Have you ever considered creating a garden based on all the plants mentioned in a favorite book? You can create a storybook garden for your reading and gardening pleasure.
Many people find garden design overwhelming. There are so many possibilities! By selecting a theme, such as a children’s garden, a salad garden, or a storybook garden, plant selection becomes much easier.
Also known as literary gardens and bookworm gardens, these garden themes help narrow down all the choices, creating a unified garden from something we already love. Before selecting your theme, however, a quick reminder about the physics of gardening.
As always, your climate, soil structure, sun exposure, drainage, Hardiness Zone, and soil pH must all be taken into consideration for your plants to thrive. In many cases, you can use copy-cat plants to get the look you want, when the original is not suited to your microclimate.
Let’s consider some storybook garden themes.
You can also design a storybook garden based on generalized concepts, such as pirates, fairies, castles, barnyards, or dinosaurs. But storybook gardens are not just for children.
Other books as inspiration
Unless all of your favorite books occur in outer space, plants are sure to be a part of those stories. Imagine a quiet corner of the yard, dedicated to your favorite novel. A comfortable lounge chair for reading provides the perfect spot from which to surround yourself with the flowers, shrubs, and trees mentioned in your favorite book, or by your favorite author.
If you prefer Greek mythology, you could create a literary garden under and around an almond tree (Prunus amygdalus), sacred to Attis, or an apple tree, favored by Hera and Aphrodite. Demeter’s heavy headed barley, Zeus’ parsley, and Hermes’ saffron crocus are just a few of the lovely edibles that can be used to create a Greek mythology garden. I found an amazing resource for this garden here.
Authors, like cooks, builders, and other creators, tend to have their favorites. If you have an author that you enjoy, you can collect the plants featured in all of their books. Daphne du Maurier’s rhododendrons and azaleas, Dean Koontz’ bougainvillea, or Agatha Christie’s poisonous peach pits and digitalis may provide just the inspiration you need.
Start with a favorite book
We all have them - books that call to us, to be read once more, like a favorite bedtime story. As we read the words, we create images in our minds of what each scene might look like. Words within a story will provide generalizations (a wooded path) and specifics (a bright yellow rose). As you read, write these impressions down, along with specific plant names. Eventually, you will have enough plants listed to start creating your very own storybook garden.
Just remember to include a comfortable place to sit. You are going to want to spend some time enjoying this garden space!
Let us know in the Comments which book might inspire you to create a storybook garden of your own.
You can grow a surprising amount of food in your own yard. Ask me how!