The Wild Garden (Anglais) Relié – 9 novembre 2009
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The mix between ancient and modern format used to present this new edition of William Robinson's The Wild Garden is agreeable and helpful... It is, in effect, two books for the price of one and a handsome volume at that. --Mary Keen, Gardens Illustrated
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Chris Strand, Winterthur, Delaware
The philosophy becomes quite clear - to plant hardy perennial (or reseeding) specimens in their ideal soil and site conditions, in masse, and turn them loose! The listed plants are often more suited to the British climate, and not as helpful to those residing in the Southern US, who must look outside this text for more adaptable specimens (see Michael Dirr or Alan Armitage).
Hopefully Rick Darke will come out with a newer edition with much more photography; the old text is charming, but the photo examples speak loud volumes!
American garden writer and landscape designer Rick Darke provides an introdution to the new edition. He says, "For all of us seeking creative, practical approaches to today's challenges and opportunities, William Robinson's inspired response to the same issues more than a century ago offer historical perspective and suggest current strategies."
Darke traveled to Gravetye, Robinson's home south of London, to include in the book several photos from Robinson's home. The new images clearly reflect the words of Robinson as you read the book.
Robinson wrote to voice his disapproval about current garden trends in England, like carpet bedding or borders with annuals that demanded intense maintenance, and at the same time created an artificial or unnatural look. He wanted a return to a garden where the plants could just grow as they wanted, with minimum pruning, no staking, and generally less demand for garden maintenance.
Robinson confronts the issue of what are native plants and how exotic plants, or those brought from other cultures, may well become part of the landscape. He suggests beginning with local flora, but also makes allowance for exotics as part of the garden.
The setting that Robinson describes for the wild garden, or placing plants where they will thrive, could be any place on a property's landscape, but especially where one might have woods, meadows, or near water. Plant choice in such places is important to create a more natural look as the plants mature.
The plants he lists include spring bulbs like narcissus that could blanket a wooded area before the leaves of nearby trees appear. Also, he describes shrubs, trees, and vines that would fit the wild garden concept. He suggests a meadow on the property where possible rather than mowing. In the meadow you could plant perennials, and mow as infrequently as once a year.
Robinson prefers plants where a barrier might be needed rather than iron fences. In the book he lists trees and shrubs that would provide what he calls "a living fence".
He likes to see the ground covered so that there is no need for weeding or raking of leaves. He writes, "Never show the naked earth; clothe it."
The theme of Robinson's book seems quite relevant today. He calls the kind of planting he recommends, the wild garden or naturalizing, a term popular today. The lily of the valley is an example of a hardy plant he suggests for taking over an area. Just let it spread to create a delightful springtime look.
"The Wild Garden" speaks to today's gardener who is confronted with limited use of water and yearns for less maintenance in the garden. Robinson's book would be a welcome addition to any gardener's library.