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Peaceful GardensBOOK REVIEWS

Peaceful Gardens

Stephanie Donaldson
Ryland, Peters and Small,
distributed by SPG
$NZ64.95, $AUS59.95

IN winter, gardens can be anything but peaceful - especially if you have to trample through ankle-deep mud to get to your vege garden. Nonetheless, peaceful retreats are a key facet of modern landscaping, and Stephanie Donaldson captures the essence of the idea in her new book.

Peaceful Gardens is a tranquil read, with gorgeous, misty photographs to accompany the well-written text. The book is divided into three main sections: Peaceful Shapes and Spaces, Tranquillity for the Senses, and Scent and Sound.

Donaldson begins with an examination of the elements of peaceful gardens, including symmetry and balance, the importance of keeping it simple with restricted colour palettes and spaces for contemplation. Her argument is insightful and useful, with plenty of tips for gardeners wanting to revamp overdone sections, without radically altering the existing design.

Tranquillity for the Senses discusses how to use soothing colours and textures in combination with light and shade to create a peaceful ambience, while the Scent and Sound chapters concentrate on fragrant plants, herbs and water.

Peaceful Gardens is a glossy coffee table book, but it offers more than just pretty pictures.

For the theoretical gardener - or the hands-on gardener who has been forced indoors by inclement weather - it's a thought-provoking and satisfying read.

Peaceful Gardens

Weekend Gardener, Issue 123, 2003, Page 28

Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH

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Last updated: March 1, 2021