Holiday Garden Books


PlanthropologyFriends of Rant Ken Druse and Scott & Lauren Springer Ogden get mentions in the New York Times round-up of holiday garden books this weekend for their new books, Planthropology and Plant-Driven Design.

Also reviewed was a book called HYBRIDS: Reshaping the Contemporary Garden in Métis, about the International Garden Festival in Quebec. I confess to knowing nothing about this event, but I am officially embarking upon a quest to get there next year. The gardens all sound quite conceptual and artsy–consider this description:

Rita is a
trio of young Montréal designers (Stéphane Rita Halmaï-Voisard, Francis
Rita Rollin and Karine Rita Corbeil) who have created a magical forest.
Rather than dangling from a car mirror, 150 “little trees” will be
planted by visitors on a large plot – allowing the forest to be
transplanted every day. Rita has taken this recognizable cliché of
modern automotive culture and transformed its use to create a green and
amusing garden – a giant playground or Terrain de jeu géant.

Okay!  Anybody been in previous years?  Anyway, if you can’t go, the book profiles many of the high-concept gardens that have been featured in the festival in years past. Sounds interesting.


  1. I’ve never been to the Quebec show but have seen photographs of their past shows and it reminds me of two other cutting edge garden shows , Chaumont in France and Cornerstone Festival of Gardens in Sonoma CA.
    All of these shows take the point of perspective that a garden can be created as a piece of sculptural performance art that can provoke deeper intellectual thought, whether it be on social issues or for the sake of art alone.
    I embrace that open mindedness.
    Landscape and garden design can be more that simply planting a pretty garden.

    Which leads me to the next subject of Scott and Lauren Springer Ogden book, ‘Plant Driven Design’.
    I paged through the book.
    The oh so pretty garden photographs were very nicely presented but their myopic perspective on the profession of garden building is professionally naive.

    Planthropology by Ken Druse is a gardeners bedside book.
    The photography is (as usual ) stunning but the stories that are told are captivating.
    We once had a discussion on The Garden Rant as to why proper botanical latin names are useful, well after reading Ken’s book , you will certainly appreciate the knowledge and history that can be deducted by just a simple latin name.

    I now look at a Douglas Fir with more awe and appreciate the adventurous life of Scotsman David Douglas who discovered this tree and risked his life many a day as he went about discovering and introducing plants into the New World.

    Planthropology is better and way more entertaining than any landscape history book that I have ever read.

  2. My thanks to Michelle. She gets it. I am trying to help non-gardeners notice that the green stuff around them is alive, necessary, and exciting; and enrich the experience for the rest of us. We gardeners already know that plants are fascinating individuals. My hope is that by sharing vivid photographs and sensational stories of some of the plants around us, it may make it easier for them to compete with video games, and more important, harder for humans to destroy them.

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