Planting: A New Perspective by Piet Oudolf and Noel Kingsbury (Timber Press, 2013)

Planting: A New Perspective is an exciting and comprehensive book that delivers what it promises in the title and much more.

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Two well-known landscape designers, Noel Kingsbury and Piet Oudolf, co-wrote the book. Oudolf achieved rock star status in this country with his design of the innovative and hugely popular High Line gardens in New York City, and the book celebrates, explains, and documents his “naturalistic” landscape design work and signature aesthetic. This book features original planting plans and plant lists with detailed information that can help gardeners integrate these concepts into their own landscapes.

Oudolf’s gardens are not just beautiful, they are profoundly moving—a brilliant mix of texture and mood—juxtaposing plants in unexpected and exciting ways, which results in an experience that is both meditative and exhilarating. To achieve this, the book explains, “Planting design has, in general, moved from a sense of absolute control to one of negotiating with nature—if not of total spontaneity, then at least the appearance of spontaneity.”

While Planting: A New Perspective features spectacular photographs and merits space on a coffee table, it is the detailed and thorough explorations of the techniques and theories of this new aesthetic, as well as a taste of landscape design history, that makes it so compelling.

Planting: A New Perspective takes readers on a journey into the rich and complex world of plants and how we can work with them to create more sustainable and exciting landscapes.