“Heaven Is A Garden” Book Review
Summary: When’s the last time you read a gardening book cover to cover, all in one sitting? Up until a few weeks ago, my answer to that question would have been, “A gardening book? NEVER.” But then I read “Heaven is a Garden.” Cover to cover. All in one sitting. And then I read it again. I’ll probably read it again – it’s that captivating! Highly recommended.
Title: Heaven is a Garden – Designing Serene Outdoor Spaces for Inspiration and Reflection
Author: Jan Johnsen
Genre: Reference, How-To
Gardening Experience Level: All levels.
Publisher: St. Lynn’s Press
Date of Publishing: 2014
Format: Hard Cover
Content: Upon an initial read, “Heaven is a Garden – Designing Serene Outdoor Spaces for Inspiration and Reflection” is a wonderful explanation of landscape and garden design principles that we all can apply to create our own personal heavenly outdoor space. Sections such as “The Draw of a High Point,” “Rock Crevice Gardens,” and “The Exotic Allure of a Blue Garden,” outline simple yet detailed approaches that we can easily incorporate into our own gardens. But there’s so much more here. Instead of following the normal route of most garden writers and simply presenting the “what” and “how” of garden design, Jan Johnsen tells us the “why” behind each design principle, which makes the information so much more interesting, and understandable!
For instance, did you know that the rectangle that is most pleasing to our eye is called the “golden rectangle?” Based on the phi ratio (which is the mathematical proportion we see in every natural form – in our bodies, plants, flowers, fruit, and shells – and no, I did not know this!), the golden rectangle’s long side is roughly two-thirds longer than its shorter side. Once you know this fact, you will recognize golden rectangles in architecture, art, and even in something near and dear to you that you probably use every day! (I won’t spoil it – see Page 38). 😉
Jan goes on to explain how we can use lines and shapes to create moods, illusions, and harmony – she calls it “Music for the Eye,” how we can call upon trees to be our “silent allies,” the “Magic of Water,” “A Rock’s Resonance,” and how to use color as therapy in our gardens. As I mentioned in the Summary above, this book is impossible to put down – partly due to the fascinating content, but also because Jan is a gifted storyteller whose choice of words and melodic phrasing beckon you in and invite you to stay. The bow on this exquisite gift of a book is the fact that the photographs are personal examples of Jan’s gorgeous garden and landscape design work – fabulous!
Photos: Full-color – photographs and illustrations throughout.
Follow Jan online: