Book Review: Garden Design by Heidi Howcroft & Marianne Majerus

Garden Design: A Book of Ideas Book Review

Garden Design by Heidi Howcroft & Marianne Majerus, is a substantial book that qualifies as a coffee table book. The cover caught my eye with its colors and a close up shot of Joe Pye, one of my favorite native plants!

There are six chapters in the book, and each one breaks down garden design into various elements such as: pavers, structure, walls, garden furniture, etc,. There are also a lot of case studies throughout the book, featuring specific gardens that exemplify a certain look or style. It is available hardback or paperback. However, it is a thick book and to me is easier to look through when you can lay the book open as a hardback.

Published in 2015 by Firefly Books Ltd., this book’s photos still feel up to date with current styles. The book is basically full of images, with captions explaining the design element shown in the photo. You could call the book a garden ‘lookbook’.

There is a variety of garden styles depicted throughout- modern, zen, cottage, traditional, and way out there. The photos are high quality and good representations for the information being presented. As I looked through the book, I began to notice there are certain styles and looks that I tend to really like. That means, I should try and replicate some these in my own garden.

Some of the pages will have six images of a garden element, such as a pathway. In this case, each photo shows a different style or pathway material through the garden. On these types of pages, I thought it was fun to pick out which ones I liked best to least.

Many of the gardens in this book obviously had a large budget. Some of the gardens are large spaces probably covering acres of land and requiring a full time staff. However, anyone on any budget with some imagination can begin to feel some inspiration. The purpose of the photos are to set an example of the basic design idea. From there, it’s the imagination that can take that idea and apply it to the design of your own garden.

This post originally appeared on http://www.EARTHeim.comThere may be links to products in this post. As an Amazon Associate I earn a commission from qualifying purchases made through these links. This is at no cost to you and you don’t need to do anything. All opinions are my own.

Book Review: Creating Sanctuary by Jessi Bloom

Creating Sanctuary by Jessie Bloom Book Review

I really like this book, Creating Sanctuary: Sacred Garden Spaces, Plant Based Medicine, and Daily Practices to Achieve Happiness and Well-Being by Jessie Bloom. Not only do I think the format and its colorful cover is really nice, but the contents is fun to read as well. The book is broken down into many categories which makes it easy to read.

The book is by Jessie Bloom, who is an ecological landscape designer (like me!) in the Seattle Washington area. She is the owner of NW Bloom Ecological Services. She is an author of another book, Free Range Chicken Gardens, and is coauthor of Practical Permaculture.

If you’re into making your garden something special, herbs, spirituality, or well-being, you’ll probably enjoy this book too. The first third of the book focuses on how to create a garden sanctuary space. The last two thirds, is about how to use plants for your health and home.

I read the whole book in just a few nights, but there’s information that can be referenced back to, such as recipes and plant descriptions. There are a good amount of pretty pictures that enhance the understanding the book.

There are three sections: Creating Scared Space, Botanical Alchemy, and Nurturing Self.

The first section, my favorite part, is about turning your garden into a sanctuary. Isn’t this what a garden is for? There are some inspirational photos and guiding words to get you thinking about what you want most out of your garden. There are many landscaping ideas you can use to get started on your backyard landscaping.

First, she has you make some lists.

  • What are the needs in your garden? What is 100% necessary
  • What are your wants? Things that would be nice to have
  • What are your desires? No plans to have these things, but if they happened one day, it’d be the bees knees.

For my garden, I have 3 needs. I want my garden space to feel safe- to not worry about the electric company cutting down my trees, the utility companies wanting to dig up my yard and install lines, barriers to prevent intruders, keeping out animal predators from the chickens or eating my vegetable garden. Lastly, making sure everything is as wind proof as possible since the wind seems to get more muscular every single year, and having the garden easy to move around in so I don’t get hurt. Some of this I can only do so much.

Like most people, I also want to feel privacy. I don’t want to be standing on my back patio in my bathrobe while a utility worker pops his head over my fence to A) See if he can see anyone in the house and B) Figure out a way to jump my fence (without any permission).

Real story.

My last need is more shade. The electric company cut the back half of my tree off this past summer. They told me I can’t have anything over 13′ in my yard or they’ll cut it down. So I’m seriously lacking shade and my chickens had a hard time with the summer heat after that. I’ve pondered many options but haven’t come up too many solutions. Safety, privacy, and shade are my 3 needs and my focus for next season.

The rest of this section goes on to teach you about different things to add into your garden sanctuary like: gathering spaces, art, sources of light, and entrances, just to name a few. Lastly, there are tips on how to implement all your ideas into a physical garden reality.

So far at this point, the book helped me to organize my thoughts and feel more inspiration to take action.

The second section of the book, Botanical Alchemy, is a list and description of plants that are good for garden sanctuaries. Some of them woody plants, but many of them herbs, she gives descriptions about the plants and what they can be used for. As an herbalist myself, I even learned some new facts about plants I commonly grow. The section continues with information about how to use various plants for certain ailments and how to prepare them for use. There are recipes for different types of concoctions including teas, sprays, and oils.

The last section of the book, Nurturing Self, looks at how to use your garden and plants for ritual and healing. There are more herbal recipes. However Bloom also writes about various types of rituals you can do in the garden such as making an altar, being in tune with nature, exercise, journaling, or ceremonies for important life events. Maybe you can include a pet memorial or a fun space to dedicate to pollinators.

Throughout the book there are some pages dedicated to featuring gardens that have successfully created garden sanctuaries. Many of them are near Seattle Washington, where Bloom is located.

My favorite photo in the book of a relaxation space in Bali. Certainly a desire, but makes me have ideas about my current gazebo!

