The issue includes gorgeous and purposeful articles about:
- Meadows, where we learn that they can be a constant battle with “wrong” wildflowers, invasive weeds and angry neighbors. Several kinds of meadows are shown and we’re told how much and what kind of maintenance is required. (Cuz you know, if it needs a “controlled burn,” it ain’t gonna happen in my town.)
- Green Roofs, telling us that in Europe, where they’re oh-so popular, some have lasted 40 to 75 years already, far longer than conventional roofs.
- City Slickers, an Organic Kitchen Garden in Oakland.
- Rain gardens, swales, streambeds and other watery solutions.
- “Outback Survivors” – plants that work in Western Australia and do well in our Southwest. Big surprise – we’re told that mulch doesn’t help. In fact, it’s recommended that soil be left bare to “crust naturally”. Interesting.
- “Bionic botany” – the work of plant geneticists, explorers, nurserymen and avid gardeners pursuing plants with better disease resistance. Here we learn that the Knockout rose was developed in the backyard of an amateur, who nurtured his creation over the 15 years it took to bring it to market. I’ve opined on this subject myself at Hort Researchers are Hot.
- Hot new Green Designers like Dutchmen Piet Oudolf and Henk Gerritsen, who create wild, naturalistic gardens where reseeders are allowed to do their thing. Their agenda: dynamic, ecological plantings that attract wildlife and sustain themselves without pesticides, insecticides, complex water systems and a battalion of laborers.” So they’re talking to us regular folk, not just the rich checkbook
gardeners. And they give this supremely sensible advice: to use not just native plants but plants “whose ecological requirements match those of a given site.”
- Natural Swimming Pools, which truly look natural because they kinda are natural, or at least become so with time because actual plants live in them. Me, I’ve always hated swimming pools but I’m dying to try one of these so would somebody please invite me over to take a dip in your new natural pool?
- Lawn Alternatives with Californian John Greenlee, who suggests we get over our addiction to immaculate lawns and switch to climate-specific, low-growing plants, or simply let our lawns grow longer and keeping some flowering “weeds” in the mix.
This issue even includes an article on “Saving America’s Garden Heritage” in which I was surprised to find D.C.’s beloved Dumbarton Oaks on the endangered garden list.
So it turns out that Garden Design isn’t just about $1,000 patio chairs anymore; now it’s relevant, too.