THE PERENNIAL GARDEN

International Edition Special US Edition In his latest book, Michael King explains the principles of good garden design. Perennials including grasses, ferns and bulbs bring colours, textures and movement to our gardens. Their presence introduces a dynamic element as they grow to occupy space in our borders, they flower, they form seed and they die down in a yearly cycle of regeneration. At every stage in this process they are capable of engaging our senses and affect the feel and look of our gardens.

Designing with perennials involves assessing the character of these different plants and finding ways to use them either alone or in combinations that emphasis their characters. Their shape, form, colour and texture offer gardeners the material/opportunity to design planting schemes that communicate their ideas and passions, that can alter the atmosphere of their garden or that create a spectacle to draw visitors in a particular direction.

Michael King's passion for perennials is based upon the belief that they offer gardeners infinite possibilities for artistic expression. Used with skill, they can not only organize garden space, control movement within it and mark the changing seasons, but also communicate ideas and develop very specific moods. Step by step, Michael's vision of the perennial garden shows how to define the character of different perennials and use them to fulfill our aims within our garden's design.

Having carefully considered design principles in the first part of the book, Part Two goes on to look at the very best perennials to use throughout the gardening year, season by season. Suggestions are offered as to the best plants to create bold thematic planting schemes as well as identifying the best perennials to grow in specific situations such as shade, next to water and at the entrance to our homes.

Inspirational examples have been gathered together from gardens as far apart as North America, Sweden, Germany, England and The Netherlands in a series of photographs taken by the author specifically to illustrate this book. Ranging across styles as different as minimalist and expressive naturalism, The Perennial Garden, aims to offer readers a practical guide to making beautiful gardens in which perennial plants express the personalities and individualism of their creators.

                        

GARDENING WITH TULIPS

International Edition Special US Edition The tulip is the star of our spring gardens. Flowering early in the year and offering a wide variety of vibrant colours and elegant forms, it brings the garden alive after its winter rest. This book, illustrated with over 470 of the author's own photographs, provides a fresh vision of how to use these remarkable plants in contemporary gardens.

Having explored their rich history, Michael King describes the many ways these bulbs can contribute to the garden scene in combinations with other bulbs, perennials, shrubs and trees. Next he spotlights twenty classic tulips, detailing their characteristics, origins and potential uses. Through these he introduces others - the very best tulips for use in gardens - from each of the tulip groups: cup-shaped Single Earlys, waterlily-like Kaufmannianas and other dramatic Botanical tulips, giant Darwinhybrids with blooms as big as a man's hand, early and late flowering doubles, elongated, tapering Lily-flowered tulips reminiscent of those favoured by the Turks during the days of the Ottoman Empire, bizarrely shaped Parrots together with fringed streaked and striped forms in a dazzling range of sparkling colours. Not only the spectacle of bold garden hybrids is covered but also the delicate beauty of many wild species tulips that flower (in sequence) from the earliest days of spring through to the first days of summer. A section on colour showing how to enhance tulips' effects by harmoniously coordinating varieties or by creating bold contrasts concludes this comprehensive survey.

Conveying thus the full spectrum of possibilities available in today's assortment, Michael King equips you with everything you need - including guidance, based on his own experience, on growing - in order to identify the best tulip cultivars and species for specific schemes and to use them effectively in your garden.

                        

GARDENING WITH GRASSES

International Edition Special US Edition Is it the fact that grasses are inextricably linked to the countryside, or simply that they look so unexciting in a pot at the garden centre, that makes them the Cinderellas of our gardens? For many years, professional garden designers, both throughout Europe and in America, have been exploiting their qualities; yet the keen gardener has taken longer to realise their potential. Enthusiasm for these rewarding plants is evidently now in full stride, with most garden centres offering at least some of the better known varieties. A much wider choice is now also offered through the catalogues of specialist nurseries, but not surprisingly, this bewildering array of unfamiliar species and cultivars is confusing to anyone considering using ornamental grasses for the first time.

We have approached the subject by considering the many situations where we have found ornamental grasses to be useful. It is the form and texture of grasses, above all else, which we believe to be their most important characteristics; leaf colour is of secondary importance, and the long list of variegated forms are a mere distraction away from their delicacy and elegance. We aim to offer a practical manual from which essential information can be simply retrieved, whilst at the same time inspiring readers with images of grasses in exciting garden plantings.

In the Introduction, the full range of plants collectively termed ornamental grasses is described, both in order to help the gardener to understand the qualities of each of the component plant groups and to distinguish them from one other.

In Part One the many different ways of using grasses are considered. Applications include lawns, meadows and general ground cover, as well as using grasses to alter the arrangement and mood of the garden spaces they occupy. Whilst some of the larger varieties may be used as solitary specimens, or in similar ways to background shrubs, most lend themselves to being combined in mixed plantings with other types of plants. This intriguing aspect of plant association is considered in some detail in Part Two.

The practice of using grasses to make a dramatic grass border is discussed in Part Three, where we examine two successful examples in some detail with the aid of photographs and planting plans.

Ornamental grasses are easy to grow, and once established happily grow in the same spot for years. Part Four outlines the simple tasks connected with growing grasses in gardens, and provides lists of the most appropriate plants for a range of different garden habitats. In this way an informed choice of which varieties to use in each part of the garden can be made.

Concluding the book, Part Five contains three separate catalogues of ornamental grasses - Annual grasses, Perennial Ornamental grasses, and Bamboos. These catalogues are deliberately selective in order to ensure that the reader is directed to the best grasses for garden use. The notes identify where the grass may be grown, what it looks like and its most appropriate use in the garden.