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Sara-Jane & Alica at Virens Studio

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5 Exciting Books to Inspire the Naturalistic Planting Designer in You

Mar 8, 2020

Some people might suggest that I have a bit of a gardening book problem. The truth is that I do love a good read (and look) and I'm pretty much a sucker for anything to do with plants. So I thought that in the interest of sharing I'd list a few of my favourites. Because although there are a ton to choose from, there are a few that I always come back to.

great gardening books

Drought-Resistant Planting by Beth Chatto

The classic story of Beth Chatto's enduring legacy; her famous Gravel Garden in Essex. This book is a must have for anyone that is interested in dry gardening and the Right plant - Right place movement. Not only does it have great reference photos but it contains Chatto's actual notes of her experiences building and maintaining this section of her gardens from conception to near present times.

beth chattos book
beth chattos book
Planting in a Post-Wild World

Planting in a Post-Wild World by Thomas Rainer & Claudia West

Building on the concepts explored by Chatto, this book is it's present day equivalent. West and Rainer guide you through modern science-based sustainable landscape ideals. Filled with inspiration and careful thought, this book will give you plenty to consider from the big picture to the small details.

Planting in a Post-Wild World

Planting: a New Perspective by Piet Oudolf & Noel Kingsbury

Piet Oudolf is the designer that is responsible for many of the most highly successful public green spaces in the world and this book is an invaluable window into his process. It takes us through many of his top designs, discussing his thoughts on: plant choice, planning, installation and maintenance. It is a must have for any hort nerd that loves perennial gardens and the best in current design.

Planting a new Perspective

New Nordic Gardens by Annika Zetterman

This book is pure inspiration for anyone that is interested in the clean naturalistic designs that are at the forefront of modern Scandinavian horticulture. Breathtakingly beautiful, the visuals and text in this volume are a celebration of the very best in current perennial garden design.

New Nordic Gardens

The High Line by James Corner Field Operations, Diller Scofidio & Renfro

There are loads of great books highlighting New York's High Line park, but this one is my personal favourite. Not only is it well designed and laid out, but it tells the complete story of the creation of this amazing green space from conception to present day. It is filled with design drawings, beautiful photos and thoughtful interviews with all of its major players (including Piet Oudolf). It is an inspirational story of seemingly ordinary people saving a forgotten urban space and repurposing it into one of the greatest public green spaces in the world.

The High Line

© Virens Studio 2022 (all photos are used for demonstration purposes and do not necessarily belong to us.)

downed street tree, Vancouver, Canada

Recently I came across a study that confirms it, our street trees live fast and die young. The research shows, that urban trees (in comparison to their rural counterparts), experience (4x) accelerated growth and double the mortality rates. All of this means that we are experiencing a net loss in carbon storage, over time. According…

Why Planting More Street Trees Isn’t the Answer to Climate Change

Botanical Curiozine Sunflower snippet

We’ve written and designed a fun ebook! And we’ve decided to share a few select pages, so that you can see what we’ve been up to.   Botanical Curiozine, Sunflower is a deep dive into the fascinating biology, history and beauty of Helianthus annus, one of the most beloved flowers in the world. Far from…

A Fun & Fascinating Sneaky Peak at, Botanical Curiozine – Sunflower

tiny wasp on blanket flower

It’s always good to take a step back and see the world from a different point of view. So why not put aside cultural perceptions and traditions to view our gardening foes with fresh eyes?   In this article, let’s take a relaxed look at some common weeds in a way. Exploring, why we don’t…

Weeds & Pests in the Garden: A New Perspective