This winter I decided I wanted to challenge myself to read, cover to cover, one garden or home decor book each month. In an attempt to increase my garden knowledge, and force myself to slow down a little to read, I ordered my first book. But, while waiting impatiently for the new book to arrive, I came across a book I’ve had, but haven’t read or looked at, for at least 10 -15 years. I’d forgotten I still even had this book, and was so pleased to find it.
So, this month’s book is P. Allen Smith’s, Garden Home.
When I first bought this book so many years ago, I devoured it, reading every page and studying every picture. I loved it then, and as I’m reading through the book again, it is like rediscovering an old and cherished friend.
P. Allen Smith’s philosophy for gardening is to break up your yard into “garden rooms”, where just like in your home, each garden room has its own distinct personality. Dividing your yard into rooms, makes areas more manageable, and allows you to use different color palettes. Here is an aerial sketch of Allen’s city home in Arkansas, showing 13 distinct areas, from the house (1) to the toolshed/chicken house (7).
I love all the unique areas, with different themes and purposes, all arranged to surround the house, which sits on a corner lot. One of my favorite areas is #5, the Rondel garden.
Allen uses hedges, shrubs, or espaliers to create boundaries (walls) for his rooms, arbors as doorways, and walkways as hallways to draw you from room to room. He likes to block the view into the next garden, which creates mystery, so you are curious to see what is around the corner.
Chapter by chapter, Allen teaches the 12 Principles of Design, explaining each element and its importance, along with beautiful pictures to demonstrate each principle.
The book is full of stunning photos, and instructions for do-it-yourself garden projects.
This is both a beautiful and inspirational hardback book. Copyrighted in 2003, you can buy used copies on Amazon for as little as $6.50, a great value for all it offers. A wonderful book for a garden library.
Allen has written several other books, and the one I’d like to buy next is, Living in the Garden Home. You may already be familiar with P. Allen Smith and have followed him through the years. His first book, Garden Home, is based on the gardens of his city home in Little Rock, Arkansas. He has also built a newer and much larger home, called Moss Mountain Farm in Roland, Arkansas, which overlooks the Arkansas River. Here tours are given of his garden rooms, which are beautiful, large, and extensive.
Besides his books, he has three TV programs, called “Garden Style”, “Garden Home”, and “Garden to Table”. I’ve watched many of the episodes on YouTube, which is a never ending source of garden information.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the size of your yard, or how to arrange your gardens, I hope you might check out this book, either from your local library or purchase a copy from Amazon.
Even though the weather is still chilly, the photos alone inspire me to get out in the garden and find anything I can to do.
Are you ready to create your garden home?