Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Blending Beauty - Garden Book Review


Many times I buy a book because I yearn to learn more about a specific subject. Other times I buy a book because I am familiar with the author and trust I will be happy with the contents. And there are those times I buy a book for both of those reasons. The book, Fine Foliage, falls into the latter category. I was familiar with Karen Chapman's blog, Le Jardinet Designs, and was always happy to read her posts. She is a very enthusiastic horticulturist who has a passion for container gardening. On her blog, she discusses so many interesting ways to combine plants in containers and in the garden.




Karen partnered with Christina Salwitz, a personal garden coach, to write and put together Fine Foliage. Christina's blog, Personal Garden Coach offers all kinds of tips and information on gardening and solving gardening problems.


I received the book a few weeks ago and was happy to see the book includes a great amount of photographs. If one is to think about combining plants, it is a must to be able to see how these individual plants blend together when planted alongside one another. Every single section includes photographs of the individual plants used in the combination and a photograph of the combination. And the photographs are exquisitely done by Ashley DeLatour of One Thousand Words Photography in Seattle.

I am joining Holley of Roses and Other Gardening Joys for Garden Book Review. Stop by her blog to see what other gardening books are being reviewed this month.

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The book includes sections as follows:

How to Use This Book - describes how to use the book and understand the site, soil, zone, and season requirements for the plants
Sun Combinations - plant combinations for sun
Shade Combinations - plant combinations for shade
Supporting Players - plants that play a supporting role in accenting other plants
Index
Foliage Combinations List - a list of all the foliage combinations in the book
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With section names, such as Deep Sea Jungle, Sunset Shades, Purple Waves, and Warm and Fuzzy, you can imagine the combinations are full of color and texture and ultimate beauty. Functional with design ideas galore, this is also a book that I could sit with and dream. The colors are elegantly combined, and the combinations are well thought out. And although there are plenty of patterns in the book, I never feel daunted as if I could not put the combinations together. The authors have laid out each section with the recipe so that it is easy to do. There is even a section, Deer Be Damned, that includes some deer resistant plant combinations, such as barberry and coral bells. The result is beautiful and effective.

Each section contains the Site, Season, Soil, and Zone requirements at the top of the page to make it easy to determine whether the combination will fit with my gardening needs.


The combinations blend beautifully with polish and style. It is clear the authors have spent a lot of time developing these handsome amalgams that are candy for the eyes. I, for one, cannot wait to pick a few to try this year in my garden. We often think of flowers as our color attraction in the garden, but this book demonstrates that color can be found in a host of plants with colorful and interesting foliage. Combining them can offer a look of ornate beauty with only a few foliage blends.


This is one book I am very happy to have in my gardening library. It will provide me with seemingly endless discovery and amusement as I frolic in the nursery looking for foliage that will adorn my garden with extraordinary beauty as depicted in the pages of Fine Foliage. It is small enough for me to carry in my purse and take with me as I make comparisons and search for ideas among those delectable photographs. There are too few books that address the fancy and delight of foliage and mingling various foliage colors and textures. This book does it very well.

Fine Foliage is a hardcover book that was published earlier this year, 2013, by St. Lynn's Press. It is available in bookstores and on Amazon. Karen and Christina also have a web site for the book, www.fine-foliage.com. You can also type in your zip code or location at WorldCat to see if the book is available at a library near you.

© copyright 2013 Michelle A. Potter

51 comments:

  1. Awesome review and post! I love working with foliage and textures in the garden. I had not heard of this book and would love to go out and buy it. If not now, I can at least put it on my wish list. Thank you!

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    1. Over time I have come to appreciate the various colors and textures of foliage. This book brings it to a deeper level.

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  2. Thank you so much for visiting my blog recently, it is indeed a treat to have you visit as I have been reading your blog for quite a while now... while we do not live in the same gardening zone, I still enjoy reading about other's gardens and what's new on the market... you always have insighful info... not to mention, your photography is fantastic. Thank you. Cheers~

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    1. Thank you, Heather. It was a joy to drop by your blog. And I am so glad you enjoy your visits here.

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  3. Sounds like a must-have book! I adore all my blooms, but I have found that I take even more delight when I get a foliage combination just right. I'm definitely putting this book on my to-get list! That section on the deer seems like a good thing to read, too. Thanks so much for joining in!

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    1. So much fun to join in, Holley. I, too, have found foliage to be a nice addition to the blooms. Thank you, again, for hosting.

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  4. What a beautiful book! I like how they have used whimsical and descriptive names for the combinations. The combinations look gorgeous too!

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    1. I like the names, too. I appreciate that they took some time to think about that and make it interesting.

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  5. Thanks to your very last sentence, I have discovered I can search online for a copy in a South African library. (It's almost like being back at work ;~)

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    1. I only recently discovered that service. I think it is great that we can search all of these libraries around the world. :)

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  6. Beautuful site, gorgeous photography. I love the look and sounds of the book! Thank you for including purchase options. Off I go to order. I see your Helebore in one of the posts . . . Mine are buried under all the snow. My favorite . . . I hope they survive . . . Lovely site your "Sage Butterfly!"

