Planting design is, rather obviously, a complex topic, spanning as it does art, science, social need, and morality - especially during these days of increasing planetary environmental threat. Although certainly not denying the importance of scientifically appropriate practices, the symposium "The Aesthetics of [Contemporary] Planting Design" addressed planting design today, proposing a renewed concern for the cultural and aesthetic aspects of the landscapes that result. This book, which has been developed from the original presentations at the symposium, presents the thoughts of a select international group of landscape architects and historians who discuss the subject of planting design through the lens of their own work as well as the work of others, both contemporary and historical. They suggest that, as in real estate, the most important factor in selecting plants is "location, location, location." Certainly the Californian situation is far more forgiving than the aridity and other restrictive environmental conditions endemic to the Sonoran desert, or the frost and short growing seasons of Nordic lands that direct Scandinavian landscape architects to rely on native birches, pines, rowan, and moss. Most of us would agree that there are plants sensible for each climatic zone. Addressing environmental conditions is but the first step in the equation, however. There are also the issues of combination and composition.
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