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The Natural Shade Garden [Hardcover]

Ken Druse
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Feb. 18 1992
Ken Druse's Natural Garden Guides:
Award-winning gardening expert Ken Druse offers a personal selection of 80 ideal plants for the natural gardener, drawn from his best-selling classic The Natural Shade Garden.

This companion guide is illustrated throughout with 130 of Druse's spectacular color photo-graphs. All-new descriptions discuss the origins of each plant, supply the pronunciation of their Latin names, and offer information on their ultimate size, time of bloom, light and soil requirements, cold hardiness, and special interest, such as colorful berries or butterfly attraction.

Here, too, is indispensable advice for using these plants with companions to create striking designs. Each section has an original introduction presenting valuable techniques for making your own natural garden. An appendix gives mail-order sources.

In 80 Great Natural Shade Garden Plants Ken Druse selects the best plants for natural gardening in the shade: Ornamental Shrubs  ¸  Perennials for Flowers  ¸  Perennials for Foliage  ¸  Ground Covers and Vines  ¸  The Best Hostas  ¸  The Best Ferns


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From Amazon

Shade can be a gardener's curse or delight, depending on how it's managed. Even a heavy grove of mature trees needn't have bare ground beneath; they can be surrounded with any number of shade-loving foliage, grasses, or grasslike ground covers, including galax, dichondra, ivy, vinca, wintergreen, maidenhair fern... the list of possibilities is a long one. Druse himself gardens in the shadow of a Brooklyn brownstone, so his advice is by no means limited to gardeners with woodland acreage. This book also successfully punctures the myth that a shady flower garden must be colored in greens and subtle pastels: a parade of brilliant camellias, columbines, clematis, and primula proves that a shade gardener's crayon box is as varied as any, and the well-organized Druse sorts the herbaceous perennials by color in an addendum at the back of the book.

