By Joseph Tychonievich
Published by Timber Press
133 SW 2nd Ave. #450
Portland, OR 97204
7″ x 9″
In the first 95 pages, the author shares his photographs and impressions of 10 rock gardens he visited. Rather than attempting to photograph every portion of each garden, he highlights specific scenes or plants he found interesting. Each garden profile includes one sidebar offering further insights about that garden’s owner (use of color in the garden, how to sell plants, finding a place to garden), sort of like an abbreviated how-to story. This section would be best used to inspire ideas for application in miniature.
The Techniques section references the basics (soil types, climate, plant division), plus design ideas, including rock walls, crevice gardens, screes, and moraines. While this isn’t a step-by-step construction book, there are how-to sidebars sprinkled throughout the section, including a nice spread on starting rock garden plants from seed and a page on making hypertufa containers. I was also pleased to see a few references to railroad gardening!
The rest of the book (about 100 pages) discusses 20 “types” of plants. Most are grouped by genus, but one is a family (cactus) and one isn’t specified (tulips). Despite the bit of confusion here, nearly every plant type includes references to plants of interest to the hobbyist. For instance, the hosta and iris sections spotlight many miniature varieties and cultivars perfect for railways. You won’t find comprehensive plant lists, but plenty of Latin names are included. You could easily use these to search for other miniature plants.
If you’re considering a rock garden, looking for inspirational landscape photos, or want new ideas for plants, this book deserves a closer look.