Plants with Style: A Plantsman's Choices for a Vibrant, 21st-Century Garden by Kelly NorrisPlants with Style: A Plantsman's Choices for a Vibrant, 21st-Century Garden by Kelly Norris

Plants with Style: A Plantsman's Choices for a Vibrant, 21st-Century Garden

byKelly Norris

Paperback | December 30, 2015

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“A love letter to plants…that oozes enthusiasm.” —The English Garden

Why settle for lackluster gardens filled with dull, ho-hum plants? In this spirited, provocative book, plant guru Kelly Norris calls for a garden revolution: out with the boring plants and in with the exciting newcomers that will make your jaw drop and your pulse quicken! A passionate horticulturist and lifelong gardener, Kelly is the ideal guide to the botanical riches available to today’s gardeners. In chapters on environment, structure, seasonal standouts, and plant combinations he shines a spotlight on the A-list plants in every category—plants that will thrive, not merely survive. Along the way, he shows you how to forge a personal style in harmony with your garden’s setting and local environment. As Kelly puts it, “A garden is the best way to savor life on earth.” Let Plants with Style guide you to the plants that will provide a richer, more fulfilling connection between you and your own patch of soil.
As a speaker, plant breeder, and expert plantsman, Kelly Norris has garnered national acclaim for his high-energy, zealous presentations. He is the award-winning author of four books, the horticulture manager at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, and the director of Horticulture Now. Visit his website at kellynorris.com. 
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Title:Plants with Style: A Plantsman's Choices for a Vibrant, 21st-Century GardenFormat:PaperbackDimensions:268 pages, 9 × 7.5 × 0.88 inPublished:December 30, 2015Publisher:Timber PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1604694017

ISBN - 13:9781604694017

Reviews

Read from the Book

A Manifesto for Modern Gardening “Landscaping is not a complex and difficult art to be practiced only by high priests. It is logical, down-to-earth, and aimed at making your plot of ground produce exactly what you want and need from it.” —Thomas Church, Gardens Are for People   This book takes a sassy, punchy, irreverent look at fresh plant choices for modern gardens, with sidelong glances, along the way, at how gardening is more relevant than ever to our quality of life. If gardening is about the experience, it stands to reason we should all be planting things worth experiencing. Such plants make a garden our own, and this book is about plants with style, those plants that matter. Its pages are for people who crave beauty and plant-filled spaces. Of all the gardens I’ve had the pleasure of visiting, the best prevailed because of what grew: plants, after all, are (or should be) the very essence of a garden’s style.   Modern eclecticism is the 21st-century way—with access to almost anything, we have transcended the strictures of period and form. Our sense of style is expressed by the things we love, no matter their vintage or source. Unsurprisingly then, this book is a smattered collection, viewed through a garden’s architecture, with chapters considering environment, structure, emblems, vignettes, and essential kitsch as lenses on an endless array of options—too many plants, too little time. Through this globetrotting, zone-straddling look at plants with style, I hope one thing becomes clear—a passion for vibrant, A-list plants is inextricably linked to my hope for a more beautiful, functional planet.   The modern eclectic garden isn’t easily defined. It’s earnest, enthusiastic, and unbounded. It grows from a kind of purposeful materialism—plants matter because they tell stories, reminding us of the journey and the experience of acquiring and assembling them into a space, a garden, that brings us joy. And this garden doesn’t stand still. It evolves almost every day, tumbling forward headlong—just as its leaves, flowers, stems, and fruits do—because of its plants, its ingredients. Making the 21st-century garden requires not only carefully considered ingredients but smart recipes, too. Each of the five chapters—recipes, if you will—clarifies the modern garden’s components, focusing on a chic shortlist of essential plants. So begins our journey, borrowing influence and inspiration from wherever it flowers.   It’s one of the elegant simplicities of modern gardening—nobody has time to fuss over things that won’t grow, that fail to do what they were planted to do. Plants in your garden should thrive, not just simply survive. For too long, horticulture existed in spite of our environment, instead of honoring and respecting it. Minding ecology and reveling in regionality make for environmentally successful gardens, sustained by thoughtful choices and made beautiful with artful planting. From coast to coast and borough to borough, the wild spaces of our world, sometimes not so far from home, offer incredible inspiration. After all, horticulture in tune with our environment is more than just a talking point that “sounds” good—plants chosen with that idea in mind will do better, naturally.  Gardening with purpose is the mantra of the modern era. People garden for more than just aesthetics or sustenance. People garden with intention, a grounding force in an otherwise chaotic world, where responsibility to community and planet is at least understood. We live in times when the quick tempo of life has become something to brag about, when even our vacations our chipped away at by links to the work we left behind. We seem to find less time to savor the things we love. A garden is the best way to savor life on earth. Purposeful planting begins with investing in a garden’s structure, the long-tail pleasures of a garden’s evolution. Structure in the garden isn’t permanent, but it is defining.   We plant what we love, from rooted trees that make for vital shade to moving parts that remind us of the rhythm of the seasons—emblems. The resulting garden is a blend of things planted as solutions and others planted with revelry, a fondness for our relationship with change. Some plants solve the challenges inherent in making beautiful gardens. Others define the spirit of the garden through an untethered passion for the beauty of the planet. Gardens should be lived in and edited often. Weeding out, pruning, and composting previous decisions polishes and refines the garden. Call it compulsive, call it obsessive, or just dub it geeky and get on with it, gardening makes for a truly rich life.  We live in a beautiful world; gardeners should know the power of planting. Great gardens deserve great plants—a choir of the most talented singers. The garden’s chorus is dynamic, full of vignettes that inspire us with a beauty that is in sync with the seasons. Follow your style or taste, whatever it is, and plant a garden that is distinctly your own. Don’t wait to be inspired—find inspiration in everything. Furthermore, just as you don’t have to be a fashionista to appreciate good clothing, you don’t have to have botanical bona fides to grow great plants.   Geekiness has attained a sort of sex appeal in modern culture, from retro glasses and funky socks to the idolization of awkward mannerisms, rhetoric, and personalities in pop culture. Plant geeks are no exception, even if as we obsess over stamens and other minutiae, we may inadvertently intimidate the less impassioned among us. Cultivate your inner plant geek—it’s sexy. The world needs more gardens, more beautiful spaces to unwind in and harvest from. Plant geeks cultivate the leading edge of the revolution—sometimes brandishing things deemed too kitschy for general consumption. I believe that many gardeners are in fact geeky plant collectors; they just don’t know it or accept it. Don’t sneak—show it off.   Finally, even as I attempt to remain practical in my treatments of the plants I celebrate in its pages, this book doesn’t attempt to divulge every detail of their cultivation; rather, it is a rhapsody, a paean for a new romanticism born from passionate interaction with plants. In short, hunt up all the facts, if you want, before you commit shovel to earth, but in the end, grow plants, garden with them. To know them is to study them, and experience is the best teacher. For those so smitten, garden because you have to and hope others join you along the way.   This book is a story of my own passion for searching out, trialing, and promoting hardworking, thriving plants for cosmopolitan landscapes—plants that gardeners haven’t seen and that ultimately deserve wider recognition. There are surely more omissions than inclusions. What gardener, really, isn’t in pursuit of plants? I garden because I want a world full of damn cool plants, teeming with spirit and style. I see that as the ideal for so many gardeners, whether they’re twenty-five or seventy-five. So why have we settled for typical gardens filled with boring, lackluster plants that don’t excite or enliven? Why have we become a culture of shy, reluctant gardeners? I have a feeling that many of us want something different, and we rightly should demand it from the people we buy plants from and the people we look up to for gardening ideas. Call it a revolution or a quest for gardens that make sense, this book is a call out for a new generation of passionate, motivated, and enthusiastic gardeners who love to play in the dirt.  

