Plant Driven Design on Kirkus Today


I'm excited to see my first contribution to the Kirkus Blogger Network online today.  It's my reaction to the latest and most controversial book by Scott and Lauren Springer Ogden.  They're natural ranters.


  1. I really love the pictures in this book. And the commentary even though some of it controversial made for an interesting read. I certainly wasn’t bored. I checked it out at the library when it first came out and drooled over the plant combination’s for about a week. However, I do wish they would have had more gardens featured and in a broader spectrum of climates then just the houses they have both lived in and a couple of botanic garden jobs. A lot of garden authors do like showcase their own gardens and perhaps their own egos? Although, these gardens are obviously a labor of love and beautiful artistry.

  2. This book reminds us why we garden….to get to know plants and grow them well. I’ve been gardening and runing a specialty plant nursery for 25 years,and I’m still amazed how many more great plants there are to discover.

  3. Having lived for many years in the mt west, I was very excited to see this vast and botanically important area featured once again. The rest of the gardening world virtually ignores it (et tu, Tallamy?). And I also love LSO’s writing, so I bought the book when it came out.

    But I was really disappointed – not so much for what they said but for HOW they said it. There’s a nasty edge to this writing that wasn’t there in her previous work. I felt that some of the landscapes they didn’t like were identified so particularly that the only identifiers they left out were street addresses. Was it retaliation for some sort of war of the gardening pundits? I’m sure the rumors will wiggle out eventually.

    Anyway, using ‘straw man’ arguments in writing is a poor strategy. It’s not fair criticism nor is it thorough analysis. These authors use this tactic too much in this book and it was ultimately disappointing for me. Good pics and plant lists, though.

  4. I’ll have to read it more carefully (or read it at all. I have to admit I often get sidetracked by the pretty pictures). I didn’t realize there was anything particularly controversial or nasty about their writing. The pictures ARE beautiful though.

    I generally enjoy opinionated designers though. Even if I don’t agree with everything they say. I wish there were more writers like Christopher Lloyd who weren’t afraid to say things like “that plant is crap” or “rose gardens are dumb”. A bit of personality makes for a more interesting read.

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