I’m giving a big Thumb’s Up to Rick Darke‘s updating of William Robinson‘s classic The Wild Garden (Timber), now in its robust Second Printing. What Darke has added are 100 of his own fabulous photos (the 1870 book uses illustrations), and plenty of his usual smart observations – this time about how important Robinson’s philosophy of wild gardening still is, today. Some of us are finally catching up with him.
Darke sure speaks for me and a lot of GardenRant readers here in his introduction, recommending The Wild Garden “For all of us seeking creative, practical approaches to today’s challenges and opportunities – balancing culture and environment, native and exotic, consumption and sustainability.” There’s no formal doctrine here, just the simple notion of placing plants “where they will thrive without further care.” That, I totally get. That, I totally do.
And how about Robinson’s ripped-from-the-gardening-world-headlines criticisms of large mowed lawns, calling extensive mowing “ridiculous work” and a “costly mistake”! From Darke’s introduction we learn that Robinson “criticizes gardens comprised of mere collections, those organized dryly by plant classification, and those with excessive geometrical order.”
I hope your appetite for the book has been whetted already but just in case, enjoy Rick’s video about the book and this type of gardening, then a couple of visuals from the book.
Here’s a great review by Saxon Holt for the blog Gardeners Gone Wild. My favorite quote: “One of the finest books of the year was first published in 1870.”
Photos by Rick Darke, including cover photo of ostrich ferns at Winterthur Garden. Illustration by Alfred Parsons.