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Plants are among the most important materials for effective landscape design. Yet the fundamentals of plant biology and growth; their morphology, color, and functional assets; and details such as planting, pruning techniques, and maintenance practices are surprisingly absent from our education and training, which tend to focus on other core principles like drainage, grading, and spatial relationships.
What do you need to know about how plants grow and function? How can you determine appropriate plants for a particular site? How can you use their distinct design features effectively? What are the real design considerations to keep in mind?
Botany for Designers – a Botany 101 course for professionals and students alike – walks you through all the answers, equipping you with the ability to be not just an informed landscape designer but also an effective planting designer.
Kimberly Duffy Turner, a landscape architect and horticulturalist, explains the essentials of planting design, exploring form and function and showing how various characteristics of plants and trees – shape, pigment, leaf veination, texture, fragrance, sound, height, and more – can be used to achieve effective site-appropriate designs. Specifying appropriate plant material and examining stock at the nursery – drawing up a planting schedule of the species or cultivar, sizes, and quantities – and evaluating modes of transplantation (when to ask for bare root, balled and burlapped, or containerized) are other key "on-the-job" concepts covered.
A chapter on green design outlines some of the sustainable trends in botany: the role of LEED certification in landscape design; mitigating environmental problems with plants and open space; the emergence of green roofs and vertical gardens; biomimicry; and sensitive material selection, like composite wood products and plant-derived, soy-based paints. Both a handy appendix of common Latin and Greek terms used in horticulture and a comprehensive list of plant palettes are included.
Kimberly Duffy Turner is a principal at a Boston-based landscape architecture firm, and she developed and taught a related course at the Boston Architectural College. She holds degrees in landscape architecture and landscape horticulture. She is also the recipient of an American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) Honor Award.
"Well illustrated with color photographs and line drawings [...] Recommended."
"GREAT book, the best I've seen on the subject, and very useful for designers and landscape architects. Everyone in the business should have a copy [...] Turner covers all the basics, from nomenclature and plant classification (with very easy-to-understand explanations!) to cultural requirements (light, water, soil, temperature) and plant anatomy."
- Jane Berger – Garden Design Online
"[A] real page-turner for anyone in the biz. A comprehensive reference of all the basics-from nomenclature and plant classification to cultural requirements and plant anatomy."
- Architectural Digest, ShopAD.net
"Turner passes on her plant knowledge in a sympathetic and non-patronizing way [...] [R]ecommended to students and established designers who might need to expand their understanding of botany or brush up on concepts half-learned at an earlier stage in their careers."
- Garden Design Academy (UK)
"Turner has written a highly accessible book that could be used by any design professional or even a layperson [...] [A]ttractive as it is informative. Thanks to this book, designers understanding and working with plants can maintain a beautiful, sustainable partnership!"
- The Statement – by Wilsonart