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The Layered Garden – Book Giveaway

by Rebecca Sweet

You know when you see a book and you just know it’s gonna be good?  Well, that’s how I felt about The Layered Garden, by David L. Culp, and photographed by the talented Rob Cardillo.  And I knew I held a gem in my hands when I read the glowing forward, written by Lauren Springer Ogden – one of my very favorite garden designers and co-author of Plant Driven Design.

I love the concept of creating a layered garden as its something I strive to create for all of my clients. Due to our mild California climate, it’s relatively easy for us to have year-round beauty.  This book, however, is about creating year-round beauty in a climate about as far from California as you can get – in Zone 6 Pennsylvania – which makes it all that more intriguing to read.  If David can do it, anyone can!

Timberpress was generous enough to send me a copy of this book to review, as well as to participate in their massive book giveaway (details below).  But before you jump down to the entry form, here’s a sneak peek into what you can expect from this book:

1.  A visually stunning book that combines design inspiration, horticultural knowledge (David is renown for his Snowdrop and Hellebore expertise, as well as plant researcher for Sunny Border Nurseries) and practical information.

2.  A peek into David’s personal thoughts and experiences while creating Brandywine Garden.  A warm and, at times, humorous writer makes for very enjoyable reading.

3.  Photo upon photo not only whetting your appetite for spring’s fully-stocked nursery shelves, but photos of his garden throughout each season of the year.  Personally, I’m such a visual person that a photo has the ability to speak a thousand words – and these do exactly that.  Looking at the same garden bed in winter, versus summer, spring or fall shows you what a master he truly is at layering throughout the year.

4.  Tips about coping with drought, deer, pests and maintenance.  Tips about creating border gardens, perennials, edibles, containers, hillsides, bulbs, you-name-it-and-it’s-here!

So here’s the deal – there’s 2 ways to win!

1.Timberpress Fall Book Collection contest – deadline November 16th.

From now until November 16, 2012 just visit Timber Press and enter your email to win your very own collection of The Layered Garden, The Unexpected Houseplant, Keshiki Bonsai, Super-Charged,and The Roots of My Obsession as well as a tote bag and print from Brooke Weeber, the artist of the featured illustration above.

2.  Gossip in the Garden giveaway – deadline November 21st.

Just leave a comment here letting me know your favorite small, medium or tall plant you like to include in your garden’s borders  and I’ll pick a random winner by midnight, November 21st.


 UPDATE:  Congratulations Hope Rollins – you’re the lucky winner!  Please email me with your address and Timberpress will send you a copy of The Layered Garden.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I have!

I want to thank everyone for your comments, too.  I’m not only flattered by so many kind words, but you’ve given me tons of new plant ideas to try in my garden beds next year!!

A few more details:  The winner will be randomly chosen by midnight November 21st, 2012, and contacted within 24 hours. If the proposed winner forfeits or does not claim the prize by December 10th, the prize will be re-awarded based on the sponsor’s sole discretion. All prizes will be awarded. Please provide your name and email to enter this contest, so I can immediately contact you if you win. The winner agrees to allow his/her first name to be mentioned in conjunction with this giveaway.

The number of eligible entries will determine the odds of winning. This giveaway is limited to U.S. residents only, who are over the age of 18 years old. No purchase necessary to win. This sweepstakes is void where prohibited by law (not exactly sure where this might be, but I’d sure hate to live there).  By entering this giveaway, you are agreeing to these conditions.

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post and yes, the book was provided for me to review. All expressed opinions, however, are absolutely and without a doubt, my own.  Trust me, I receive books to review all the time and very few actually inspire me enough to write about them

Best of luck, everyone!



Sally Keep January 11, 2013 at 12:50 am

Hi Rebecca, I belong to the Garden Club of Los Altos and came to see your beautiful garden last year. I am also a Book Designer who has worked in London, Sydney, New Zealand and Palo Alto and want to comment on how beautifully designed your books are. The best I’ve seen in some time. They are like coffee table books. One just wants to pick the book up and read it. Congratulations!

Rebecca Sweet January 11, 2013 at 7:31 am

Hi Sally, Thanks so much – you are too kind!! I’m hoping my garden still looks good after this cold snap we’re having :(

sensiblegardening November 22, 2012 at 9:23 am

By far my favorite border plant is hemerocallis. With so many beautiful cultivars they are perfect for collections.

Tina November 21, 2012 at 10:43 pm

Hi Rebecca,

It’s so hard to pick a favorite ~ I have many…but I always include Nepeta “Walker’s Low”, Nicotiana alata “Lime Green”, and Stachys. I love your blog :) You are such an inspiration. The book sounds wonderful, thanks for the opportunity!

