In Honor of World Book Day

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I’m not quite sure where all of these World Celebration Days come from – I mean, do we really need a World Mosquito Day? Has anyone actually woken up on August 20th to purposefully celebrate mosquitoes? But I can’t help chuckling as I buy into the idea. March 5 is World Book Day, so I thought I might talk about some books that I’ve really enjoyed using, long before Google.

I’ve already mentioned Secret Teachings in the Art of Japanese Gardens, by David A. Slawson, a book I love for a number of reasons. I was always fascinated by Japanese folklore, and Slawson explains in great detail how myths and legends are honored and recreated in garden architecture. For example, there’s an ancient Asian folktale of a giant turtle that supported the island home of the immortals, their Mount Olympus. There are Turtle Islands in most classical Japanese gardens. Slawson’s excellent illustrations (the second reason I love the book) have helped me recreate them in my work. His explanations of how ancient masters used the shapes of stones to create movement are inspiring.

See the Turtle Island?

I have a couple of copies of Rick Bartel’s, The R.I.S.E Method, a How-to Guide for Designing Natural Appearing Ponds, Streams and Waterfalls. I’ve recommended his beautifully illustrated book to dozens of people who’ve attended my seminars over the years (including my eldest, who will listen to anyone except his old man.) Rick presents the concept of naturalistic rock placement as accessibly as anyone ever has. He combines well-expressed theory with step by step instruction that, properly followed, can make anyone’s work look good (including my eldest’s).

The third is one I haven’t carried as regularly lately, my Taylor’s Guide to Perennials, but when I was planting every week it never left my bag. It’s pretty sketchy – cover taped on, color plates loose – but it never needs a signal.

So my hope is, for World Book Day, I’ve helped folks remember how useful books are, even today. And as far as this silly “Day” stuff is concerned, just wait ‘til World Corgi Day.

About the Author:


Demi has been in water garden construction since 1986. As Atlantic’s Director of Product Information, if he’s not building water features, he’s writing or talking about them. If you have a design or construction question, he’s the one to ask.

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