The Art of Gardening: Design Inspiration and Innovative Planting Techniques from Chanticleer by the Chanticleer horticulturists and R. William Thomas earned one of five 2016 Book Awards from the American Horticultural Society. We reached out to the society and the judges to find out why this book won. Rita Hassert, a botanical librarian at the Morton Arboretum, had this to say.
What initially attracted you to this book?
For me, Chanticleer represents the joy of gardening. Horticulturally astounding, visually beautiful, eminently creative, I was delighted to learn of this new publication created by the gardeners at Chanticleer. I’ve admired how Chanticleer is a garden designed, planted and maintained by a community of horticulturists and this same community writes this book. Like the garden, I felt the shared stewardship of this book increases its authenticity and relevance.
With all the new garden books on the market each year, what made this one stand apart from other books of a similar topic?
First the site of the gardens featured within—Chanticleer—and then the collaborative perspective of the garden’s horticulturists and the author. With their level of horticultural innovation and panache, the book’s premise had the trappings of an immersion into a wonderful gardening adventure. Each horticulturist’s passion and voice was able to shine through in this work.
Why do you think this book will resonate with readers?
Awash with wonderful images, readers will be able to savor this book. The level of detail in the work as well as the planting combinations would give readers the inspiration to approach their own gardening spaces in new and different ways. Sometimes it is encouraging to see how someone is, horticulturally speaking, coloring outside of the lines.