Sue Brown November 20, 2012 at 7:30 pm

This summer I was in love with the beautiful blue show put on by Anchusa azurea that I picked up at Annie’s Annuals. I have photos of it on the plant database on the All Things Plants website (by the creator of

leah saban November 20, 2012 at 3:59 pm

Mums – of all colors and sizes – beautiful – and always green!

Joel November 20, 2012 at 8:55 am

My tendency is more toward medium to tall, and I like to use the native Rattlesnake Master, Eryngium yuccifolium. It provides a great structure that balances out other plants, and looks great in the fall and winter garden too. I let it reseed wherever it pleases.

Jessy Berg November 20, 2012 at 8:00 am

Miscanthus sinensis ‘Morning Light’. Such great structure and color in all styles of gardens!

Esther November 19, 2012 at 11:07 pm

Wild common sunflowers (Helianthus annuus) are annual volunteers in my garden and I enjoy watching the interaction between sunflower blooms, butterflies, caterpillars, birds, sunflower seed heads and birds. Otherwise, my favorite flower is the one blooming now.

Tina November 19, 2012 at 11:16 am

The Bella Series of abutilons is amazing for medium to medium/large border plants! In zone 7b, they start blooming in March and continue until a hard freeze comes along sometime in December (or later!). I never see disease or insect problems and deer don’t eat them. And, they attract hummingbirds. I think I need one in every color!

Kathy Dickerson November 18, 2012 at 7:28 pm

Having mostly shade I love to use the autumn fern for a bronzy color contrast in front of rusted garden posts

Donna November 17, 2012 at 12:56 pm

Rozanne blue geranium is my current favorite: beautiful form, almost continuous color, low maintenance, low water use. like all gardeners my favorites evolve. but, this will be hard to beat! P.s. love your work, your design projects are gorgeous.

Susan November 17, 2012 at 5:56 am

The book looks amazing! I actually used some asparagus ferns as a border and have so enjoyed the wild English garden look it brings! You might enjoy my blog video that sports lots of succulents we enjoyed in your neck of the country when we visited Sherman Library and Gardens. What lovely grounds of color and intrigue they have arranged! I hope you can visit it!

Rob Thuener November 16, 2012 at 11:31 am

Hi Rebecca – love the site. I heard David at Swartmore College a month or so ago, and I got the book then (so please don’t put my name in the raffle). It is, indeed, marvelous! A point, though: David lives and gardens in Pennsylvania (zone 6), not Connecticut. He works out of Connecticut.

Barbara H. November 16, 2012 at 8:16 am

As so many others have said, it’s hard to choose. This last spring foxgloves that had self-seeded stole my heart for their surprise appearance and great choice of location, which they now seem to have vacated. It will be fun to see where they turn up next spring.

Hope November 16, 2012 at 5:25 am

I love muhlenbergia caparillis as a backdrop for smaller plants in a border. It is light and beautiful and a wonderful addition to any garden.

Susan Moss November 15, 2012 at 4:53 pm

For a plant that has long lasting beauty from spring to fall, I wouldn’t be without sedum “autumn joy”.
Your garden is an inspiration, thank you for sharing.

erin bailey November 15, 2012 at 4:48 pm

Lilacs! I have just cleared my new 1/2 acre and am prepping the soil, I hope to plant a wide variety and relatively long season of lilacs, fleeting but so fragrant and the varied soft hues harmonize so well with another midwestern favorite–peonies.

Alan @ it's not work, it's gardening! November 15, 2012 at 12:37 pm

It took a little thought, but Agastache rupestris has to be one of my favorites. Beautiful to both the eyes and the nose (and tongue).

vivian c. November 15, 2012 at 9:33 am

For height i use Amaranthus Autumn’s Touch in my flower beds. They grow between 3 1/2′ – 4′. They usually make it to 3 1/2′ for me. They start blooming in mid to late summer and continue until frost. I also like the different shades of color i get with them. Although it’s a annual i still think it’s worth finding space for in any flower garden.

fumitory November 15, 2012 at 7:04 am

Geranium ‘Rozanne’ is my choice. Not only is she a long-blooming perennial, she hoists herself up into taller plants and is a nice little vine.

Greggo November 14, 2012 at 8:13 pm

I would definitely like to add more Baptisia as a medium height plant to the border. Pobably the Purple Smoke variety. Thanks for the chance to win.

Laura c. November 14, 2012 at 7:23 pm

In the medium category I am lucky to be enjoying blechnum gibbum amongst my large shady and moist border of ferns which I call ” fern grotto”. :) thanks for the giveaway !

