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Gardening on Pavement, Tables, and Hard Surfaces

By George Schenk

The latest offering by George Schenk is a honey of a book, both practical and whimsical.

Fine Gardening

Gardening on Pavement, Tables, and Hard Surfaces is the first book to describe how to grow garden plants directly on hard surfaces such as pavement, rocks, tables, and other impermeable platforms. Plants have known all along that they can grow on these media, and George Schenk translates this small miracle into practical language for gardeners. With just a few inches of soil, gardens can be created almost anywhere. Tabletops can serve as the foundation for small rock gardens; ground covers can grow vigorously on concrete; even bonsai can thrive directly on decorative stone. Using extensive photos, plant lists, and step-by-step instructions, the author shows how every gardener can adopt this charming, vibrant, and beautiful style of planting.

Media reviews

"The photos that illustrate this clever idea are so gorgeous that ever since [I saw them] I have been harboring the idea to do the same."

—Kathy Renwald, Toronto Star

"City gardeners in particular should find a lot of useful informationin this book."

Science News

"George Shenk ... has proven that plants can grow on these media with the proper care."

National Gardener

"Rich with surprising ideas and a unique twist on drawing attention to little plant treasures, ... this book will make the reader aware of never-before-dreamed-of microclimates."

—Valerie Easton, Seattle Times

"Schenk speaks directly and enthusiastically to the reader with the familiarity of an old gardening friend. Once you've discovered his approach, you may never look at gardening the same way again."

—Lynette Walther, Camden Herald

"Mr. Schenk makes it sound so easy to be successful, his style of gardening is mighty appealing for those of us who have run out of real estate for one more flower bed."

Dallas Morning News

"Schenk is original."

—Patricia Jonas, Plants and Gardens News

"Nothing makes a reader happier than to have a favorite author produce a new book ... his writing style is relaxed and amusing ... He includes detailed instructions on how to acheive the effects shown in the book."

—Caroline McCullagh, Let's Talk Plants

"Uses plant lists, photos and step-by-step directions to show readers how to adopt this unique way of planting."

—Suzanne Hively, Cleveland Plain Dealer

"The title caught me, the book mesmerized. Here, it seems, is an entirely new way of gardening."

Gardener's Club of Mendota

"No doubt, [Schenk] is the expert on successfully transferring paved areas into lush plant beds. And, thankfully, he is eager to share his expertise so beginners won't need to waste time experimenting."


"This book details, perhaps for the first time in print, how to garden on an impermeable surface such as pavement, rock, brick or wood. Like the illustrious Hanging Gardens of Babylon, platform gardens can be a surprise and a wonder."

Farmers Market Online

"Plant lovers leafing through Gardening on Pavement, Tables and Hard Surfaces won't be intimidated: They'll be encouraged to try their hand growing plants directly on patio tables, flagstones and brick railings, or in cement blocks, stumps or creviced rocks, and even against brick walls."

—Charles Reynolds, Lakeland Ledger

"The latest offering by George Schenk is a honey of a book, both practical and whimsical."

—Linda Hillegass, Fine Gardening

"Living in a concrete jungle? This book's solution: Grow a garden on it ... highlights innovative gardens where you least expect them, miniature worlds in outlandish places, as quirky as they are captivating."

—Lili Singer, Los Angeles Times

"Anyone wanting to turn a brownfield site into a greenfield site should take a look at this."


"Schenk tells how to grow plants on pavement, rocks, railings, tables, stumps and logs, and stepping stones with just a few inches of soil."

—George Cohen, Booklist

"Schenk bends nature's winning ways to his will, creating gardens where no one before has thought to look. He attacks with uncommon creativity and vigor, and nature declares a draw ... very readable."

—Carlo Balistrieri, Rock Garden Quarterly

"The photographs are inspiring and the detailed instructions ensure success."

—Bobbie Schwartz, Buckeye

"I find [Schenk's] writing both fun and instructive."

—Patricia A. Taylor, Trenton Times

"The ideas are so charming and the pictorial results so clever that ... a swell surprise for the city gardener and a thoughtful treat for any addict of the horticultural."

—Marilis Hornidge, Rockland Courier-Gazette

"Witty and sensible ... Stunning photos depict real gardens full of imaginative projects."

—Katy Gilmore, Anchorage Daily News

"If you are serious about making a pavement garden bed, then this book provides all of the necessary information on types of plants including 50 examples, everything you need to know about soil type, various approaches to retaining pavement garden beds (with stones, bricks, timbers) and the ever important maintenance of your effort."

—George Graine, Virginia Master Gardeners Association Report

"Learn the secrets to successfully planting between the nooks and crannies of hard surfaces."

Santa Cruz Sentinel

"[Schenk's] new book is rich with surprising ideas and a unique twist on drawing attention to little plant treasures ... his planted wall-tops make you want to haul out the bricks and start building."

—Valerie Easton, Plant Life

About the author

George Schenk

A former nurseryman and landscaper, George Schenk retired from business to pursue his passions of designing and planting gardens and writing about them. His Moss Gardening won the Garden Writers Association Award for Excellence; his The Complete Shade Gardener has been recognized as one of the 75 Great American Garden Books. He lives in Washington state.

Read more about George Schenk

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