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.
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
Foliage Combinations List - a list of all the foliage combinations in the book
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