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    1. Thank you, Lynne. My hellebores are still blooming...alongside the daffodils. Enjoy the book.

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  7. Z pewnością bedzie to bardzo pomocna książka przy zakładniu ogrodów lub dokonywaniu w nich zmian. Pozdrawiam.
    Certainly it will be a very helpful book for creating gardens or make changes to them. Yours.

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    1. Thank you for your visit, Giga. And I am glad you liked the post.

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  8. That looks like a wonderful book, I've got a soft spot for heucheras and I'm always looking for new combinations to use them in

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    1. Heucheras are one of my favorite foliage plants, and I like their blooms, too. Thank you for stopping by, Christine.

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  9. Seems like a great book. I'll have to check it out. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. I am glad you like the book. It has been very helpful to me. Thanks for your visit.

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  10. Thanks for bringing this book to our attention. I looked at it up on Amazon and the pictures seem gorgeous! I also love the names they have given to their combinations, very creative. I'm in love with your first photo, it's so beautiful!

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    1. Thank you, Rosemary. Those photos in the book are very tempting. I wish I could plant all of the combinations. :)

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  11. This sounds like a great book! I am always struggling to come up with interesting container combinations that work well. This will go on the wish list.

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    1. I was very impressed with it, and I hope you find it helpful in creating your containers.

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  12. This looks like a great book. :o) Most of my containers just feature a single plant and then I use them as an extension of my perennial garden. But I'm always interested in new ideas.

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    1. I have my mainstays for my containers, too. This year, I think I will try a few new ideas.

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  13. Lovely book with amazing photos....But your photos are my favorites :)>

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  14. Looks like a gorgeous book, good quality photos are a must for me. I tend to get more ideas from pictures than writing. So nice to see something about combining plants in general too, not just about flower colour.

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    1. Photos help me understand the instructions more clearly, too, Marguerite. I am so glad this was planned in that way.

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  15. I'm really interested in foilage combinations. Excited to learn of a book dedicated to the subject.

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    1. So glad you like it, Susan. I am enjoying it very much.

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  16. That sounds like very much my kind of book, I love good combinations, particularly of foliage, and am always looking for new ideas.

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    1. I have been thinking of adding more foliage to the garden for long-lasting interest, and I think this book will help a lot. So glad you found it helpful.

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  17. The photographs certainly look gorgeous. Container gardening is so fun because you don't have to be as concerned with whether the plants will actually grow in your soil and light conditions. You can just tweak the container.

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    1. That is so true, Carolyn. I am looking forward to trying some of these combos.

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  18. Hurrah! There really are not enough books on foliage since the focus seems to be always on flowers. In this book, they appear to have taken the format we see so frequently in books about flowers and applied it to foliage and from what I can see, they appear to have done it beautifully. I will look out for this book. Thank you for reviewing it.

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    1. I agree. There are not enough books that address foliage and foliage combinations. I, too, am glad there is a book like this.

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  19. I had heard about the book through both authors but had not had a chance to see it yet...I just added it to my cart on Amazon as I am interested in foliage and combining it...thanks Michelle for a great review!

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    1. You are very welcome, Donna. I am so glad to find a book like this.

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  20. I am familiar with Karen's blog as well and think that she and her writing partner did a wonderful job with their book. I especially like that they have included a recipe with each of the container plantings shown as inspiration.

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    1. Me, too, Jennifer. They really spent time thinking things through. I really appreciate that.

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  21. Excellent review, Michele. Your posting is so good I ordered the book before writing this comment. (One-click ordering from Amazon may just break the bank one of these days.)Can't wait for the book to arrive. P. x

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    1. LOL! I am so glad you enjoyed the review, Pam. I use the Wish List a lot to give me pause. :)

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  23. Thank you all for your enthusiasm and kind words! Christina and I are thrilled with the quality of the book and proud of its content.

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    1. It is a very good book, and you should be proud. Good luck, Karen!

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  24. Thanks again for this post . . . I ordered three of the books, wonderful, helpful, . . . beautiful photos too. Great for gifts, I already gave one away . . . I might have to click on Amazon and send up another order.

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    1. LOL! It is one of those books that you want to share with everyone. I, too, have several that I intend to give as gifts.

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  25. This sounds like a very useful book, I love foliar plants and keep many plants more for their foliage than for their flowers, heucheras being a good example. Thanks for a great review!

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    1. I love heucheras, too, Helene. And the book uses them so perfectly with other plants. Thank you, and I am so glad you enjoyed the review.

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  26. I hadn't realized this book was out already so I was eager to read your review. I love playing with foliage in the garden - much more rewarding than flowers in my mind. I'll have to put this on my wish list, too.

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    1. I primarily focused on flowering plants when I planned my garden, so I am looking forward to adding more foliage interest. So glad you liked the review.

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'I see trees of green, red roses, too
I see 'em bloom for me and for you
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world'
--What a Wonderful World

Thank you for visiting The Sage Butterfly blog. I enjoy reading your charming reflections very much. Have a great day!

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