Under Western Skies: Visionary Gardens from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Coast

Jennifer Jewell. Timber, $50 (424p) ISBN 978-1-60469-999-9
“The West and its gardens and gardeners have lessons for us all,” writes Jewell (The Earth in Her Hands), creator of the radio program Cultivating Place, in this vibrant tour of three dozen gardens. Each entry surveys the locale, the plants, and the gardener behind it: Michele Shelor’s “Desert Modern” in Phoenix, Ariz., for example, is filled with only native plants that receive water through drip irrigation. (Water is, not surprisingly, a theme throughout gardens in the American West.) The garden at the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles is cared for by Lila Higgins, who believes that understanding a region’s natural beauty may require addressing how much water is enough, while Suzanne St. Pierre, the retired nurserywoman of Palouse Garden in Pullman, Wash., believes humans are “encoded as creatures to respond to beauty.” Along the way, Jewell pays tribute to the Indigenous homelands upon which these gardens grow, such as San Francisco’s Lands End Lookout, which was first lived on by the Ohlone and Miwok people, and the Chumash Indian Museum’s “ethnobotanical garden” in Thousand Oaks, Calif. Rich photographs complement Jewell’s lyrical musings (“The Sonoran Desert bears a strong sense of the ephemeral”). Gardeners are in for a treat. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 02/12/2021
Release date: 05/01/2021
Genre: Lifestyle
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