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Ann Lovejoy's Organic Garden Design School [Paperback]

Ann Lovejoy
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

May 7 2004 Rodale Organic Gardening Books
This new paperback edition of Ann Lovejoy's spectacular organic gardening book brings a lifetime's worth of experience and knowledge from one of this country's leading gardening experts. In it she shows readers how to apply her organic design principles to any site, large or small, to create healthy, self-sufficient gardens that are easy to care for, ecologically sound, and enduringly beautiful.

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From Amazon

West Coast gardening guru Ann Lovejoy has gained a significant following, and deservedly so--she's a gifted teacher, a lyrical writer, and a passionate advocate of organic solutions to even the most daunting garden problems. Her Organic Garden Design School is meant for readers who still consider themselves students, but who are serious enough to "move beyond the beginner stage." A 36-page workbook concludes this glossy, lavishly illustrated volume. Workbook assignments include "Drawing a Map," "Testing Soil," and "Minding Your Mulch."

As a designer of gardens that are faithful to the natural world and don't require too much pruning or artificial control, Lovejoy invents her own terms. Her style resembles English gardening, except she warns against the nostalgic impulse many gardeners fall into, determined to create gardens from another era or another country. Lovejoy's an advocate of "gardening where you live," not forcing a dream of another place onto the landscape. She emphasizes native plants, designing around slopes or flaws, working with shade or sunlight as they appear. Perhaps most instructive are her "five senses" of the garden: the sense of welcome, enclosure, and entry, flow, and place. "Rather than physical attributes," she writes, "these are more subtle aspects that give each garden its own flavor and character." --Emily White --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

As gifted a writer as she is a gardener, Lovejoy is always a pleasure to read, and her lyric prose is at the heart of this inspired and inspiring volume for the intermediate gardener that offers a conceptually sophisticated, but eminently accessible (and entirely organic) method for creating naturalistic beauty. "I believe that gardens are more serene when they reflect what's found in nature," writes Lovejoy, who encourages readers to stay keenly attuned to their surroundings and "cooperate" with plants instead of trying to "control" them. Based on the same curriculum she uses in her Seattle classes, this excellent book leads readers through Lovejoy's principles to successful garden design, including "the five senses of the garden" (welcome, enclosure, entry, flow and place), plant layering, the "golden bowl effect" (a sunny central area surrounded by "plants and key trees for privacy") and "an informal rule of thirds" (one third evergreens, one third deciduous structural plants [trees and shrubs] and one third perennials). Maintenance and care of a garden that is as lovely as it is nearly self-sustaining are also covered, and the book includes a workbook that allows readers to gather site information in a logical way, set goals and create an overall garden plan. Lovejoy is consistently lively, and readers may find themselves as charmed by her singular turns of phrase (hydrangeas' "skeletal flowerheads seem to rebloom when heaped with snow") as they are by her horticultural wisdom. (Mar. 16)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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With a new century dawning, we are beginning to discover a new way of gardening, a new way of thinking about our plants, and a new way of interacting with the natural world. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poorly organized but good information May 27 2002
Since I'm currently resolved to redesign my yard in the interests of increasing its ecological value and decreasing required maintenance, this "organic garden design school" SEEMED like the perfect book for me. And there is a lot of good information in here, about design considerations, planting tips, etc, some of which I've found nowhere else, and which have made the book worthwhile to me. HOWEVER, winnowing that information from the book was not very easy. Though the title suggests this is a textbook, it is really a long series of 1- or 2-page rambles about one or another aspect of the author's experience gardening her own yard (and one other yard). This work is poorly edited and organized, and there is a huge emphasis on just those two examples of garden design. To apply the lessons of this book myself, I needed more than anecdotes from two situations unlike my own. I needed some generally stated design principles, as well as some very specific techniques (e.g. how to build raised beds like the author's). While this information is in there, and some of it is quite illuminating, those gems occur nearly randomly within the 1- or 2-page rambles. If the book was titled something like "Design Thoughts," perhaps I wouldn't be so disappointed, but a "school" and a "guide," with all the clarity those words suggest, this book is not. A workbook section at the end of the book makes up for this by finally providing the reader with a definite guide for action. But it would have been a much more of a "school" and a "guide" if the workbook had been integrated into the chapters, rather than tacked on at the end.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent guide to organic gardening and design April 2 2001
The author teaches garden design classes near Seattle, Washington and shares her outlines here. She is a strong advocate of naturalistic gardening and encourages gardeners to seek out the native plants growing in their particular area and use them to their greatest advantage in an entirely organic way. She begins by discussing the principles of design with the "five senses of the garden" (welcome, enclosure, entry, flow, and place) and continues with other design principles such as "green architecture" (elements of the garden such as plants and structures), creating natural backdrops, "sandwich gardening" (intermingling plants in the same location), and using combinations and vignettes. Other informative sections focus on paths and walkways, layering plants to scale, and problem-solving. Helpful charts list specific plants for certain situations. The last third of the book focuses on maintenance and offers clearcut advice and instructions on mulching, composting, etc. Included at the end of the volume is a 34-page workbook for readers to list plant choices, set goals, and create their own garden plan.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Ann Lovejoy's Organic Garden School Jan. 2 2003
This book changed my life! In a nutshell, I was focusing on perennials and color; after reading her book, I got into foliage and structure. I used to buy bushes and "hope" they wouldn't get too big, but her philosophy is to buy the right bush in the first place. I guess I just needed someone to tellme that! I have been gardening for about 15 years, and have read many books, but this is the first that actually made me do things differently! I love Ann's passion for gardening. I love this book!
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5.0 out of 5 stars clearly written Sept. 14 2002
I have enjoyed using this book as a good reference for my growing garden. Lovejoy's style is clear, she provides some worksheets in the back of the book, which I found helpful. I also noted her 'voice' in the book is not haughty or stuffy - she is friendly, and clear, which as an avid reader of garden books, I found refreshing. Her ideas are both simple and logical. I love this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent guide for all gardening levels May 19 2001
Create a beautiful and easy organic garden with the aid of Organic Garden Design School, a design-oriented book which covers topics ranging from linking cultivation efforts to the natural environment offered to using colors and textures in the garden. Using space wisely, choosing native plants, and creating a garden mood are all covered in an excellent guide for all gardening levels.
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