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The Gardener's Color Palette

About.com Rating 3.5 Star Rating


© Timber Press

The Bottom Line

I usually shy away from small books with more photos than text, but "The Gardener's Color Palette" reads like a plant catalog of favorites and by the end, I had flagged at least 20 plants to add to my shopping list.
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  • Nice selection of plants.
  • Grouping plants by color is useful for designing.

  • Clive Nichols' photos are awesome!

  • Each plant has cultural info and pairing recommendations.


  • More growing and maintenance tips would be nice


  • Paperback (236 Pages)

  • Published 2010, by Timber Press, Incorporated

  • Suggested Retail: $12.95

Guide Review - The Gardener's Color Palette

The full title is "The Gardener's Color Palette: Paint Your Garden with 100 Extraordinary Flower Choices", by Tom Fischer. At first glance, this book is eye candy. Clive Nichols' close-up photos are so yummy you'll be drooling. ‛Patty's Plum' Oriental Poppy looks real enough to reach out and touch it.

But there is more depth to this little book. Fischer choose the flowers for this book "...because they embody color with a particular intensity or flair." He contends that it is impossible to think about flowers without thinking about color and I would have to agree. One of the strongest elements of this book is the series of thumbnails at the start of each chapter, where you can see the varieties within a single color; the hues, saturations and tints.

The flowers are grouped by color with chapter headings like "Green to Chartreuse" and "Brown, Bronze and Copper". The enlarged close-up photos remind you that gardens are primarily visual and I suspect the sparse text is intentionally trying to pique your interest without distracting you from the spectacular view.

I like to learn about plants by growing only a few new varieties at a time and really focusing on what and how they do. "The Gardener's Color Palette" makes a nice reference of suggestions for new plants to try. I've got Chinese autumn gentian and ‛Roma' masterwort on my short list.

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