The Authentic Garden

The Authentic Garden

Five Principles for Cultivating A Sense of Place

Book - 2007
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What makes a garden authentic ? For American gardeners, this question can be vexing. Because America is a comparatively young nation, it hasn't had much time to develop an indigenous garden style. Gardeners have tended to turn to other national traditions--such as Italy's, Japan's, or England's--for inspiration. The unhappy result of this piecemeal stylistic borrowing has been the creation of gardens that bear no relationship to local landscapes and history, and that have no connection with our daily lives.

Clair Sawyers shows this tendency can be reversed: how we can create gardens that are both deeply rooted in their surroundings and deeply satisfying to their creators and owners. Drawing on her knowledge of a vast array of American and foreign gardens, she identifies five principles that help instill a sense of authenticity: capture the sense of place, derive beauty from function, use humble or indigenous materials, marry the inside to the outside, and involve the visitor.

Practical and inspiring, The Authentic Garden will enable the reader to make a garden that is true to a specific time, place, and culture; to capture and reflect an authentic spirit so that the garden, in turn, will nurture the spirit of those who cherish and dwell in it.

Publisher: Portland, Or. : Timber Press, 2007.
ISBN: 9780881928310
Call Number: 712.6 SAWYERS
Characteristics: p. ; cm.
Subjects: Gardens -- Design.
Alternative Title: Authentic garden


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Feb 17, 2018

While I appreciate her arguments, I doubt that these concepts are teachable. Either an individual has a sense of local flavor or they don't. You can't copy authentic style. But her frustration with fake japanese gardens certainly rings a familiar note, esp. in the Pacific Northwest.


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