William Cullina, director of horticultural research at New England Wildflower Society’s Garden in the Woods in Framingham has just come out with the third book in his Native trilogy. This is an excellent reference book, but one that is so charming that it make frequent dips into it irresistible. The helpful and copious color photographs, many taken by Cullina himself, are easy to use and easy on the eye.
From Emerald Carpet to Amber Wave: Serene and Sensuous Plants for the Garden, the subtitle to Native Ferns, Moss and Grasses tells you expect more than a guide book to native plants. Cullina’s goal is to have the reader ‘know these plants in all their subtlety and charm . . . ferns, mosses and grasses bring a level of refinement and sophistication to the landscape unmatched by any flowers. Like the fine architectural details on some buildings, they demonstrate an attention to quality that elevates any garden beyond the ordinary.” And he succeeds.
Cullina chooses native plants that are suitable for the cultivated garden, and then gives you all the information you need to choose varieties for your climate and garden, and grow and propagate them successfully. I liked the fact that he also tells the readers which varieties are easy or harder to grow. This is important if you are timid (like me) about trying an entirely new family of plants.
During our two years living in China I developed an appreciation for the green garden, and this book goes a long way in offering ways to create such a serene and sophisticated space.
This book is a welcome addition to my home library. The publisher is Houghton Mifflin. The cost is $40.