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North America's eastern half, roughly from the Midwest to the Atlantic, was once a great deciduous forest. Although centuries of human intervention have cleared much of the la...Read more

The American Woodland Garden : Capturing the Spirit of the Deciduous Forest (2002, Hardcover)(US version)

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North America's eastern half, roughly from the Midwest to the Atlantic, was once a great deciduous forest. Although centuries of human intervention have cleared much of the land, the timeless forest remains in the spirit of the place. Today, even the shortest period of human neglect allows for the resurgence of the process of forest creation. The greatest gardens - and happiest gardeners - in this area will be those that take into account the nature of the land. In his unique, and often thought-provoking new book, award-winning author Darke promotes and stunningly illustrates a garden aesthetic based on the strengths and opportunities of the woodland, including play of light, sound, and scent; seasonal drama; and the architectural interest of woody plants. While written from a compelling and fresh perspective, The American Woodland Garden never strays from the realistic concerns of the everyday gardener. Information on planting, soils, and maintenance provides a firm foundation for horticultural accomplishment. An alphabetical list of woodland plants offers useful advice for every garden, emphasizing native trees, shrubs, vines, ferns, grasses, sedges, and flowering perennials that fit the forest aesthetic. More than 700 of the author's stunning photographs show both the natural palette of plants in the wild and the effects that can be achieved with them in garden settings. Many of the most striking photos in the book were taken at classic gardens that are paragons of an ecological style. The American Woodland Garden is a clarion call to a new awareness of our relationship to the natural world. This book will take its rightful place among the classic works that have influenced our concept of the American landscape.

Product Identifiers

Key Details
Number Of Pages378 pages
Publication Date2002-08-15
PublisherTimber Press, Incorporated

Additional Details
Copyright Date2002

Weight70.2 Oz
Height1.1 In.
Width10.4 In.
Length11.2 In.

Target Audience

Classification Method
LC Classification NumberSB439.6.D27 2002
Dewey Decimal635.9/77
Dewey Edition21

Table Of Content
Table Of ContentPreface AcknowledgmentsChapter One: A Forest Aesthetic Forest Dynamics Luminous Qualities Color Cycles Foliage Color Cycles Flower Color Cycles Constant Colors An Evergreen Presence Time and Transition Forest Architecture Layers Canopy Mid-level or Understory Trees Shrub Layer Herbaceous Layer Ground Layer Vines Areas Interior Edge Roadside Woodlands and Forest Relics Diversity and the Beauty of Provenance Exotic QuestionsChapter Two: Learning from a Woodland StreamChapter Three: Designing the Woodland Garden Abstracting the Forest Framing and Enclosing Working with Layers Celebrating and Encouraging Natural Form Gardening at the Edge Integrating Exotics Working with Textures and within the Color Green The Influence of Evergreens Celebrating Natural Light in the Woodland Garden Woodland Walks and Pathways The Woodland Garden DwellingChapter Four: Planting and Maintaining the Woodland Garden Selecting and Acquiring Plants The Ethics of Acquisition Starting Plants from Seed Purchasing Plants Respecting Roots Matching Plants to Available Light Hardiness Woodland Soils Acidity and Alkalinity Organic Matter and Fertility Moisture and Drainage Covering the Ground New Planting and Transplanting Pruning and Cutting Back Pests and Diseases WeedsChapter Five: The Forest Palette Acer Aconitum Actaea Aesculus Agastache Allium Alnus Amelanchier Anemone Anemonella Aquilegia Aralia Arisaema Aristolochia Aronia Aruncus Asarum Asclepias Asimina Aster Astilbe Betula Caltha Calycanthus Campanula Carpinus Carya Caulophyllum Ceanothus Cercis Chionanthus Chrysogonum Cimicifuga Claytonia Clethra Clintonia Cornus Cotinus Crataegus Cyrilla Delphinium Dentaria Dicentra Dioscorea Diospyros Diphylleia Dirca Echinacea Erythronium Euonymus Eupatorium Fagus Ferns Fothergilla Fraxinus Galax Gentiana Geranium Gillenia Grasses, Sedges, and Wood-rushes Gymnocladus Halesia Hamamelis Heuchera Hexastylis Houstonia Hydrangea Hydrastis Ilex Iris Isopyrum Itea Jeffersonia Juniperus Kalmia Leucothoe Lilium Lindera Liquidambar Liriodendron Lonicera Magnolia Maianthemum Mertensia Mitchella Mitella Monarda Neviusia Nyssa Ostrya Oxydendrum Pachysandra Panax Parthenocissus Phacelia Phlox Pieris Platanus Podophyllum Polemonium Polygonatum Quercus Rhododendron Rhus Rubus Sambucus Sanguinaria Sassafras Sedum Senecio Silene Smilacina Solidago Spigelia Staphylea Stewartia Stylophorum Styrax Symplocarpus Tiarella Trillium Tsuga Uvularia Vaccinium Veratrum Veronicastrum Viburnum Viola Wisteria XanthorhizaPlant Sources USDA Hardiness Zone Map Glossary Bibliography Index

