Monday, August 20, 2012

Natural Companions:Book Review & Giveaway

Image by Ellen Hoverkamp © Natural Companions by Ken Druse with Botanical Photographs by Ellen Hoverkamp. Published in 2012 by Stewart, Tabori & Chang, New York. An imprint of ABRAMS. 


I am really excited about this particular book and giveaway. 

I first leafed through the glossy pages of Natural Companions back in early spring. My first thought was, "Wow! This is absolutely gorgeous. All my gardening friends would really enjoy this book."

I determined there and then to track down a review copy of the book. Many, many emails later, I am very pleased to write this short review and give a copy of this beautiful book away to one very lucky reader.

Image by Ken Druse © Natural Companions by Ken Druse with Botanical Photographs by Ellen Hoverkamp. Published in 2012 by Stewart, Tabori & Chang, New York. An imprint of ABRAMS. 

This coming winter, when the snow is flying, and your summer garden is but a distant memory, this is exactly the kind of book you are going to want to reach for. 

Grab a coffee, and maybe even a big piece of chocolate cake (this book calls for a little decadence) before you settle in to read in your favourite chair. Not so mundane as to weigh down the imagination with practical considerations, the pages of this book are where flights of fancy can take wing.


Natural Companions is the collaboration of well-known writer-photographer Ken Druse, and artist Ellen Hoverkamp. Through a series of essays, the author presents plant pairings in a fresh new way. The book covers a broad range of related topics that are organized according to the seasons and are illustrated with a mix of Ken's garden photography and Ellen's botanical images.

Image by Ellen Hoverkamp © Natural Companions by Ken Druse with Botanical Photographs by Ellen Hoverkamp. Published in 2012 by Stewart, Tabori & Chang, New York. An imprint of ABRAMS. 

To make each of the book's images, Ellen's Hoverkamp painstakingly arranged plant specimens facedown on the glass of a large format flatbed scanner. Sometimes wires were necessary to suspend the flowers so they would not get crushed. The resulting image immortalizes a moment in the garden and exquisitely illustrates one of Ken Druse's suggested planting combinations. The technology employed to create the images may be modern, but the final artowrk harkens back to traditional botanical illustration.

Image by Ellen Hoverkamp © Natural Companions by Ken Druse with Botanical Photographs by Ellen Hoverkamp. Published in 2012 by Stewart, Tabori & Chang, New York. An imprint of ABRAMS. 

Image by Ellen Hoverkamp © Natural Companions by Ken Druse with Botanical Photographs by Ellen Hoverkamp. Published in 2012 by Stewart, Tabori & Chang, New York. An imprint of ABRAMS. 

Height, size, color, texture, bloom time: the factors involved in considering planting combinations can seem overwhelming. The calm orderliness of Natural Companion's botanical images and Ken Druse's witty, entertaining writing style seem to demystify the process of selecting companion plantings. 

You are going to love this book!

P.S. I notice that Natural Companions is much more affordable if you order it online from Amazon or Chapters in Canada. Take a peek in the store and then order it online to save yourself some money.

If you would like to be included in the draw for the copy of Natural Companions, please leave a comment below. The contest will remain open for a full week (until next Monday at 12pm, my time). The draw and winning announcement will take place early the following week.

Many thanks to Ken Druse, and Stewart, Tabori & Chang for providing a book for this giveaway. Thanks also to Larissa for her help in making all the arrangements for this review and giveaway. 

Good luck everyone!

I am going to link this post to Holley's monthly book review party. To find reviews on many other great gardening books, be sure to click the link: Roses and Other Gardening Joys.



More Information and Links:

Author, Ken Druse: Ken Druse is the author of over a dozen award-winning books. He has a weekly radio show,"Ken Druse- Real Dirt" on public radio, The radio show is also available as a podcast on his website. His writing can be found in the New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, House Beautiful and many other magazines. Ken Druse lives in New Jersey and Brooklyn, New York. Visit his website: KenDruse.com
Photographer, Ellen Hoverkamp: Ellen has been creating fine art photographs using a flat bed scanner since 1997. Her large archival prints have been exhibited in galleries, and garden-related venues throughout North America. She her home in West Haven, Connecticut.  Medium and large sized archival prints of her photographs are available through her online shop. Visit her website: myneighborsgarden.com

49 comments:

  1. Jennifer, this looks like a beautiful book with some great ideas for pairing flowers and plants.

    Eileen

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  2. The photography in that book is stunningly beautiful! Ellen Hoverkamp definitely has an eye for beauty. I love how some the images leap up from the black background.
    -Karen

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  3. Jennifer, I think that Ken Druse and Ellen Hoverkamp are very talented people and good professionals. I love all pictures.

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  4. Such beautiful and artistic pictures. Beautiful flower combinations!

