The Gardener's Palette: Creating Colour Harmony in the Garden
The Gardener’s Palette: Creating Colour Harmony in the Garden
by Jo Thompson
Timber Press in partnership with the Royal Horticultural Society, £35
With very little in the way of preamble or conclusion, Jo Thompson’s book plunges straight into 100 short case studies that illustrate her well-considered appreciation of colour combinations in a garden setting. The case studies draw not only on the author’s own work as a leading garden designer, but on a refreshingly wide variety of plantings that she admires, exploring many famous gardens in the UK, and making detours to far-flung locations including gardens of succulents and tree ferns in LA, and the Caribbean gardens of landscape architect Raymond Jungles.
The case studies each home in on a snapshot of a planting, which may be at the scale of a herbaceous combination or of a wider landscape. In a few paragraphs, Jo discusses what makes the compositions work, with her focus squarely on colour, although factors such as flower size and texture are of interest where they affect the interaction of the colours.
Prominent plants are then listed in a table with some key information. The book does not have the scope to discuss cultivation and maintenance in any detail, but the plant lists will make a good starting
point for further investigation.
The author’s interest in colour is broad, and the planting discussions often provoke tangential comparisons with paintings that she admires. Her appreciation of colour is happily free from any dogma and the book is alive to the myriad factors that can affect one’s appreciation (or not) of a particular hue. Above all, the reader is encouraged to experiment and not to get too bogged down in theory: colour wheels may help you but are not to be slavishly obeyed in an arena where there are so many subtleties at play.
A thought provoking book that will encourage gardeners to look at their plot with fresh eyes.