"A gallery of breathtaking images of native woodlands in all seasons...This is an inspiring reference that synthesizes ecology and horticulture, presented by a philosophical author with an artist's eye."-Virginia Small, Fine Gardening, January/February 2003

"A must-have for anyone interested in woodlands and gardening." Bristol Herald Courier

"An accomplished work of epic proportions. ... Wherever you garden and no matter how extensive or small the woodland you tend - even if it is just a single birch tree - The American Woodland Garden offers the most comprehensive, inspiring, and thought-provoking advice you are ever likely to find within the confines of a single volume. As the text on the inside jacket correctly claims, this book is destined to become a classic."-Bob Purnell, Gardens Illustrated, December 2003

A persuasive book for observing nature and bringing it into our gardens.

A remarkable contribution.

Almost 50% of the great information is in the smaller-tighter text associated with the awesome images (every image is a work of art) ... Rick's plant descriptions are written in a way that indicates he has obviously grown the plants discussed.

An homage to the beauty of the deciduous forest and the wonder of the natural forces that create and sustain it, as well as a how-to book to guide readers in creating woodland gardens.

Award-winning author Rick Darke shares his love of the eastern deciduous forest through his stunning photographs and insightful prose, making the ordinary seem remarkable. Nature's seasonal transitions become a magical journey that the reader is invited to witness.

Beautiful photos and ideas from an experienced gardener.

Contains more than 700 of his photographs showing how to blend the woodland and landscaped garden into one resulting in ecological excellence.

Darke is almost like a woodland spirit as he visits forests and captures their beauty on film and in words throughout the seasons.

Darke's language is erudite, informative and makes pleasant reading. . . . Destined to become a classic, The American Woodland Garden will find a welcome home in any gardener's library.

Destined to become a classic among books on shade gardening, for it shows how to select, design with, and grow the wonderful cornucopia of plants that are found in America's great deciduous forests.

Far more than just a gardening book, this amounts to an ecological walk in the woods. . . . What the author has learned from a lifetime of being enchanted by the forest is offered in this sensitive book.

Firmly grounded in horticultural and ecological science. . . So richly illustrated with Darke's great photographs that it appears to be a coffee table book, this substantial, informative volume is a wonderful read.

Gardeners living east of the Mississippi will never again consider a shady yard 'a problem' after reading The American Woodland Garden.

His beautiful photographic essays on the natural scenes on his property [are] especially relevant to gardeners in our area.

His photographs and text communicate vividly the inevitability and pace of change . . . One is eager to take up gardening challenges when they are as poetically presented as Darke's.

I believe that it represents a new type of gardening book that combines ecology principles, design concepts, horticultural information, along with essays on individual plants. . . Once again this is a beautiful and very worthy Timber Press production.

I don't know of any other book that discusses the eastern deciduous forest in such detail and with such beautiful photography while also providing practical information for cultivating your own woodland garden. . . . One of the most important gardening books this year. . . Provides a sustainable and enjoyable text for anyone interested in understanding the forests that constitute so much of America's terrain.

I knew from his previous books what an excellent photographer and writer Rick Darke is but I think his newest book, The American Woodland Garden, is the best yet.

I recommend the book for 738 colorful reasons: Its photos remind us how the sensorial pleasures of a forest are the result of nature going about its relatively predictable biological business. . . . All aspects of the book's layout and typology are exemplary.

In this award-winning book, the author promotes and illustrates a garden aesthetic based on the strengths and opportunities of the woodland, including play of light, sound, scent, seasonal drama, and the architectural interest of woody plants.

In this unique and often thought-provoking new book, Darke promotes and stunningly illustrates a garden aesthetic. . . A clarion call to a new awareness of humankind's relationship to the natural world. This book will take its rightful place among the classic works that have influenced the concept of the American landscape.

Much more than a beautiful coffee table book, although it is that in spades. It whets the appetite of anyone who might be tempted to create a woodland garden. If you want a quick fix for your gardening questions go elsewhere. But if you want to strengthen your appreciation of the woods, this book is a deep and meditative study of the ways in which the forest casts its spell. Dip or plunge, go indulge.

