Penelope Hobhouse is England’s leading garden writer, garden designer, garden historian, lecturer and gardener, and host of The Art and Practice of Gardening (produced by Perennial Productions) for Home and Garden Television in the USA.
ROSES FOR THE GARDEN features top rose authorities and rose gardens: world renowned rosarian David Austin Sr. from his Nursery & Rose Garden in Albrighton; Patrick Taylor on the glory of old roses at Mottisfont Abbey. VISIONS OF NATURE: The Naturalistic Garden Style explores today s most sought after garden style on both sides of the Atlantic, with a stunning visual tour of England’s greatest 18th century landscape garden, Stourhead, and two of America’s great naturalist gardens: Winterthur Gardens’ March Walk and Longwood Garden’s native plant woodland garden, Peirce’s Woods. STRUCTURAL ELEMENTS: Garden Architecture & Ornament features the 20th century’s grand dame of British horticulture, Rosemary Verey in her equally renowned Barnsley House garden.. Hobhouse covers all the structural essentials, large and small: from steps, walls, and paving, to pots, paint color and garden furnishings THE SUMMER GARDEN sets out Hobhouse’s secrets for summer beauty and abundance using a blend of annuals, perennials and biennials in her garden at Bettiscombe, and with Sandra Pope in her spectacular yellow border at Hadspen House. NURSERIES & PLANT COLLECTIONS: Hobhouse explores the Victorian era walled gardens at West Dean with Jim Buckland and Sarah Wain. NEW GARDEN IDEAS explores new alternative garden styles, from her first gravel garden at Bettiscombe to the eclectic mix of garden styles and plants at John Brookes’ Denmans Garden, and James Van Sweden’s innovative garden fronting the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland.
FLOWER GARDENS leads with Marco Polo Stufano and his no-nonsense secrets for success from the celebrated Wave Hill Flower Garden. Penelope Hobhouse shares her insights from her own flower garden in Dorset. PLANTING THE BONES OF A GARDEN covers avenues and allees, plant repetition and rhythms, as Hobhouse presents the defining ingredients of every garden. Hobhouse explores two illustrative examples: the all-green topiary garden and the flower walk in its full spring glory. COLOR IN THE GARDEN serves up color theory basics and the art of applying it in the garden. from Helen Dillon and her celebrated blue, red and yellow color borders, to the gentle hues of Winterthur’s Azalea woods. THE USEFUL GARDEN presents both time-honored and contemporary interpretations that combine the useful with the ornamental: with garden writer Anna Pavord in the restored, centuries old walled kitchen garden at Forde Abbey; and Hobhouse in her front compost and cutting garden at Bettiscombe. THE SMALLER GARDEN features renowned American landscape architect James Van Sweden in a small private town garden he created in Washington, D.C., and Hobhouse with London Times garden editor, Stephen Anderton in the exceptional series of small garden rooms at England’s Wollerton Old Hall. THE COUNTRY GARDEN illumines how country garden principles can well apply to an urban or suburban setting, featuring John Brookes from his Denmans Garden in West Sussex, and Hobhouse with Irish garden designer Jim Reynolds in his enchanting Butterstream Garden. DESIGN BASICS highlights the most important aspects to consider in good garden design. She illustrates, from Athelhampton in Dorset, how grand public gardens offer a wealth of design and horticultural examples that can be applied to the smallest garden.
When thinking about your garden, says British horticulturist Penelope Hobhouse at the end of her video series The Art & Practice of Gardening, treat design principles like grammar. Learn it, forget it, and do your own thing. And your garden will work.
In 13 visits to gardens in England, Ireland and America, Ms. Hobhouse reviews such topics as learning from nature, growing roses, combining flowers for effect and particularly creating structural features. She emphasizes the bones of a garden; the placement of trees, hedges, topiaries, arbors, stones and steps as architectural elements around which the rest of the garden should be planned. She is certain that there is a right way and a wrong way in garden designing. At the top of her list of right ways is Henry David Thoreau’s advice, simplify, simplify.
Ms. Hobhouse tours such famed places as David Austin’s rose garden and the late Rosemary Verey’s Barnsley House. In America she walks with Thomas Buchter to savor the month of March in the Winterthur Gardens, Thomas Buchter to savor the month of March in the Winterthur Gardens, which is undergoing restoration in Pennsylvania. There she is introduced to the torch azalea (Rhododendron kaempferi), an unusual tall shrub adding exquisite texture to an azalea display.
The Art & Practice of Gardening, which runs 273 minutes and was produced as a home and gardening television series, is a vivid celebration of gardening more than a how-to guide. Very large grounds are emphasized, including grand avenues framed by trees. Even the episode titled The Smaller Garden features a large landscape divided into compartments with design elements sometimes repeating those from other sections. Ms. Hobhouse maintains, however, that the patterns defining large gardens can be adapted to small spaces. The private and public settings are gorgeous, worth a viewer’s visit. And Ms. Hobhouse’s expert advice on design such as the use of grasses to convey movement in a small space might just make the difference between having a ho-hum back yard or a garden which, in Ms. Verey’s quaint phrasing, curtsies to the house. –Bill Scheick, Dallas Morning News, April 2008
Specification: The Art & Practice of Gardening / Penelope Hobhouse
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