This review appears in the July/August 2015 issue of Northern Gardener.
If you’re tired of being told exactly how to create the most beautiful containers or the most efficient compost piles, or how to grow the biggest, newest, weirdest edibles, you might consider leafing through Cultivating Garden Style.
The author, Rochelle Greayer, is a garden designer and writer who gardens in New England. There, she grows flowers and vegetables to sell in the local farmers’ market. She isn’t suggesting that you do that, however. Her goal for this book is, she says, for the reader to “discover the ways in which [your garden] can … provide an extraordinarily satisfying place for you to live, play, and become rejuvenated.”
Her method of providing this inspiration is eclectic, maybe even a bit frenetic, but never directive or dull. After a brief introduction, the book is grouped into four categories, Artifact, Lifestyle, Environment and World. Each category has five or six chapters; the World section, for example, includes Islamic, Scandinavian, Indian, Mexican, Low Country and Zen. Each chapter has five sections, including an example of the style in an actual garden.
Nearly every one of the 300-some pages has multiple colorful photos—everything from flower close-ups to the iconic Sound of Music mountaintop shot—sprinkled among informational or inspirational nuggets. The book concludes with an extensive list of names and websites of garden designers, artists and other vendors and an index.
While there are practical bites (path making, installing lights), the book is really a buffet. Graze and see what looks good to you.