For this month I’ve chosen to do my book review on a book by Hilary Thomas called “The Complete Planting Design Course – Plans and Styles for every garden”. I first came across the author when I did a distance learning course about garden design and Hilary Thomas was the tutor. At the time I blogged about the course here and at the end I decided to buy the book by Hilary. I’m really glad I did.

It’s a pretty comprehensive book that helped me to view plants in a different light (or with fresh eyes). The chapters / subjects were very similar to what we covered in the course, so for those who don’t have the time to do a course and submit assignments etc., this book is great as it covers pretty much everything we learnt on the course. From initial vision to finished planting, the book clearly explains the practical steps, considerations, opportunities and decisions that need to be taken. This process can be applied to ones own gardens, and it will also help you to take your skills a step further into other people’s gardens!

Complete Planting Design

The key subjects covered are:

  • understanding plants in design
  • How to get the most from your site
  • Planting ideas for every style
  • Finding a theme for your location

According to the book blurb, once you’ve read this book and put into practise what you learn, you should be abl;e to design a garden. Once you understand colour, shape, texture, and form and know how to use these to best effect in a garden setting you will soon be designing your own garden and then you’ll be moving on to designing for your family friends. You will learn to create expert planting schemes using your newly learnt skills and techniques.

What I liked most about the book (and the course) is that Hilary taught me to look at the garden in a new way. Instead of planting for planting sake I learnt to plant for year-round interest. I learnt how to choose and combine plants for specific effects, for year-round color and interest, for drama and movement and to overcome site difficulties. The book is beautifully illustrated (photography by Steven Wooster) and chapters are divided and subdivided in a very simple, easy-to-follow way. I regularly pull this book off the bookshelf as the photographs are very inspiring and I seem to learn something new every time I pick up this book.

Complete Planting Design

Complete Planting Design

Complete Planting Design

Complete Planting Design

Complete Planting Design

Complete Planting Design

Complete Planting Design

Complete Planting Design

Complete Planting Design

Complete Planting Design

About Gardening Bloggers Book Review Meme

Garden Bloggers Book Review is a monthly meme hosted by Roses and Other Gardening Joys (20th day of the month). Whether its vegetable gardening, flower gardening, specialized gardening, design, landscape, or even fiction (that includes a garden, such as ‘The Secret Garden’), Holley invites you to share your take on the garden books you have read.  “Each of our gardens are different, and each of our tastes in garden books will probably be different – but I think if we tell what we like (or not) about each book, we can get a good sense of the books we might want to add to our collection”.  Join Holley on the 20th of the month and share one of your books with us all.