From Publishers Weekly

While the idea of shade gardening has cropped up from time to time in garden manuals, Druse ( The Natural Garden ) effectively defines a new American horticultural aesthetic with this enthusiastic volume. He brings clear, engaging writing and gorgeous color photographs (his own) to bear on just about every category of plant and terrain relevant to his subject, and explores the fine differences between "partial shade," "light shade," "dappled shade" and "deep shade" with an appetite that will hearten any gardener whose plot has a tree or a tall building nearby. Druse encourages American gardeners to "live with shade," cultivating native plants that are naturally adapted to shady habitats, augmented by choice species from around the world or hybrids that blend in. He begins with a general discussion of natural shade habitats and shade plant features, and goes on to cover the use of containers, water and other special elements appropriate for shade gardens. The book is especially helpful for its photo essay on exemplary American shade gardens, for its state-by-state list of gardens to visit, for its suggested reading list and for its extensive plant, seed and book source listings. The Natural Shade Garden may very well be the definitive work in the area of shade gardening, which will become increasingly important as Americans seek to grow plant species in their natural habitats even as these are transformed by development. It should be welcome to gardeners in the cities, suburbs and the country alike. Druse's own beautiful plot near downtown Brooklyn, N . Y . , is featured throughout. (Mar .
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not for the beginner.... April 14 2001
Format:Hardcover
THE NATURAL SHADE GARDENER by Ken Druse is a beautiful book even if the photos are slightly "touched up." I have to laugh at the oxymoronic title, however. There is nothing natural about shade gardening, and this is not the WILD GARDEN William Robinson wrote about where drifts of plants are allowed to form naturally. I can tell from Druse's photos someone has been working very hard. Nature's version of vegetation in shade is quite different. Plants in nature tend to run to riot. If you don't think so, take a walk in the "real" woods. In nature, the toughest plant wins.
For example, Druse says English Ivy is a good ground cover in shade. Well, it is. English Ivy will grow in shade---and grow and grow and grow. Recently, a group of local volunteers in our area pulled English Ivy from the trees in a local nature preserve. The stuff kills. Another vine Druse recommends without a warning is Porcelain-berry which is becoming a major problem in along the east coast. Are you old enough to remember the introduction of the new wonder vine Kudzu??
On the other hand, Druse says Tradescantia, a native of Virginia brought to England where it was hybridized at Kew Gardens is a pest. Well, it is a prolific plant if you reintroduce it in a Zone 7 garden, but it can be controlled without a great deal of effort, unlike Lysimachia clethroides (White Gooseneck Loosestrife) which Druse recommends without warning that it will take over if you invite it into your garden. Allen Lacey and other garden writers have ID'd Gooseneck Loosestrife as a "thug in the garden" and I can tell you from personal experience they are absolutely correct (of course I had to find out for myself!!).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars inspiring and practical Feb. 6 2002
Format:Hardcover
If you have a shady garden space, this book will make you feel like the luckiest gardener in the world. Ken Druse structured the book around the organization of natural woodland plants: understory, middle layer, and overstory. (Note that this is not the right book for you if you are looking to create a formal shady garden.) The beautiful photographs, both closeup and scenic, and the detailed yet readable text make this book a success on two fronts. There is enough practical advice to take you from designing your shade garden to keeping it healthy and beautiful through the seasons and years. There is even a resource list to help with ordering your plants. Did I mention how amazing the photographs are? This is my favorite garden book so far, and I am accumulating quite a little collection.
Partial shade, dappled shade, and deep shade are all addressed with beautiful pictures of plants and gardens and with descriptive, practical text.
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3.0 out of 5 stars It's OK April 5 2001
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
I'm not as big on this book as the other reviewers. The photography is beautiful, and I certainly appreciate Druse's gardening philosophy. However I found the text tedious to read (lots of long lists of plant latin names, for example). I found myself skipping huge chunks of the text. And the attitude is a bit "snobby." It's also not for beginners (which I am).
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3.0 out of 5 stars It's okay, but not for beginners April 4 2001
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
I got this book based on the very high ratings posted here. I think the book is OK, but very difficult to read (lots of boring lists of plant variants, for example), and targeted to a much more sophisticated gardener than I am. I like Druse's philosophy tremendously, but need a few more years of gardening under my belt before I can really make use of much of what he says.
The photography is beautiful.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirations and Answers Sept. 27 2000
Format:Hardcover
I bought this book 1.because everything Ken Druse writes is top-notch, and 2. because my yard is -and is becoming more- shady. What a cornucopia of ideas, wisdom, helpful hints and fabulously beautiful and inspiring photos. It has become a much used reference in my library, as well as just being so delightful to look through. As a Master Gardener and garden writer in a metropolitan area I get lots of questions about what can be grown in shade and half-shade areas; this book never lets me down for ideas, and I feel comfortable recommending it to both beginner and long time gardeners. The only thing I wish it was heavier on is native plants.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very motivating, with wonderful photos Sept. 7 2000
Format:Hardcover
Druse's photographs alone would justify the purchase of this book. It's a feast for the eyes, and inspired me to aim for something truly artistic as I begin designing my own shade garden. For those of us who have both shade and a woodland setting, there is a useful chapter specific to woodland gardening, although it doesn't substitute for a full book on the topic. Occasionally it was difficult to determine which plant was which in a photo showing many plants, although Druse makes a huge effort to label all photos in detail. It was also a bit daunting to extract the key information from each chapter, as the text tends to present long discussions of numerous plants in succession. Taking notes is imperative. While the book is necessarily written for readers across the nation, and perhaps has a slight bias towards the northeast or wet climates, I was able to take plants I liked and cross-reference them in more detail with the Western Garden Book, thus locating more appropriate varieties for California.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The Natural Shade Garden
This is my second copy of this beautiful book. A friend "borrowed" the first one and never returned it! Read more
Published on June 15 2000
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful book!
What a beautiful book jammed with pictures that actually make you long for more shady areas. I'm re-doing my whole back yard by replacing the unnatural grass (that doesn't grow... Read more
Published on June 8 2000 by Bryan V
5.0 out of 5 stars Got shade? Get this book!
There are two reasons to buy this book:
First, it's a great guide, reference and philoshophical perspective on how to garden successfully in the shade. Read more
Published on June 4 2000 by Buckorama
5.0 out of 5 stars Informative and thought inspiring
For those of us challenged with gardening in the shade, Ken Druse gives not only detailed information on how to make your garden flourish, but also offers wonderful pictures of... Read more
Published on Feb. 3 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly helpful to every level of shade gardener
Extremely thorough in its content, it is intelligent and offers a generous number of spectacular photographs. Read more
Published on June 23 1998
5.0 out of 5 stars Ken Druse has the best series of garden books
This is one of the 5 best gardening books I have owned. Ken Druse is truly a great plantsman and the photography in this book is the best of any gardening books you will ever... Read more
Published on April 28 1998 by dfielding@bso.com
5.0 out of 5 stars The Natural Shade Garden is my bible.
I read and re-read this book constantly. It not only helped me make my garden beautiful, but I dream over the pictures all winter and my garden is alive while everything outdoors... Read more
Published on March 6 1998
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