Editorial Reviews

“The language of botany has never been so piquant as in Norris’s lively guide to plants worth including in a modern garden.  A unique book ideal for younger gardeners who don’t have a lot else focused on their generation. The title will be inspirational to gardeners of all ages.” —Library Journal “A love letter to plants. . . . oozes enthusiasm.” —The English Garden “The book is both stylish and a well-organized manifesto full of wisdom. . . . brims with compelling plant ideas and recommendations along with beautiful photos.” —Garden Rant “Plants with Style is Kelly Norris’s paean to ecology-conscious, biodiversity-rich gardening with panache. . . . Norris is an engaging and erudite author, and Plants With Style is a richly inspiring addition to the gardener’s bookshelf.” —The American Gardener      “This is a book to buy for the text. . . . [Norris comments on] the plants’ flair, sassiness, kick-ass-garden qualities, and other inside information in his astute personal, and conversational style.” —Country Gardens “Start the new year with no-fuss plants to refresh your garden this growing season. Along with inspirational photos and guidance in each chapter, plantsman and author Kelly Norris will explain how to incorporate your personal style into your own garden.” —Garden Gate  “Norris guides us away from boring plants and directly to vibrant, jaw-dropping, stylish plants. It’s 2016, bring your garden into the 21st century!” —Garden Design “Kelly is a fresh-faced young man with an unparalleled depth of plant knowledge who exudes a contagious love of the green industry.” —Green Profit Magazine “What makes the book so engaging is the author’s sense of humor as he explains what he loves and despises, too. It’s done in such a way that you’ll smile all the way through while learning precious information about varieties that, without Norris, would remain a mystery.” —Pittsburgh Tribune-Review “Shares advice on design and tips on growing, but the best part is Norris’ unbridled enthusiasm.” —The Columbus Dispatch