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The Jewel Box Garden

By Thomas Hobbs

Photographs by David McDonald

An irreverent and enjoyable gem of a book.

American Gardener

Wouldn't it be wonderful if you could describe your garden as a jewel box full of beautiful plant treasures? In this sequel to the bestselling Shocking Beauty, garden impresario Thomas Hobbs shows you how. The Jewel Box Garden is a luscious, full-color book that features 160 new and startling photos by renowned garden photographer David McDonald. Hobbs explains his philosophy of gardening and life, or as he puts it, "Life As We Dream It Could Be." In his own provocative and highly original way, he encourages gardeners to tap into their creativity and invest their heart and soul in creating oases of beauty — intimate spaces where they can escape the pressures of modern life.

Awards for this book: Garden Writers Association Bronze Award

Media reviews

"If you're looking for inspiration, The Jewel Box Garden is a sure bet."

—Alice Joyce, San Francisco Chronicle

"This is the most exciting garden book published in the past year."

—Dulcy Mahar, Oregonian

"I was delighted when The Jewel Box Garden by Thomas Hobbs landed on my desk. His book immediately became the first in a pile of must-reads."

—Denise Cowie, Philadelphia Inquirer

"Hobbs has a gift for couching big ideas in few and memorable words."

—Valerie Easton, Horticulture

"Hobbs believes a bit of 'set-dec' is crucial in all forms of gardening and you will find many of these ideas very pleasing and peaceful."

—Joanne S. Carpender, National Gardener

"[Hobbs] inspires, scolds, and cajoles the reader into making the best possible garden, all with delicious humor."

—Ellen Spector Platt, Container Gardens

"With provocative and highly original ideas and stunning photography, this book encourages gardeners to tap into their creativity."


"Positively awesome images and intuitive text distinguish this gorgeous book that glows with color and energy."

—Lynette Walther, Palatka Daily News

"A really good book is one that inspires me and causes me to take action, and this book has done that in spades ... I would highly recommend this book."

—Petra McLean, Plant Master

"I highly recommend this book, both to those who garden and to those who want to know more about an interesting man."

—Caroline McCullagh, Let's Talk Plants

"I can't think of any book that would do a better job of taking a gardener safely through the winter doldrums."

—Ethel Fried, Manchester (CT) Journal Inquirer

"Yet another exquisite creation from the hand, heart and eye of self-confessed plant obsessive Thomas Hobbs."

—Nori and Sandra Pope, Garden's Monthly

"Just one look at this gem and you will be hard-pressed not to want to use some of the ideas in the book."

—Barney Lipscomb, Sida, Contributions to Botany

"The most enjoyable kind of 'eye candy' ... one can't help but be inspired."

—Melissa Clark, Association of Professional Landscape Designers Newsletter

"Author Hobbs' life-as-we-dream-it philosophy cheerfully abounds throughout the inspiring pages of this jewel of a book, a creative dream within a dream for gardeners everywhere."

Boox Review

"Most outstanding inspirationally ... an elegant plea for 'cohesive' gardening."

Avant Gardener

"No one will fail to be inspired to endeavor to create in his or her own garden."

—John E. Bryan, Gardening Newsletter

"Each of the delightfully penned chapters is an inspiring essay expressing Hobbs' jeweled ideas about gardening. Delicious to think about. Satisfying to read. A sweet indulgence."

—Debra Prinzing, Everett Herald

"Hobbs offers a view of gardening that is intense, lavish, spectacular, brilliant, sexy and a fabulous vision of what can be achieved when culture, cash and climate combine."

—Trevor Nottle, Torrens Valley Center for Horticulture

"Read him to soak up a shot of inspiration from his color-saturated pictures, his unabashed enthusiasm, and his willingness to make his garden a very personal expression."

—Linda Hillegass, Fine Gardening

"The Jewel Box Garden is an irreverent and enjoyable gem of a book."

—Ian Adama, American Gardener

"Few individuals, sadly, are born with the innate ability to assemble plants and objects into the endlessly appealing and entertaining gardens that appear in Tom's latest book, The Jewel Box Garden. For those lacking that skill, his book provides inspiration through photography, which can only be described as stunning, and through text that, though remarkably brief, is crisp and informative — and ever-so-personal."

Pacific Horticulture

"An unabashed revel in aesthetics, complemented by McDonald's large and luscious photos on every page ... It gets my vote for the most beautiful garden book of the year."

—Valerie Easton, Seattle Times

"A lush, photographic banquet of incredible plant combinations and limitless creativity."

—Joe Remes, Kane County Chronicle

"Hobbes writes subjectively and forcefully (and, often, funnily), and his essays end up becoming a how-to that comes upon you unawares. David McDonald's photography is saturated with teachable moments, unlike the window dressing of so many garden books."

—Craig Summers Black, 50Plus Lifestyles

"[Hobbs] continues to shake up the gardening [world] by challenging people to cast the usual ho-hum garden design rules aside for a refreshing approach ... in Hobbs' able hands, the garden as a sanctuary takes on a whole new meaning."

—Connie Krochmal, Bella Online

"His design ideas are exciting and his use of bold colors is well-suited to our hot climate where paler colors don't stand up well to August sun."

—Linda Hillegass, Spring Affair News

"The Jewel Box Garden fuels the imagination and provokes thought in a stunning and original format. Like its author, it stands out from the crowd."

—Joan Ofteness, Social Gardener

"Guides readers in designing their own outdoor sanctuaries."

Phoenix Home and Garden

"If you are looking for literary dessert, this garden book is it."

—Vanessa Nagel, Hardy Plant Society of Oregon Newsletter

"Stunning photographs, superlative advice on design and planting."


"A treasure trove of unexpected compositions ... useful for every space."

—Bobbie Schwartz, Buckeye

"Take one part gardening expertise and one part eye for beauty and you get 'gardening as theater,' the theme for this beautiful little book."

—Marge Howard-Jones, California Garden

"I have been inspired to go right out and find the ruffled but tender succulent Echeveria for my own garden, thanks to the inspiration of this jewel of a book."

—Marianne Binetti, Seattle Post-Intelligencer

"Hobbs encourages readers to look at gardens with the intent of making them dramatically beautiful."

—Suzanne Hively, Cleveland Plain Dealer

"Hobbs skillfully weaves in his garden-based personal philosophy and even includes the touching story of how he acquired his home: a 1933 Mission Revival-style house with a big view in Vancouver, Canada. It's a wonderful illustration of someone who knows how to take his own advice: someone who has created his own life as he dreamed it could be."

—Linda Richards, January Magazine

About the author

Thomas Hobbs

Thomas Hobbs is an internationally known impresario of garden and floral design. He runs Southlands Nursery in Vancouver, Canada, and his private garden has been featured in many prominent magazines, including Horticulture, House Beautiful, Better Homes and Gardens, and Garden Design. Tom has a weekly television show, has been featured on Martha Stewart Living, and gives popular lectures across North America on inspirational garden design.

Read more about Thomas Hobbs

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