One of the best winter gardening activities is actually spent indoors, reading all those gardening books you never have time to get to in the growing season. I have wanted to share a few titles that I have been reading lately. Disclaimer: I am not receiving any incentive to write this review, but the book link will take you to my Amazon store page. If you buy something from that store page, my family gets a small kickback.

Plant-Driven-Design-coverPlant-Driven Design: Creating Gardens That Honor Plants, Place and Spirit is one of my new all-time favorite garden books. It was written by Steve and Lauren Springer Ogden, who have written other books and are beautiful designers in their own right. But before you run out and buy this book, beware that this is not a book to be loved by everyone.

This book will appeal to landscape architects and very serious designers. This is not a “put this plant here” type design book with planting plans and flowering plant lists. Most of the negative reviews I read were from people who misunderstood the audience for this book and the writers’ approach.

That said, they do include several plant lists like “Conifers deserving more use” or “Woody plants with precocious flowers”. Not exactly mainstream planting lists, but something I lapped up. They tackle interesting topics like designing within microclimates, designing plants to capture light (either rising or setting sun), looking to nature to guide us toward plant communities, using plants to give us a sense of place, etc. The photos are gorgeous, inspiring and educational. It’s a book I will keep and use for decades in my journey as a landscape designer.

Designing edible landscapes is not something covered by this book, but rarely if ever have a seen an edibles-only garden that looks decent. Even my garden still has a fair share of ornamental plants as a backdrop or compliment to the edible plantings. If you are looking for not-your-run-of-the-mill design inspiration or just a book for the plant nerd in your life, you might consider this gem.

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Written by Renee Wilkinson