11 November 2014

A new look at indigenous garden design

From the publishers that brought you the Tim Noakes eating plan, we now have an equally innovative gardening plan from Cape Town’s talented landscape designer, Marijke Honig. Marijke was largely responsible for the imaginative biodiversity garden in the Green Point Urban Park in Cape Town, and she and her landscape business partner have created several unique gardens using indigenous South African plants. This fabulous book encapsulates her thoughts and strategy on South African indigenous garden design.
Marijke has always been moved by the textures, scents and exceptional diversity of the South African flora. Working as a landscaper, she uses her knowledge as a botanist and ecologist to think and design with what she calls plant palettes – groups of plants which serve a specific purpose (e.g. screening) or for a particular habitat. This gave her the idea for this book which contains many of her ‘working’ palettes. So not only does she present her original and clever ideas, but all the plants mentioned have been chosen because she knows that they will work and grow well in various situations. With Indigenous Plant Palettes you start with the advantage of knowing that years of trial and error weeding out plants that don’t work and testing ideas has already been done. Only plants that are generally available have been included.
Plant palettes include plants for texture, for cottage style gardens, for security, for retaining walls, feature trees, for shade, for vertical and for rooftop gardens, to attract wildlife, for ponds – and there are many more. Each palette is beautifully presented and easy to put into practice. Recommended plants have a thumbnail photograph with a short description of its size and growth habits and needs.
The book has the most gorgeous photos – and even if you have no plans to revolutionize your garden, it is a beautiful book to own. I defy anyone not to be seduced into growing edible plants after reading the ‘Edible’ plant palette.
Even the name ‘palette’ conjures up an image of an artist, so you can be the artist and use Marijke’s palettes to paint a beautiful garden. The book doesn't come dirt cheap, but considering all the expertise in it and the sheer enjoyment of reading it, it is worth every cent.
Top of my Christmas wish list and highly recommended.

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