Even though reams of information is available to us on the internet, for inspiration I turn to books. My library is huge but I am constantly reading new ones. For the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing my opinion of some of the new ones.
When designing combinations for containers, nothing is more frustrating than having the vision in your head not be matched by the planted container. Karen Chapman and Christina Salwitz, in Fine Foliage: Elegant Plant Combinations for Garden and Container, have written a book that will negate such results. They carefully explain why a design works, starting with picking a color theme that offers variety of foliage texture and form. The authors also remind us that our perception of texture is affected by light. Flowers, if used, become the icing on the cake. Happily, many of these combinations can also be used in the garden with specific reference made to the type of soil that will be conducive to success.
The book is divided into two parts, one for sun and one for shade. The headers for each combination indicate the optimal amount of light, the length of visual interest, the type of soil, and the zone hardiness. Each two page layout features individual photos and text as well as a photo of the combination that can range from two to seven plants.
I’m always trying new combinations and there were several that attracted my attention. Others made me put on my thinking cap. What plant could I exchange because of zone unhardiness in Cleveland for color, texture, or form yet keep the basic premise of the combination? All of these elements are an integral part of garden design and landscape design.
The color photographs by Ashley DeLatour are works of art and will probably have you searching for plants that are not usually available for us. (The authors live on the West Coast.)
Only 140 pages, this book is a quick read but full of ideas. if these sample combinations from the book don’t inspire you, I don’t know what will. Whether you are a landscape designer who creates containers for your clients or a home gardener, reading this book is a must.
Chapman, Karen and Salwitz, Christina, Fine Foliage: Elegant Plant Combinations for Garden and Container, St.Lynn’s Press, Pittsburgh, 2013, $16.95.
All images are copyrighted by Ashley DeLatour.