The Magic Land: Designing Your Own Enchanted Garden

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9780028620916: The Magic Land: Designing Your Own Enchanted Garden

This is an idea book for your imagination, full of concepts, images, and principles that can help you take what is now a yard and make it into an enchanted gardena landscape full of personal meaning and magic. Julie Moir Messervy lends her spiritual sensibility and sensual writing style to a book about gardening as an act of creating emotional space. Through meditative and hands-on exercises, garden design tips, anecdotes drawn from Messervys gardening experiences and those of her clients, students, and family, and thoroughly engaging prose, we come to realize that the creative process is both a personal journey and a method for giving life to our own gardens. Illustrated with Barbara M. Bergers evocative charcoal drawings of the gardens of dreams and the imagination. Julie Moir Messervy is a renowned landscape designer, prolific garden lecturer, and critically acclaimed author whose prior books include Contemplative Gardens and The Inward Garden. She has collaborated on numerous landscape design projects, including a new Music Garden in Boston with legendary musician Yo-Yo Ma. This project will be the subject of a documentary film that will open at the Venice Film Festival in Fall 1997, and will air on PBS in early 1998.

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Written in a charming, warm voice, The Magic Land guides new gardeners in using their intuition to envision their dream garden. Touching on concepts such as vignettes and movement in the garden, the book works to awaken a sense of wonder about nature and the home so that people can have a sanctuary that's perfectly matched to their lifestyles. Readers are encouraged to make collages representing what their gardens might feel like and to collect pictures and information from magazines. Overall, the book's strength is in its wide coverage of planning out the green area around a home; its weakness is in its lack of new and in-depth information. The book includes practical advice for design, but what is said has been said before in Sunset or Better Homes & Garden manuals, e.g., "Figure out where the sunny and shady parts of the garden are in the different seasons, where the land is boggy or dry ..." There's minimal information for those gardeners who simply want to grab the shovel and plant a fast low-maintenance garden or tailor a backyard for children, guests, or pet activities.

If you are a fairly experienced gardener who already owns a garden- design book, chances are you won't glean much from The Magic Land beyond its delightful writing, but for those with virtually no gardening experience, this is the perfect book. The author's voice is intimate, her guidance is knowledgeable, and she does a good job of beginning at the beginning. --Karen Karleski

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