The first half of the book is devoted to design, including "The Water's Edge," "Seaside Landscapes," "Seaside Color," "Pools and Ponds," "Porches, Patios and Decks," "Paths, Fences and Trellises." Informative photo captions identify the plants, giving practical and/or design reason for choices, together with some idea of what the garden will look like at other times of the year.
There are gardens that frame views, give privacy, obscure the intrusive edges of swimming pools. Borders combine perennials, annuals and grasses; windbreaks offer beauty as well as shelter.
Among the Maine gardens pictured is the Thuya garden at Asticou Terraces in Northeast Harbor, a semi-formal herbaceous perennial garden in the style of Gertrude Jekyll which today is a 200-acre park open to the public. Mrs. Thomas Hall's garden in Northeast Harbor on Mt. Desert Island features woodland paths down to the water's edge and an Asian style garden amid outcroppings of rock. There's a lily pond from Bar Harbor and a vegetable garden overlooking the sea at West Point.
The second half of the book includes advice for various seaside terrains and weather conditions, including soil augmentation, pest control, mulching and overwintering and, of course, plant choices. James offers an extensive plant encyclopedic (with some illustrations) for annuals, bulbs, perennials, groundcovers, vines, roses and trees, including concise information about soil and sun requirements.
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