The Garden Source – Review

Sandy Felton reviews the updated version of The Garden Source, by Andrea Jones– a book full of design ideas as well as stunning photography.

There is an English adage that says, “A picture is worth a thousand words” and there can be no doubt that this is certainly the case in ‘The Garden Source’ – Inspirational Design Ideas for Gardens and Landscapes, by Andrea Jones.

This new, updated version of the 2011 bestseller, offers the reader thousands of possible design solutions from gardens across the world, by some of the best garden designers. It is definitely a must-have sourcebook for anyone with a garden looking for ideas or perhaps looking for inspiration from other countries and cultures, as within its pages we are taken on a global adventure of style, fashion, and all manner of garden detail from pergolas to paths and patios to the vegetable patch.

In the Foreword, the late James van Sweden, one of the most important landscape and garden designers of the last half century, (1935-2013) points out that The Garden Source arrived for him at an opportune time – a cold and dreary January. In several respects that was also true for me, for my review copy arrived on a dreich and stormy day in December. A first browse through the pages of this substantial book and I suddenly began to visualise spring and summer, and be at one with James van Sweden’s point that hours spent with “this lovely book will have a salubrious effect on every reader/viewer.”

Here we are given the opportunity to learn from a gifted photographer, to gain a different perspective on landscape. Andrea arranges the book into Connect, Divide, Space and Style – in Connect, she looks at the different means of connecting one area to another and includes ideas on gates, steps, lawns, paths and patios. In Divide, she covers areas such as pools, fountains, sculpture, pots, trees and screens. Space, covers urban and rural design, courtyard, walled, shaded and vegetable and herb gardens as well as roof. Finally, in Style Andrea covers a wide range of garden style from across the world and is, for me, perhaps my favourite chapter.

Also included are show gardens demonstrating various designs from the Chelsea Flower Show, Hampton Court Festival, the International Garden Festival and Chaumont.

There are superb examples of gardens from all over the world by leading designers such as Andy Sturgeon, Piet Oudolf, Cleve West and Kazuyuki Ishihara. There are little-known examples of private gardens too, as well as celebrated public spaces such as the Millennium Park (Chicago) and Parc André Citroën (Paris).

The book balances just enough text to be relevant and engaging to support the superb photography. Andrea points out in her Introduction that throughout history there have been different problems to solve while designing outdoor spaces and that the book is but a small snapshot of some of the best garden solutions from around the world: “Ultimately, I hope that this book will inspire new garden designs which will enrich people’s lives“, she says.

This welcome reprint has a fully updated list of Gardens to visit, Garden Festivals, and designers, as well as a comprehensive index.

On a personal level I was delighted to see Levens Hall, Cumbria, included with its mix of low geometric shapes in Buxus sempervirens, a garden I am very familiar with. The rain may be cascading down outside but I sit with the view of a beautiful garden in Provence, marvel at the sculpted earth and turf amphitheatre at Great Fosters Hotel, Egham, and have my thoughts challenged on whether to lay a gravel path or brick pathway. The stimulus is endless and the reader really is treated to a masterclass both in photography and in the photographer’s innate grasp of design brought right into the reader’s lap.

One couldn’t hope to visit the variety and breadth of gardens that Andrea includes in this book unless you have, like her, spent a career as one of the world’s leading garden photographers. So, having The Garden Source by your side is the next best thing. Every illustration is picked and chosen carefully to carry the intended message clearly and illustrate the point.

Andrea is an award-winning photographer, based in Scotland, whose work has taken her all over the world. Her work appears in publications such as House & Garden and The English Garden as well as Country Life. She has also illustrated numerous books, notably Great Gardens of America by Tim Richardson and The Splendour of the Tree by Noel Kingsbury, for which she was awarded the Book Photographer of the Year by the Garden Media Guild.

‘The Garden Source’ – Inspirational Ideas for Gardens and Landscapes, by Andrea Jones, is published by eightbooks – – in a large softback format and is priced at £29.95. It will bring delight and inspiration to all who read it and certainly makes for an excellent gift.

We acknowledge with thanks receipt from the publisher of a review copy of this book. Illustrations ©Eightbooks and Andrea Jones.