There is an accompanying workbook to Creating Sanctuary, which is ‘Everyday Sanctuary: A Workbook for Designing a Sacred Garden Space‘. If my local library gets the workbook at some point, I will write a review!

This post originally appeared on http://www.EARTHeim.comThere may be links to products in this post. As an Amazon Associate I earn a commission from qualifying purchases made through these links. This is at no cost to you and you don’t need to do anything. All opinions are my own.

Books By Jessie Bloom

Tree Care Video Guide 2019 Citizen’s Environmental Academy

This past May, I was a part of the Lexington’s 2019 Citizen’s Environmental Academy. The 2019 was the second class to graduate from this program that is offered by the Lexington Fayette Urban County Government Division of Environmental Services.

The program is a year long venture. The first half of the program involves meeting once a month to learn about different aspects of environmental efforts in Lexington. We made several trips to different locations such as the Water Treatment Plant, the LEED certified Lexington Citizen’s Center, McConnell’s Springs, and the Regional Recycling Facility.

The second half of the program involved creating and executing an environmentally focused project. The projects had to follow certain guidelines and deadlines, but the program leaders were open to ideas. We then had to present our project ideas to our class, which in turn received a vote. This vote determined if the project could continue.

2019’s completed projects included

UpCycle Bluegrass where efforts were made to teach people how to take common household items and repurpose them into something new instead of throwing them away.

Go See Trees, which was a project dedicated to creating a tree map of historic or significant trees in Lexington. With the debut of the map in May, anyone in Lexington could become involved with a month long interactive contest to see if you could visit all the trees on the map. There was another challenge this past October.

Preston Cave Springs Restoration, aimed to eradicate invasive species such as honeysuckle and winter creeper in a part of this Lexington public park and plant native plants in order to restore beauty and the ecology along this natural spring.

Cane Run Greenway Installation, took efforts to improve a riparian buffer, where the Cane Run stream daylights . Native plants and many trees were planted in this space in order to increase the ecological value of this area and improve stormwater quality. The project implemented one of the Plant By Numbers gardens. Check out the Plant By Numbers program, which EARTHeim created the designs for!

Lastly, the Tree Care Video Guide, is a series of 5 videos created to educate the public on how to take care of their trees. This includes ‘The Value of Trees‘, ‘Right Tree Right Space, ‘Pruning‘, ‘Mulching‘, and ‘Proper Planting‘. This was my project, in which I was the only team member of the academy! The videos were filmed by a student videographer the city was able to provide. Unfortunately, the Right Tree Right Space video has not been posted and I’m unsure why.

GreenCheck Lexington Awards 2019

In September, GreenCheck Lexington accepted 9 new members into its certification program. This Lexington based program provides resources to local businesses and organizations in order to become more sustainable.

To become certified, businesses follow a scorecard where points can be earned for completing certain tasks. The main categories of these tasks are based on sustainability management, outreach and education, energy efficiency, waste reduction, water conservation, urban forestry/landscapes, purchasing, transportation, and innovative efforts such as installing a green roof. Some tasks are simple such as ‘implement a basic recycling program’, while others like ‘host an environmental focused event’ may take more effort.

To become certified, the business much reach a minimum score to become a Member, and can earn more points to reach higher levels of Bronze, Silver, and Gold if efforts go beyond the minimum. Business can re-certify every 3 years and have a chance to increase their certification level at that time. Learn more about GreenCheck Lexington.

GreenCheck Lexington EARTHeim Landscape Design Studio

EARTHeim is a Silver member!

A few ways EARTHeim is a sustainable business:

  • Promoting the use of native plants, which good for the environment on many levels (soil, air, water quality, pollinators, wildlife)
  • Using environmentally conscious landscaping products and abstaining from any chemical use.
  • Reducing energy through LED light bulbs, conserving paper, recycling, repurposing items, reducing waste.
  • Completing a project through the Environmental Citizen’s Academy 2019
  • Reducing lawn and planting pollinator gardens, implementing rain gardens and rain barrels.
  • Growing food, composting
  • Environmental education, volunteering at environmental focus events, community projects
  • Visit GreenCheck Lexington
GreenCheck Lexington 2019

Other businesses certified in 2019:

  • Leisure Lawn & Landscaping- Silver
  • West Sixth Brewing- Bronze
  • GRW- Bronze
  • Carson’s Food & Drink- Bronze
  • Downtown Lexington Partnership- Member
  • Clark Law Office- Member
  • Barnhill Chimney- Member

Find a full list of certified businesses here.

Lexington Environmental Awards

This year 2019, was the 49th annual Lexington Environmental Awards ceremony. The event awarded 14 environmentally focused people and their projects which have been completed in the city of Lexington in recent years.

Each year the LFUCG Environmental Commission takes nominations for these awards. Year 2020 will be the 50th event! If you are aware of an environmental project or environmental advocate, include your nomination in next year’s pot of nominees.

Awards went to:

  • Kentucky Master Naturalist Program (Dr. Carmen Agouridis/Ellen Crocker)
  • Family Care Center gardens (Tee Bergman)
  • UK Horticulture (Shari Dutton)
  • Gardenside Park restoration project (Gardenside Neighborhood Association)
  • Richmond Rd stream restoration (Kentucky American Water)
  • Helix parking garage water quality improvement (Lexington Parking Authority)
  • St. Michael’s Episcopal Church gardens (Beate Popkin)
  • Community garden at St. Paul Catholic Church (Simon Wethington)
  • Raven Run pollination education projects (Anna Wiker)

EARTHeim created the center pieces to decorate the tables at the event with native plants grown by EARTHeim.

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