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On the Wild Side: Experiments in New Naturalism

By Keith Wiley

Wiley's aim is "freeing your own creative inner spirit from the straitjacket of horticultural tradition," and in that, he succeeds brilliantly.

Publishers Weekly

Inspired first by the flora and fauna of rural England, and later by the world's deserts, coastlines, mountains, and woodlands, Keith Wiley has distilled the essence of these wild landscapes into a single garden with breathtaking success. Much more than a book of new planting ideas, On the Wild Side challenges our whole understanding of what a garden is. Why strive for year-round color throughout the garden when small areas can seize the limelight at their seasonal peak? Change and evolution is at the heart of new naturalism — is your garden ready for it?

Media reviews

"Inspirational."

San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyles

"Gardens gone wild. The concept is daring, even unsettling ... Keith Wiley proposes a radical change in landscape design: that gardens offer ephemeral surges that ebb and flow with the seasons."

—Lili Singer, Los Angeles Times

"There is an incredible amount of information and inspiration in this book ... it is a joy to learn from a gardener who loves to experiment and think laterally."

—Noel Kingsbury, Plantsman

"Wiley’s enthusiasm is infectious, his photography compelling and his emphasis on gardening with the conditions and rhythms of nature, rather than against them, truly modern."

—Valerie Easton, Seattle Times

"Wiley's aim is "freeing your own creative inner spirit from the straitjacket of horticultural tradition," and in that, he succeeds brilliantly."

Publishers Weekly

"A lovely book, offering imaginative ideas on how to integrate wild elements found in a diverse range of locations around the world into your own garden."

—Joan Richards, Current Books on Gardening & Botany

"Worth reading from cover to cover."

—Bobbie Schwartz, Buckeye

"On the Wild Side would make a great gift book for any gardener or "plant person" and deserves a spot in horticultural and landscape architecture libraries."

—Katherine Allen, Council on Botanical and Horticultural Libraries Newsletter

"A passionate introduction to a gardening style inspired by natural landscapes here and abroad."

—Dilly Halpin, Oxford Times

"This is a must-have work for anyone who wants to turn a brown field into a meadow, an aggravating weed patch or burned out lawn into a drought-resistant garden of Eden."

Cheyenne Mountain Kiva

"Shows how to incorporate the essence of wild landscapes all over the world into the garden."

Avant Gardener

"Gardeners will enjoy this book and its 202 color photos as they learn how to put the wild back into gardens."

—Virgil Rupp, East Oregonian

"This is a fascinating and inspiring book. Whether there is about to be a revolution in garden design or not, you will wonder why you don't see this type of planting more often."

—Richard Wilford, Kew

"Describes a radical new approach to gardening."

—Stephen Lacey, Daily Telegraph (London)

"If you're interested in wild landscapes, here's a book that offers a way to bring them home."

Santa Cruz Sentinel

"Urges bending the rules or ignoring them outright."

—Mary Beth Breckenridge, Akron Beacon Journal

"Beautifully illustrated ideas about how to create distinctive looks."

Science News

"Inspirational photography and text will help you re-create a wildflower meadow, grasslands or a South African desert in your own backyard."

San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyles

"Wiley's book includes scores of photos of both natural settings and landscapes that have been created to mimic the wild, along with ideas for re-creating the look in your yard."

Oregonian

"Wiley discusses why we should bring "wild" back into the garden whether with an unusual color palette by allowing the creative potential latent within most of us."

—Joanne S. Carpender, National Gardener

"Wiley's enthusiasm is infectious, his photography compelling and his emphasis on gardening with the conditions and rhythms of nature nature, rather than against them, truly modern."

—Valerie Easton, Seattle Times

"This book has certainly inspired me to imitate some of his ideas in my own garden."

Professional Gardener

"On the Wild Side: Experiments in New Naturalism is all that cutting-edge gardeners hoped it would be."

—Mary Keen, Spectator

"Writing with wit and joy, the author is enthusiastic but precise in his explanations of the how-to as well as the why-do-it. He offers a good read along with much very good advice."

—Marge Howard-Jones, California Garden

"It's a book that urges bending the rules or ignoring them outright."

Duluth News Tribune

"I came away from this book with a renewed interest in exploring natural systems fo myself."

—Linda Engstrom, Association of Professional Landscape Designers Newsletter

"A stream of practical gardening advice helps keep your feet on the ground."

Gardens Monthly

"Wiley's book includes scores of both natural settings and landscapes that have been created to mimic the wild, along with ideas for re-creating the look in your own yard."

—Kathy Huber, Houston Chronicle

"Inspiration for gardeners taken from wildflower colonies and natural landscapes."

—Noel Kingsbury, Garden (Peterborough)

"The principles of planting that the rest of us follow had been consigned to the dustbin. Instead, Wiley was looking directly to the wild and recreating ... the mingled communities of plants he saw there. In the process he set out evermore seductive and convincing arguments for a radical new approach to gardening, as described in his long-awaited book, On the Wild Side. As he writes in the book: 'This is seat of your pants gardening ... hold on to your hats.'"

Daily Telegraph (London)

About the author

Keith Wiley

After obtaining an honors degree in horticulture from London University, Keith Wiley spent twenty-five years as head gardener at The Garden House in Devon. There he evolved a gardening style based on modifying natural landscapes from around the globe. The garden he created there was described by national commentators as "one of the most exciting and innovative gardens in Britain today" and the best example of "leading-edge horticulture" in the UK.

Read more about Keith Wiley

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