My Garden is in a Book!

 Ehem. Testing. One two, one two. This thing still work? Oh, hi. As you might have guessed from the title, I have some rather exciting news. I've been keeping a lid on this for about 2 years now, but with the launch date fast approaching, I can finally share this with you all.

Cover photo by Caitlin Atkinson

Under Western Skies, by photographer, Caitlin Atkinson, and writer, Jennifer Jewell, will be officially published on May 11th, 2021. Atkinson's sumptuous photography makes the whole book a visual delight, while Jewell's writing immerses the reader in the gardens and their respective region, connecting you to the gardeners who created and nurture them. Both authors strongly convey their own deep connection to the West, as well as that of the individual gardeners. 

The gardens run the gamut from famous institutions such as the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona and Heronswood in Kingston, Washington, to humble gardens still in their infancy, grown on a tight budget. A physical copy now sits before me as I type this, and I still can't believe my garden is in a book, let alone alongside so many incredible and inspiring gardens. 

The premise of the book is to take readers through gardens that show both innovative design and a respect for the region in which they reside. One of the things I like about this is that it's not a dogmatic sermon on native gardens. Instead, it shows that natives and exotics can be combined with creativity and sensitivity to the location, drawing inspiration from nature as well as regional cultures, both modern and ancient. With attention to local environment and thoughtful plant selection, a garden can look like it belongs and serve both humans and wildlife.


The gardens are broken up by region, each region prefaced by a 2 page photo spread and title. I was absolutely flabbergasted to find the Pacific Northwest section headed by a photo of my garden. Photo by Caitlin Atkinson.

Gardens are broken into 5 regions, the Southwest, Southern California, Northern California, Intermountain West, and Pacific Northwest. For each garden, Jewell describes the place, the person, and the plants. Place descriptions cover not only the local climate and ecology, but the human history, as well, setting the stage which has shaped both garden and gardener. Enter onto this stage the person, the gardener who has created the garden, with insight into their reasons for gardening, the inspiration they find in their respective regions, the constraints placed on them by those very same regions, and how they have addressed those restrictions in creative ways. Finally, what every garden reader wants to know, the last section of each garden profile highlights some of the plants, discussing how and why they were chosen. 


I am personally finding this book very inspiring. For all that I've been gardening since childhood and I only became involved with this project two years ago, my own style was still in its infancy when I was contacted. The garden and I have both evolved significantly and become more grounded in the last two years. Looking at the other gardens in this book both inspires and affirms my direction to continue creating gardens which combine natives and exotics in novel, thought-provoking ways while simultaneously honoring the conditions and spirit of the region in which I reside. In the more mature gardens in this book, I see the directions in which I wish to take my own young garden, always with my own unique twist.


 I can't thank Caitlin and Jennifer enough for including me in this project. It's truly an honor and privilege I never imagined I would receive. This is a wonderful book that I will be spending many cumulative hours (however piecemeal) with, as I both soak in the wonderful atmosphere created by the prose and photographs, and closely analyze the details there-in to further inspire my own gardening.

Back cover. Photo by Caitlin Atkinson.


Comments

  1. DUDE, this is awesome! I'm so happy for you! Can't wait to receive my copy of the book so I can see for myself.

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  2. My book's on order. I can't wait to see your garden and the rest of those featured. Congratulations again, Evan!

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  3. Hardly a surprise. Your garden is gorgeous and your plant knowledge is extensive. Bravo!

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  4. Amazing news, congratulations on your new book!!

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