in general and how the rules may not always apply. Intrigued by it.

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    1. There is a lot of succulents but, like you said, it is much more than that.

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  7. So glad to have found your blog! There is a shortage of good blogs that cover gardening in the southeast so I will definitely be perusing your old AL garden.
    This book looks absolutely gorgeous. I may be in humid south, but I can still grow Loree’s kind of spiky stuff in pots!

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  8. Love your blog, Philip. Loree's, too. Been following Danger Garden since I lived in Phoenix after moving from Santa Barbara to assist my parents (from MA coast originally). Now in Salem, OR, and learning about NW gardening with your help. Love your projects and your photography skills really showcase the individual plants. I've learned about ways to prune and transplant from you so thank you for that as well. I also had a purple wall (Dunn Edwards, Purple Odyssey...still have the color chip!) I put in my Phoenix garden as a back drop to some of my taller cacti and succulents. Your's is a beauty!

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  9. I am so excited about this book, as boldness and fearlessness is what I want to cultivate in my gardening life.

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  10. Like you, I found plenty of inspiration and good advice in Loree's new book. She's been an inspiration for a long time, in fact, with her blog Danger Garden, and this takes it a step beyond! (Don't enter me in the giveaway, as I'm giving away a copy of her book at Digging too.)

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  11. This book would be a great help as I work on my fear of change and redoing areas of my garden that are not working.

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