- Hardcover: 176 pages
- Publisher: Pimpernel Press Ltd (8 Mar. 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1910258636
- ISBN-13: 978-1910258637
- Product Dimensions: 19 x 2.3 x 23.5 cm
- Average Customer Review: 15 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 9,457 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Brilliant and Wild: A Garden from Scratch in a Year Hardcover – 8 Mar 2018
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"Required reading...a simple guide for total beginners who want to achieve a wildlife friendly haven rich in color and form." * Gardenista.com * "Bellamy makes gardening simple, expressive and joyful. Anyone can do it cheaply and with little spare time." * Evening Standard * "An infectious approach...Urban gardening has long ignored the nature around it, but even if one garden in every street adopted Bellamy's plan, our cities would be more buzzing and beautiful. Brilliant and Wild makes that seem enticingly possible." * Gardens Illustrated * "There's a wealth of inspiration, practical guidance and passion for an environmentally sympathetic model of gardening that leaps off the pages and will have you skipping merrily down your own garden path, well on the way to constructing your own brilliant and wild garden, in no time at all. " * Garden Weeds and Words * "Both practical and inspirational." * Country Living * "Help is on hand from this delightful new book that gives a step-by-step guide on how to start from scratch and get your garden blooming within a year." * Daily Mail * "A great practical manual for the novice gardener. A great guide to making an easy, low-maintenance, wildlife-friendly perennial garden." * Garden Heaven * "An encouraging book, especially for the beginner." * The Irish Garden * "Feeling inspired by Chelsea Flower Show? Novice gardeners can take heart with this new book that shows you how to create a beautiful and wildlife-friendly space in just twelve months." * A Little Bird * "I approve of the way Lucy flags up flower shape and height as being key to a successful border...there's lots of information about individual plants...a useful 'flower calendar'...lovely photos by the brilliant garden photographer Jason Ingram really bring it all to life, too." -- Alan Titchmarsh * Waitrose Weekend *
About the Author
A former primary school teacher, Lucy Bellamy trained in horticulture at Chelsea Physic Garden and with the Royal Horticultural Society and is now a garden designer and writer. She was a contestant on series 4 of The Great British Bake Off. Now editor of Gardens Illustrated magazine, Lucy has recently moved from Lincolnshire to Bristol. Jason Ingram is a celebrated photographer of gardens, plants, food and people. He also works with top international garden designer Dan Pearson on private projects. Jason won the Garden Media Guild Photographer of the Year Award in 2013 and 2014 and was Features Photographer of the Year in 2016. He lives in Bristol.
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The back cover of the book makes a bold and compelling claim. “From back-of-an-envelope plan to flower-filled paradise - Brilliant and Wild: A Garden from Scratch in a Year gives even the most inexperienced gardener the chance to create a beautiful and wildlife-friendly space - from nothing - in just twelve months.” With this in mind I dived straight into the book and was immediately impressed with its clear layout, generously supplemented with beautiful photographs by James Ingram.
The introduction is poetic in the way that it paints an image in the reader's mind of the garden that awaits them if they follow the philosophy and guidance set out within the pages of the book. “A brilliant and wild garden is never still. It trumpets a fanfare for every season and celebrates every kind of weather. Shoots shoot, blooms burst, seeds embellish, frost gilds.”
Lucy devotes almost half of the book to describing the plants from which to create your Brilliant and Wild garden. The plants are grouped by inflorescence type, umbellifers, spikes, dots, flatheads, panicles and grasses, with a separate section devoted to bulbs, corms and tubers. The description for each plant includes why you should grow it, its size, wildlife benefits and what goes well with it. There are also recommendations as to the best species or cultivars to look out for.
After celebrating the beauty of winter seed heads Lucy turns to the design and selection of plants that work well together. Using between four and seven plants, there are five simple planting plans that demonstrate how to weave the plants together and to serve as inspiration and information for the reader.
Lucy then moves on to the practicalities of calculating how many plants you will need and to sourcing them before getting down to the business of planting your own Brilliant and Wild garden. Once planted, the book then looks at the wealth of insects and birds that you can expect to attract and the role they play in the ecology of your new garden as well as maintenance and some helpful hints and tips should things not go quite as planned.
Finally the book includes a handy calendar showing when the plants described flower and display their seed heads as well as a resources section listing nurseries and suggestions for a couple of gardens to visit.
Will I plant a Brilliant and Wild garden? Probably not in the way Lucy describes in her book, for one thing, there is no way that I could restrict my planting to a just handful of reliable perennials! I do however see myself using her ideas to introduce more elements of perennial planting into my own garden. This book is aimed at the inexperienced, time-poor gardener who wants the garden to work for them and not the other way around, but equally, seasoned gardeners can be encouraged to look afresh at their relationship with their own gardens. It is a book that is full of promise and will I believe encourage readers of all ages, especially those who are new to gardening, to have a go at creating their own Brilliant and Wild garden.
Like many, in an effort to support declining pollinators, I planned to create a wildflower meadow in my garden. I was ready to order turf seeded with wildflowers. I am so happy I didn't as this wild garden will better suit our existing garden, give us a wider array of colourful flowers with greater longevity, height and texture diversity.
I know this review is crazily random but I am very excited by this idea and the genius of it. Lucy Bellamy has created a plant puzzle that can be customised and scaled to suit any gardener's taste. The principle is simple: select an assortment of plants, create a blocked garden plan for your area, buy smaller sized/cheaper plants and grow!
The idea is pure genius as is the layout of the book. We start with plant categories. The categories are divided into umbellifers, spikes, dots, flatheads, panicles, grasses and bulbs/corms/tubers. Within each category are pages of beautiful plants that are good for nature. Each page details a plant, explains why it is good (and for whom), gives details about the plant (colour, height, spacing, etc), the best species to choose and lists the other plants it goes well with (both flowers and grasses). You pick 7+/- plants you like best, mixing between the categories and picking different heights, then work on the plan. Lucy's got loads of templates and example plans that mix and match the categories and gives lots of planting guidance. This book is a gem for experienced gardeners and novices alike.
Picking plants will be the hardest part for me as I love them all. I made a list of the plants I liked best and my list goes well beyond 7. I decided to give a tick to each 'works well with' plant that matched a plant from my list. Those with the most ticks are my plants. I'm pleased with the selection and now am off to work on my plan. I cannot wait to go shopping and get planting. Thank you, Lucy, for your terrific system!
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