FOREWORD: It is always a joy to learn new things and to be reminded again of others. I m always looking for resources to continue to hone my gardening design skills. Gardening with Confidence accomplishes just that. This book methodically outlines a foundation of best practices starting with the basics and adding to those building blocks to help us develop into the best gardeners that we can be. The confidence gained by understanding how to add design features, while developing our own personal style, will take us and our gardens to that next level. Gardening with Confidence 50 Ways to add style for personal creativity is a true labor of Helen Yoest s love of our common pursuit. Helen has outlined 50 ways to add style to express one s personal creativity in the garden when in fact her 50 will inspire at least 50 more ideas in us. The author covers all of the topics that any beginning gardener will want to know about and offers more seasoned gardeners many inspiring ideas. I am taken in by all the themes but particularly by all of the chapters on garden styles and your garden environment. I am crazy about moss gardening and all of the wildlife topics that she documents in her book. In this book, she instills gardening self-assurance with her relaxed and easy, non-prescribed approach. She introduces us to basic concepts and patiently explains them with an informative and gentle voice written with the ease of someone who has garnered a wealth of personal experience over the years making her an ideal guide to lead readers through all of the helpful ideas and concepts giving readers the courage, the confidence, and the tools to strike out on their own to develop their very own personal style. Each step is a rewarding journey encouraging us to take that next step, then another and yet another. Gardening with Confidence provides all of us an overview of garden style without dictating what it should be. Helen helps readers explore, discover and express what their own style actually is. She helps us through this voyage of self-expression laid out not as a designer would approach the subject matter but as an enlightened guide who over the years has worked through the obstacles. It s obvious that the author has practiced what works and what doesn t. This experience helps her to communicate on the same level as the reader. Like working through a puzzle with a trusted friend she gives us the gift of gardening success through self-realization. --P. Allen Smith
Each of us brings a unique quality to everything we do. While garden types are definable cottage, formal, contemporary your personal style will make your garden unique. There are some gardens that make me feel like I m in the pit of a well orchestrated symphony, with each instrument a flower, a shrub, a tree, an accent insignificant on its own but lyrical within the arrangement. These gardens may not be expensive, but they are thoughtfully arranged, with each addition carefully considered. The rhythm, the scale, the color echo it all works well together. Nothing dominates or upstages the other important players. Considering the garden as a whole allows it to sing. Knowing what makes a garden work, what makes it sing, begins with understanding the elements of a garden. You can give your garden a voice once the use and placement of various elements, an arbor, a trellis, a bench, are understood. This book is designed to give you insight on the basics of adding and arranging the components of your garden. The confidence you ll gain in knowing how to add design features, while developing your own personal style, will help take your garden to the levels seen in the fantastic gardens that inspired you to begin your own work of art. The gardens with the most melodic voices are those reflecting good design plus the owner s individuality. You may find you are comfortable with your fashion or interior style, but once you step outside, you lack the confidence to create a beautiful space. The purpose of this book is to give you insight into how to develop a design with your signature. Keep in mind that each childhood memory, each turn of a page in a gardening book or magazine, every trip to a botanical garden,either locally or afar, has influenced your gardening style. It s not a mystery. Hand me a garden magazine you ve just read and I can tell your garden style by reading the dog-eared pages. If you peek at the colors in your bedroom closet, you ll find them echoed in the garden: racks of red or pink or blue or yellow are often repeated as rows of color in your garden beds. Even the way you hang your family photos on the refrigerator door can say a lot about your gardening style. Those of you who allow your photos to touch and overlap or to be a bit off-kilter will gravitate to a certain gardening style. Those of you who don t allow your photos to touch at all will likely move towards a different style. If you express your true self and let your passion be your guide, then your unique style will be the right choice. Natural curiosity and wanderlust took me around the world several times over, and with each trip I sought out great gardens along the way. I learned to appreciate each and every garden type and all the many styles that fit within each. I ve never met a garden I didn t like. It s true. From frothy cottage styles to minimalist contemporary styles, I see something to appreciate in each garden I visit. During my career working for some of the nation s leading shelter magazines and gardening organizations, I found myself in a position to evaluate gardens for touring and publication merit. In every case, whether I saw them for tour or publication, the most memorable gardens were of good design, with the homeowner s unique personal touch. This book shares my design perspective, providing tips that you can apply to your garden at home. Each chapter will walk you through an element of design, allowing you to think about your own situation at home. Then you can add your own flair so that you can create a fantastic garden, a garden that sings. So get comfy and come along with me as we journey down the garden path with Gardening with Confidence--50 Ways to add style for personal creativity.