Some gardening books are ideal for flipping through visually exquisite photographs. Others offer helpful tips and nuggets of educational information. A select few, such as Creating Sanctuary (Timber Press, Portland) by Jessi Bloom, invite careful reading and savoring of every word on each page.
To start this slow immersion, the title and cover images by Shawn Linehan with key phrases capture the essence of a sorely needed refuge. Focusing on "Sacred Garden Spaces," "Plant-Based Medicine" and "Daily Practices to Achieve Happiness and Well-Being," a collage of garden photos offer instant solace.
After an aptly titled introduction titled "Coming Home to Yourself," the book is divided into three parts. "Creating Sacred Space" includes chapters on "Envisioning Your Sanctuary," "Common Elements of Sacred Spaces" and "Five Steps to Creating Your Sanctuary Garden." "Botanical Alchemy" covers "Fifty Sacred Plants for the Sanctuary Garden," "Plant Spirit Medicine: Plants as Our Allies" and "Growing Your Own Apothecary." "Nurturing Self: Healthy Body, Mind, and Soul" focuses on "Your Body as Sanctuary: Caring for Your Personal Ecosystem," "Mind and Soul: Finding Clarity and Comfort" and "Daily Sanctuary: Practices and Rituals."
With a highly personal tone establishing an immediate connection, Jessi Bloom openly shares the earth's healing power in her own life. The award-winning ecological landscape designer, professional horticulturist and ISA-certified arborist is the lead designer and owner of NW Bloom Ecological Services. Some of the many striking photos in the book reveal her palpable "energy exchanges" with trees and sacred sense of gardens as she holds a yoga pose, tends to plants or performs a "letting go" ceremony.
This beautifully produced book (Timber Press, Portland) also contains countless tips and practical applications for health and well-being in daily life. From a comprehensive list with details about "plant allies" to recipes for a garden smoothie and on-the-go-protein snacks, Creating Sanctuary highlights mindful movement and self-care rituals. Along with images of places to find solace in meditation and reflection, this divine book by Jessi Bloom focuses on positive connections with nature and genuine reasons for deep gratitude including the comfort of this book as a welcome refuge.
As extensions of our homes, gardens express our individual interests, preferences and style. From water features to color choices and arrangements, they provide calming spaces where we gravitate for moments of peace.
Here are a few books filled with ideas for creating a getaway right outside your home:
Water Gardens, Pools, Streams & Fountains (Better Homes and Gardens): When you can't escape to the beach or relax by a lake, this book will help you build a water feature in your own backyard. Packed with inspirational ideas and planning site advice, step-by-step instructions are provided along with details about plants and fish to enhance your water feature.
The Free-Spirited Garden by Susan McClure with photographs by Ian Adams (Chronicle Books): If you prefer the cultivation of a naturally flourishing garden, this book offers information about self-sowing annuals, biennials and perennials. You will also learn about flowering times, growing requirements and hardiness zones to transform even the most resistant backyard into a spontaneously regenerating paradise.
Grow a Living Wall by Shawna Coronado (Cool Springs Press): If you have limited gardening space, this book will help you design vertical solutions. Besides creating privacy, plants growing up walls and in other cleverly conceived containers will produce flowers, vegetables and herbs in every inch available.