Designer Secrets and Tricks of the Trade,
by Bunny Guinness;
David & Charles;
hardcover; 168 pages;
Our collective trigger finger is sometimes quick to disregard gardening books clearly written for a British audience. But Garden Transformations is a compendium of special effects and traditional architectural features that can well find a place in Canadian landscapes. This book is not so much about transformations, but more about project constructions and unique design elements that can be adapted and applied to both small corners and large landscapes. Some techniques, like the lime wash recipe for masonry walls and verdigris finish for exterior metal, won't hold up to Canadian winters. And the garden ha-ha (an invisible boundary to keep out sheep and preserve the view) isn't much in demand here. However, practical methods of aging and distressing new surfaces, and constructing wavy trellises, water rills and hurdle fences are easily adaptable.
Extensive instructions are provided for making a colourful Gypsy caravan to park in the backyard, laying a pebble surface and how to train trees for pleaching. To captivate gardeners under the age of 10, the book includes directions for making cockleshell paths and a Judas door'a child-size door cut into an adult-size entrance. Much of this is intriguing and imaginative, especially for Canadians who want to customize the garden with a little shared tradition.