232 pages, 250+ colour photos
In contemporary American garden design, beauty for beauty's sake is making a comeback. The sixty gardens featured here trace current planting trends across the country, showcasing the best designs of recent years from the verdant Pacific Northwest to the tailored Eastern Seaboard, as well as prairies in Denver and Texas and exquisitely detailed private gardens in the Southwest that create a sense of lushness even while working exclusively within the vocabulary of cactuses and succulents.
Plants are used to reinforce meaningful content, ecological strategies, and, most importantly, to create immersive and emotional experiences. As the movements of architectural, naturalistic, meadow, matrix, graphic, and ecological planting design have been adopted in such notable incarnations as the High Line in New York and Citygarden in St. Louis, they have rekindled interest in using plants that suit a given site's ecology – and in letting plants, rather than hardscape elements, lead design.
Residential as well as public gardens are featured, and all are united by an immediately perceptible, intelligent selection of plants that create an enthralling, memorable, and fitting sense of place: this is what makes a garden truly authentic.
Over 250 full-color images reveal gardens created by the top American firms working today, including Andrea Cochran, Jack deLashmet, Doyle Herman, Elysian Landscapes, Gustafson Guthrie Nichol, Hoerr Schaudt, Ron Lutsko, Steve Martino, Nelson Byrd Woltz, Nievera Williams, Oehme van Sweden, OLIN, Raymond Jungles, Christine Ten Eyck, Bernard Trainor, and Michael Vergason, as well as beautiful gems of gardens by lesser known regional firms. Detail as well as overview images of gardens throughout the seasons and abundant plant identifications make The Authentic Garden a valuable reference for all home gardeners as well as landscape design professionals interested in tracing the themes prevalent in contemporary American gardens.
"While lavish collections of gardens proliferate in this publishing category, it is rare to find one that foregrounds the importance of planting design. Richard Hartlage and Sandy Fischer, the principals of Seattle-based Land Morphology, have selected projects from all over the world in which 'plants, rather than hardscape elements, lead design'. The work of landscape architects, some well-known for their planting design, others less so, is prominently featured and discussed in each project, another layer that sets this book apart from the typical garden coffee table book. Although the prose is pitched at knowledgeable amateurs rather than design professionals, this beautifully photographed book succeeds in placing the projects in the context of design history."
– Landscape Architecture
"The push toward naturalistic landscapes can be traced to Europe's emphasis on meadow, matrix, and graphic planting design. The history of landscape architecture and its influence on contemporary trends are explored in a new book The Authentic Garden."
– Architectural Digest online
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