Offers an eloquent overview and abundant color photographs to demonstrate the context of landscapes dominated by trees.

Oftentimes I open a book and it's like Christmas. The American Woodland Garden . . . is such a book.

One is eager to take up gardening challenges when they are as poetically presented as Darke's . . . Overall, Darke has delivered a tour de force to follow his magnum opus.


Packed full of gorgeous photographs and useful advice.

Perhaps [the book's] greatest accomplishment . . . is in gloriously refuting the notion that forest gardening tends to be dull and plain compared to gardening with flashy exotic annuals.

Reads like a memoir. It's also a visual showcase, with more than 700 of Darke's exceptional photographs gracing its pages, all documented with an attention to detail gardeners will appreciate. . . . A valuable reference for those who seek to follow Darke's call to 'capture the spirit of the deciduous forest' in their own spaces.

Rick Darke's Woodland Garden creation is a most interesting read and excellent photo essay based on this thirty years of woodland observations. . . Worth purchasing just for Darke's photos and philosophy!

Rick Darke's beautiful book shows us how our native forests can be an inspiraion for our own gardens, private or public. . . . The photographs catch the essence of the plants in all their many guises. They are so realistic and detailed that I, unscientific as I am, found them helpful in identifying some trees and shrubs that I'd never been able to untangle. . . . If you want to strengthen your appreciation of the woods, this book is a deep and meditative study of the ways in which the forest casts its spell. Dip or plunge, go indulge.

Should be displayed where you and your guests can refer to it regularly. Reading this book is like winding through the forest with the author at your side and learning from his 20 years of studying how the woods work. . . . Every page has photographs that perfectly parallel the text.

Since the reviewer is generally 'all thumbs,' he is qualified to give The American Woodland Garden a rating of 'ten thumbs up.'

Stunning photography, with every shot perfectly composed.

The American Woodland Garden contains hundreds of illuminating images from the eastern woods and their reincarnation in the home garden.

The American Woodland Garden: Capturing the Spirit of the Deciduous Forest is a splendid combination of inspiration and practicality that will change many of our ideas about what constitutes gardening in the shade.

The book will reach out and inspire anyone who loves nature and gardening - whether that individual is a master gardener or a garden spectator. I believe everyone who sees this book will forever view the eastern deciduous forest with a far greater depth of appreciation for the diversity and a positively influenced perception of its woodland landscape.

The plant palette section occupies a good third of the book, and it is the best presentation of native plant species I've seen.

This book is a combination of ecological widom, interesting designs and practical advice.

This book is an excellent reference and guide for both amateur and professional horticulturalists.

This book is packed with useful information on woodland gardening design, practices, and plant choices. Photographs are stunning and numerous. . . . Highly recommended.

This inspired work is an instant classic.

This is a serious book with a message.

This is a wonderful photographic study, showing both the seasonal and long-term changes which occur in an area of natural woodland.

This is an important book that makes a strong case for private gardeners who live in a woodland setting to learn how to retain the spirit of the forest in their gardens and synthesize nature and culture.

This is the best book yet on natural landscaping. . . . This is one of those rare books that's beautiful enough for the coffee table yet useful enough to end up dog-eared.

This volume is nothing short of monumental. Exquisitely photographed and deftly written, it takes the reader on a journey of discovery. . . . A good garden needs a philosophy, an aesthetic, a methodology, and a palette. This extraordinary book furnishes them all.

Those who live in or near trees will find hours of deep pleasure in Rick Darke's The American Woodland Garden.

With [this book]. . . the woodland gardener cannot go far wrong.

With a fine book on ornamental grasses to his credit, Darke turns to summoning forth the spirit, beauty, and natural order of a woodland in the gardens he creates in its image. . . . Darke shares a reverie on nature and observations of an applicable artistry. As responsible stewards of the land, gardeners can look to Darke's unorthodox design manual to transcend trite solutions with a wise and vital philosophy, and with its cache of inspiring photographs, this is sure to inspire all who garden east of the Rocky Mountains.

Within two pages . . . I was hooked. This is a first-rate work. . . . Generously illustrated with Rick Darke's photographs, and the captions convey a good deal of his narrative making for an easy read.

Worth purchasing just for Darke's photos and philosophy! . . . Rick Darke's Woodland Garden creation is a most interesting read and excellent photo essay based on his thirty years of woodland observations.

Wow . . . what can one say. This statement is not hyperbole. Darke is truly a wordsmith and philosopher, and together with his excellent color photos, it is a must read and view.

[Darke's] philosophical and horticultural observations from longtime study of a native woodland stream habitat should appeal to all ecologically-responsible gardners.

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