Wet Garden


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Plants That Flourish in Problem Places ISBN: 9780881929003 Author(s): John Simmons Printed in China – 310 pages – copyright 2008 Water is generally the gardener’s friend, bringing lush plant growth alongside the sensory delights of fountains, streams, and ponds. But even gardeners can have too much of a good thing, and sudden downpours, prolonged rainy periods, or poor drainage can turn gardens into quagmires that appear to be hostile to all plant life. Fortunately. leading plantsman John Simmons comes to the rescue with his resourceful and inspirational guide to managing all kinds of wet garden sites from damp woodland to water’s edge. Managing a wet garden has its challenges, and practical techniques for modifying aspects of the site are recommended as a first step. Natural wetlands such as water meadows, marshlands, and riverbanks are recalled to provide inspiration for practical water management, plant selection, and aesthetic considerations. Having gardened in many different conditions, John Simmons regards even the excess of water as a positive blessing not least for the opportunity it brings to cultivate an unexpectedly large range of interesting plants that are the glory of this book. Collected into a unique directory, most of these wet-tolerant ferns, conifers, trees, shrubs, climbers, herbaceous plants, and bulbs have been grown by the author in a wide range of less-than-dry locations. Handsomely illustrated with a wealth of colour photographs, this timely book will have relevance for many gardeners. As our climate changes and more of us experience periods of excess water in our gardens, it is good to remember that, despite its challenges, a wet garden acts as a magnet for wildlife, provides an opportunity for improving biodiversity, and is rarely less than exuberant and vigorously green. About the Author: John Simmons OBE VMH has had a long professional career in botanical horticulture managing large gardens and supporting wider interests of horticulture and conservation through honorary positions including presidencies and trusteeships with many related organisations. From 1972 until his retirement in 1995 he was curator at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, after which he directed the development of the arboretum at Castle Howard in Yorkshire. Fascinated by wet gardens and ponds since childhood, in 1986 he purchased a two-and-a-half-acre wet meadow in North Norfolk, England. This book stems from his subsequent experiences of developing a private garden on this ploughed but otherwise abandoned site.


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