I suppose what I’ve liked most about writing a book, is the opportunity to talk about my real passion for plants. They’re so often used as mere decorative elements after the rest of the garden has been planned; in which case you (or your designer) are missing a trick, because they should be used as an integral part of the whole design. Plants can be used as part of the structure and lay-out of the garden, to enhance the chosen style of a garden, create atmosphere and so much more.
The book, co-written with Pamela Johnson, is called Planting Design Essentials and began when we were approached by a publisher 18 months ago, it’ll finally be published this autumn.
Fifty thousand words is a lot to string together in an accurate, meaningful and engaging way, and was frankly pretty daunting at first. So I made a Plan, which is how I like to deal with a new and challenging situation. I developed a method of sketching out what I called chapter maps, a bit like a mind-map, containing all the important information in a colourful, visual format for each chapter. There are probably lots of different ways of doing this, but this method worked for me.
I’ve enjoyed the process enormously, though there were difficult phases when it felt like my brain was frozen and words just wouldn’t come, but a bit of fresh air or a strong cup of coffee always helped. I was also continuing to design gardens so there was plenty to do, but I found that the writing got easier the more I did, that could be practise or confidence… or a bit of both.
The photo for the cover is by the Clive Nichols, have a look at his website for more beautiful garden photos.
images: Clive Nichols, u.s.scouts.org