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A gorgeous gardening book from the US that we have just discovered, Sun Drenched Mediterranean Style Gardens by Jan Smithen, is in hardcover priced at 44 euros and was recommended by a landscape gardener in the Algarve.
Not a practical gardening text but more of a delightful book to dip into for ideas and inspiration, Sun Drenched Mediterranean Style Gardens showcases the distinctive beauty of some 25 gardens in France, Italy, Spain and California employing the draught-tolerant plants and other features that are hallmarks of the Mediterranean dry garden aesthetic.
This low-maintenance, time-honoured landscaping style has become de rigeur here too.
Taking the reader through a variety of private and public gardens, some grand and some intimate, the book contains 200 stunning photographs capturing the vibrant beauty of the sites.
In glorious detail, it depicts the characteristic terraces, parterres, loggias, arbors, pergolas, water rills, dribbling fountains (solar, of course), clipped boxwood and topiary, ironwork, decorative tile, crushed stone, terracotta containers and other design elements that have evolved in the Mediterranean garden from antiquity to the present day.
The author has divided the book into chapters that demonstrate how to achieve the Mediterranean look in plantings, introduce shade and water features, create structures with various types of enclosures, design with clipped and pruned greenery and use gravel, stone and other paving materials as alternatives to lawns.
Both common and botanical plant names are provided. This is a wonderful gift for anyone planning to redesign a garden, for fans of good design and an addition to your Algarve gardening library.