“Ruin garden” from The Layered Garden. Photo by Rob Cardillo.

Behnkes has come to know garden writer and perennials expert David Culp through his work for Sunny Border Nurseries, one of our suppliers, and we’ve long admired his expertise.  Then our perennials specialist Larry Hurley visited David’s garden near Philadelphia and instantly became a fan of David as a major designer and creator of gardens.  And now we learn the name for that kind of stunning, plant-packed garden – Layered.

That’s thanks to David’s long-awaited book about his garden and the principles and techniques that readers can use to create their own little slice of heaven.  So what IS a layered garden? It’s one with four seasons of beauty at all levels, from groundcover to trees.  But that hardly describes the utter gorgeousness of the book about his garden, packed with photographs by the esteemed garden photographer Rob Cardillo.

I swooned over The Layered Garden when Larry loaned me his copy and decided I HAD to have one of my own.  That’s because David Culp is the kind of gardener I aspire to be – expert in his plant choices and growing techniques and inspired in his design visions.  And his book is teaching and inspiring me to choose the correct plants by understanding how they grow and change throughout the seasons.  It’s teaching me to design and maintain a complex, layered garden.  It even includes tips about coping with drought, deer, pests and maintenance.

Examples shown and described include woodland gardens, perennial borders, kitchen gardens, shrubbery, and a walled garden. The book concludes with a chapter dedicated to signature plants for all four seasons.

In addition to the wealth of useful information, the book includes David’s personal thoughts and experiences while creating his garden.  He’s a warm and, at times, humorous writer who makes this very enjoyable reading.  And lucky us – David gardens in a very similar climate to our own, so his plant choices are just right for us. Click here for lots more photos of David’s garden by Rob Cardillo.

From The Layered Garden. Photo by Rob Cardillo.


Just leave a comment here or on our Facebook page and we’ll choose one at random.  Entries close midnight EST Friday, December 14.  (The winner will be asked to pick up the book at one of the two Behnkes locations.)  Or just buy it, already.

Posted by Susan Harris.

Filed under: Books & Mags