Rachel de Thame
BBC, distributed by Reed Books
DUBBED the essential
guide to gardening in small spaces, this book has it all: beautiful
photographs, lively text and lots of practical, down-to-earth advice
Rachel de Thame is one
of the newer presenters on the perennially popular BBC Gardeners'
World in Britain. She originally trained as a ballet dancer
and went on to become a model before turning her hand to garden
design while raising her children.
I like this book because
it's not too serious - it manages to cover all the key issues without
being patronizing. And the photographs are among the best I've seen.
They capture the magic of funky modern gardens, romantic cottage
retreats, elegant English-style formal gardens and bold tropical
Water gardens feature
prominently too - use them to filter traffic noise and provide tranquillity
in city spaces - and there's an authoritative plant directory at
Most of the ideas are
probably outrageously expensive to copy, but there are some neat
tricks too. For example, create a Christmas tree with a difference
by draping a clipped buxus topiary ball with twinkling fairy lights,
or bury spotlights in a gravel path so that the round orbs glow
through eerily at night.
Sometimes garden design
books let themselves down by focusing entirely on hard landscaping
at the expense of plants. Not so here - there are some amazing combinations
to replicate in your own garden, like burgundy coleus with orange
crocosmia. And here's one bold combination to steal for summer:
team dark-leafed 'Bishop of Llandaff' red dahlias with stripy Canna
'Striata', red hot pokers and the amazing red Lobelia cardinalis.
The result is spectacular.
Small Town Gardens
does have a British bias, but then so do many of our gardens.
Gardener, Issue 86, November 15-28, 2001, Page 31
Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH