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Book Review: Garden Wonderland: Create Life-Changing Outdoor Spaces for Beauty, Harvest, Meaning, and Joy

Articles: Book Review: Garden Wonderland: Create Life-Changing Outdoor Spaces for Beauty, Harvest, Meaning, and Joy

Summer 2024 

Whether you rely on a designer or embark on the journey yourself, a garden is not going to last if you don’t bond with the space during the creation process. In their new book, Garden Wonderland: Create Life-Changing Outdoor Spaces for Beauty, Harvest, Meaning, and Joy, authors Leslie Bennett and Julie Chai invite gardeners to find purpose in their plantings.

In 2021, I had the good fortune to become acquainted with Leslie during a few planning meetings, and the vision and storytelling that plays into all her projects was unmistakable. Garden Wonderland showcases the thoughtfulness, creativity, and intentionality that Leslie brings to her designs.

Meaningfulness is the guiding principle throughout Garden Wonderland. The book leads with a list of critical tenets that guide you toward creating a meaningful garden: make plants part of your daily life, surround yourself with beauty, make space for connection, and fortify your sense of belonging. Considering and incorporating each of these tenets will help you to create a successful and enduring garden.

Click image to purchase your own copy of Garden Wonderland

Leslie implores you to meditate on what aspects of your garden might bring meaning to you. Perhaps your garden expresses some aspect of your life—like as a way to relive special moments of your upbringing or celebrate your culture—or explores what beauty means to you.

Next, Leslie shares stories and images of several gardens she and her team designed. The rich plant palettes are feasts for the eyes. Each garden is one that I could quite easily plop down into and enjoy as my own. Though the designs are different, all feature an abundance of plants. Colors, textures, and layers combined in edible, ornamental, and medicinal garden spaces are jaw-droppingly composed.

Garden Wonderland is the perfect mix of written and graphic instruction, storytelling, and photographic inspiration necessary to create a meaningful garden for a bountiful harvest, enjoyment, and entertainment.

Garden Wonderland: Create Life-Changing Outdoor Spaces for Beauty, Harvest, Meaning, and Joy

By Leslie Bennett and Julie Chai

Published by Ten Speed Press, Apr 02, 2024

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