When David Culp bought a 1790s farmhouse in southeastern Pennsylvania more than 20 years ago, he didn’t see peeling paint and a run-down condition. He saw possibilities.
In the years since, Culp and his partner have turned that house and its two-acre property into Brandywine Cottage, a noted landscape where he grows unusual plants from around the world. Culp shares the beauty of that property and some of his garden-design secrets in The Layered Garden: Design Lessons for Year-Round Beauty From Brandywine Cottage.
Culp defines his approach to layering as “creating a series of peak garden moments,” and he fills the book with photos that illustrate that concept. He seeks not just a succession of bloom, but also a succession of interesting happenings.
For him, layering involves considering the various levels of the garden, from ground to treetops, as well as the attributes of the plants — textures, shapes, colors, bloom times and even the feelings they evoke.
Besides sharing design advice, Culp gives readers a tour of his property in photographs and words, often showing the same vista at different times of the year to highlight the garden’s progression. He also profiles many of the plants in his extensive collection.
The Layered Garden is published by Timber Press and sells for $34.95 in hardcover.
— Mary Beth Breckenridge