Barbara Wilson November 14, 2012 at 6:40 pm

It is so hard to select one that I love above all others. I have adored flowers, grasses, shrubs, trees and all the garden growers since I was a small child. Your inspirational speech at the Diablo Women’s Garden Club last week made me appreciate how layering is crucial to a beautiful garden. It’s the lowest growing plants that really provide texture to a garden, and bacopa has been one of my favorites. However, I am ready to branch out, and try others as a result of your wonderful presentation. Thanks for all you do!

Marianne Ravenna November 14, 2012 at 2:56 pm

Here in tropical southwest Florida, Bromeliads!

Susy November 14, 2012 at 1:52 pm

I love Heucheras, all of them. I love the colors and the way they blend with other garden plants. My favorite, especially for fall is ‘Autumn Bride”, great green foliage and beautiful white flowers.

Johanna November 14, 2012 at 12:49 pm

I love the soft, natural look of ornamental grasses .

jane duncan trueblood November 14, 2012 at 10:58 am

What a beautiful book. I can hardly wait to get my hands on one, curl up in a comfy armchair with a cup of hot tea, and daydream my own layered garden.

jane duncan trueblood November 14, 2012 at 11:05 am

My favorite tall plant is polygonum orientale, aka kiss-me-over-the-garden-gate, for its name as much as for its drama.

Patty Arena November 14, 2012 at 10:35 am

Just had my front yard re-landscaped. Good bye lawn! Had to include some lavenders in this sunny makeover. And a beautiful Japenese Maple for the focal point with height.

Cindy Davison November 14, 2012 at 9:57 am

In looking at my garden borders, I’d have to say my favorite are the Echeverias. Not one in particular…I love them all~

peonylady November 14, 2012 at 9:39 am


Marianne Ravenna November 14, 2012 at 2:57 pm

One of my all time favorites but not here in hot, humid southwest Florida!

Jan Walton November 14, 2012 at 8:30 am

I love shasta daisies in my borders, and of course, easy growing roses like Iceberg.

Jan Walton

Jo Pomeroy November 14, 2012 at 8:23 am

Brunnera ‘Jack Frost’. So reliable, so pretty, so low.

lisa mitchell November 14, 2012 at 8:19 am

Hard to pick one but it would have to be Daphne Odora Marginata. I love the variegated color it gives all year and I always anticipate the incomparable scent of the flowers. And in some strange way I get satisfaction if I can keep them alive for more than a couple of years!

Vivian Kane November 14, 2012 at 8:18 am

Hello, love your blog! I would have to add foxglove to my layered garden, one of my all time favorite plants. This book would be so wonderful to have, I am getting ready to redo my garden and want the layered look for all seasons. Thanks for all the info you share!


suzanne November 14, 2012 at 8:13 am

I love Ligularia and have about 6 plants in my beds, but since I’ve carved out a new, very narrow walkway with garden beds bordering the walkway (and it receives a good amount of shade/part sun), I’d like to plant some different varieties. :)

RoseMary King November 14, 2012 at 7:50 am

Nepeta “Walker’s Low” is my all time fav.
Roses Lots and Lots of Roses

Pam Dale November 14, 2012 at 7:00 am

A favorite is very hard, Myosotis palustris Water Forget Me Not, was new this year and just loved it; looking forward to having it next year. A longtime favorite Nicotiana to remind us of our years in Kentucky, Nicotiana mutabilis became a favorite last year, but I grow Nicotiana alata varieties throughout my garden for fun.

Jennifer November 14, 2012 at 6:54 am

Love tall dahlias in the back of the border.

Jaton Black November 14, 2012 at 6:52 am

I love lavender. I would like to plant a flower bed by my front porch that is fragrant.

Gatsbys Gardens November 14, 2012 at 6:51 am

Since I have a small garden it has to be layered to include many of the plants I love. I always put in some grasses that can be left up over the winter.


Heather November 14, 2012 at 6:29 am

We recently moved to coastal North Carolina and I’ve really come to like the swaying grasses.

Laura November 14, 2012 at 6:29 am

This is something I have been trying to do lately, select plants that will bloom early or late in the season to always have some color in my garden. I would love to get a copy of this book, it sounds really interesting.

I have some beds in sun and some in shade, so I have two plants that are my favorite, one is Sedum spurium “tricolor”, it looks great in the front of other plants, grow well in my clay soil, and it keeps on giving, take a little piece and in no time you have a new plant! Another plant I love to plant in the shade is Liriope muscari, variegated or not, easy and so elegant.

Sheryl November 14, 2012 at 4:40 am

Favorite medium size border plant: Serena Angelonia. In zone 7b, plant after danger of frost is over, and don’t touch them for the entire growing season, other than periodic watering. Blooms spring to fall continuously. Attracts butterflies and hummingbirds, avg. weeks of color-27.

Kathy Juracek November 14, 2012 at 2:33 am

I like to have different colors of lettuce in my borders.

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