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The Natural Shade Garden Hardcover – Feb 18 1992


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Clarkson Potter; 1 edition (Feb. 18 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0517580179
  • ISBN-13: 978-0517580172
  • Product Dimensions: 27.9 x 22.6 x 2.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #348,995 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dianne Foster on 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 By Joanna Power on 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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By A Customer on April 5 2001
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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By A Customer on April 4 2001
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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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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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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