By now, you all know that I love most anything that St. Lynn’s Press publishes. So when I was offered a review copy of Jan Johnsen’s The Spirit of Stone: 101 Practical & Creative Stonescaping Ideas for Your Garden of course I said yes. As always with review copies, opinions expressed are always my own.
What interested me about this book and topic is the fact that I have so much stone in my own garden. In fact, I have a version of just about every project she mentions in the book with the exception of a true rock garden.
So, since we are in the middle of a a garden trends project, I wanted to see how stone fit into that–or how its use had changed over the 25 years or so that I have been gardening at my own property.
Since Johnsen has been a landscape designer for 4 decades, obviously the use of stone has evolved–but many stone projects have timeless appeal, of course. Depending on one’s part of the country, one need only to think of New England’s stone walls, which date back hundreds of years, in some instances.
And of course the stone “henges” of ancient Britain go back many more centuries than that!
Johnsen divides her book into chapters that focus on rock gardens, stone walls, walks, steps, stone accent pieces and plant recommendations. She also addresses the issue of sustainability in an entire chapter. That is certainly new since some of my stone was installed and it probably would have led me to make different choices from what is there now. I was pleased to see so many of my projects in the sustainable section though. Whew!
Because the book is called The Spirit of Stone, there is a discussion of different types of stone, its history, and using local stone. This is the very first chapter of the book. I found it very appropriate. Some people might not care for it.
The book is abundantly full of photos from botanic and public gardens and the author’s own installations. There is a list at the end of places to visit to see some of the photos in the book. There is also a list of books about stone (some have been quoted within the book and others are just of interest to the reader).
Whether you have been thinking about a stone project or a rock garden for yourself, or if you just have an interest in stone, this is a lovely, well done book.