Author:  David L. Culp

Photographs by Rob Cardillo

Publisher: Timber Press

ISBN-13:978-1-60469-236-5

A layered garden refers to a design process that maximizes beauty within each planted space; it also describes a garden that supplies visual interest throughout the seasons. The objective of the publisher was to demonstrate how a beautiful garden - Brandywine Cottage – situated in southeastern Pennsylvania, USA, - achieved that result.

It was accomplished by combining complementary plants that either grow and bloom together or follow each other in succession . Then, it continues to …encompass the development of each bed and how the beds relate to each other and the garden as a whole.

The essence of a layered garden, therefore, is to understand and take advantage of each plant’s growing habit as it evolves through the seasons. One plant may provide a variety of different textures, colors, and effects at different times of the year. At each interval of growth, it will evoke a different sensory experience. Furthermore,to get the most interest from any garden, all the layers need to be considered from the ground level to the middle level of shrubs, and small trees up to the canopy trees.

Layering allows the gardener to utilize as many plants as they have, in attractive and exciting ways. The result is a garden that highlights an individual plant while integrating the entire collection of plants into one cohesive design. In addition, the garden at Brandywine Cottage has been deliberately planted so that different areas of this 2-acre garden peak at different times.

Along with a keen eye, the author’s patience, optimism, and pro-active attitude were important factors in the execution of his garden. While describing its evolution, he encourages readers to be bold so that they focus on the possibilities of plants rather than upon their inherent limitations.

Readers will discover what Mr. Culp has learned; that one of the most exciting aspects of a layered garden is the suspenseful gradual revelation of the composition – the way that each part provides multiple layers of interest, sometimes working together with other plants and sometimes playing off each other.

The author and the photographer have worked from their hearts to create a warm and welcoming experience. Once inside the book, the reader will be embraced with design inspiration, plantsmanship, and practical information all emanating from one location - Brandywine Cottage, an iconic American-style landscape.

If you thought it impossible to capture effectively the essence of a beautiful garden in words and pictures, think again. This successful publication is both charming and inspirational.


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