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  5. These pictures are gorgeous! They alone would be enough to make me want to pick up this book, but the topic is something I'm interested in as well. I want my garden to look like this!

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  6. Oh yes please!!! What a gorgeous book! I'd love to have this in my collection. Thank you for the chance to win it!

    ps I buy all my books on Amazon now and when you have them on a "wish" list, Amazon notifies you when the price drops! :)

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  7. From what you've shown us so far I think that the book will be stunning, and I look forward to perusing its pages!
    ~ Lynda

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  8. Stunningly beautiful images. It looks like a book worth owning!

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  9. I am a 'wannabe" artist and love your blog for all the lovely photos. They give me inspiration. The ones from the book are beautiful
    Rita
    manita44rita (at) yahoo.com

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    1. Thanks! Ken is amazing with a camera, isn't he? If you'd like to see more of my scanner photography, please visit www.myneighborsgarden.com

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  11. What absolutely beautiful photos! Not too long ago I had listened to Ken's podcast with Ellen Hoverkamp where they discussed the creation of their book. Thank you for sponsoring a giveaway of this great book and please include me!

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  12. The images are amazing! I've read about this technique for photographing flowers & it is so interesting. I'd love the book just for the pictures alone but I AM a gardener so I'd enjoy reading it very much too.

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  13. I'd love to win this, the pictures alone are awe inspiring.

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  14. Beautiful photography. Great way to while away a winter's day. You're right, chocolate is necessary for the perusing! Sign me up! :-)

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  15. Hi Jennifer
    Thanks for the great review and a chance to win this lovely book! Pls count me in!
    I have admired Ken Druse for many years. His book, The Natural Shade Garden, is one of my all-time favourites.
    IF I win the book, I would cosy up with a big mug of coffee and a few delicious pieces of Lindt's Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt. Mmmmmm……..

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  16. Thank you very much for this lovely post about the book Natural Companions.
    The photography is really beautiful and the combinations....
    I've written it down on my wishlist for wintertime.

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  17. Oh this would be a wonderful book to browse through on a cold winters night. I think I'd have some Chocolate Chip cookies and Cocoa while I browse through it. Thanks for the chance to win it.

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  18. I have several Ken Druse books, but not this one. I love the images, too. I think companions are something everyone wishes they knew more about. Sometimes it's hard to imagine all those different factors that you listed when planning a garden, or when making an impulse purchase! ;) I'm so glad you procured a copy to give away. Thanks for joining in!

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  19. This goes way past beautiful - words fail. Natural Companions has been on my radar for a while. Not only are the illustrations totally luscious in an art-book type of way, there is good solid gardening information and tips in there. Planting combinations is a topic which I am passionate about and this book would be devoured within minutes!

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  20. Jennifer,
    THANK YOU for your enthusiastic review of Natural Companions. I am just blown away by your endorsement and the many WONDERFUL comments!

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    1. Thank you Ellen for stopping by and for creating such beautiful images. I am a big fan and I meant enthusiastic word!

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  21. What a gorgeous book!! I'll have to add it to my I Want These Books List. :o)

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  22. What a wonderful and creative idea! I love books like this. Yes, Ken Druse is awesome.
    Hey, love that header you have. We have that butterfly down here in Texas.
    Happy Gardening to you!
    David/:0)

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  23. Beautiful flowers, fantastic composition. Such views are able to give a lot of joy. I am greeting

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  24. The pictures are gorgeous. I would love to enjoy this book over the winter and make plans for the spring.

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  25. What an unusual and inventive way to present flowers - absolutely stunning and some lovely combinations too.

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  26. Wspaniała książka. Można przede wszystkim dużo się z niej nauczyć, ale i popatrzeć na śliczne zdjęcia. Dziękuję, że o mnie pamiętałaś, jest mi bardzo miło z tego powodu. Pozdrawiam.
    Great book. Above all, a lot can be learned from it, but look at the pretty pictures. Thank you for having remembered me, I'm very pleased with that. Yours.

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  27. Hi Jennifer - your banner photo today is just magnificent! Photography course? Bah! Just buy a technical book to answer your questions and keep taking photos! Check out some photography blogs! You don't want to lose your unique style.

    Having been an enthusiastic experimenter with flatbed scanner art I can highly recommend them to your readers who are into digital image making. Getting their hands on a used one, or a cheaper one can open up exciting avenues for making textures, creating dramatic images such as the ones designed by Ms. Hoverkamp or detailed individual "layers" that can be combined using software. If they find a used or cheap one, it's less likely one would be freaked out about putting strange objects directly onto the glass (wouldn't recommend this for a new scanner)! With the proliferation of relatively inexpensive but decent digital cameras a lot of folks have set aside scanners, but they can instigate creative rewards if there is a willingness to experiment and relax (a little) about ruining the machine. There are a few scanner art "how-to" books on the market as well.
    As always, an inspiring visit - thanks!

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    1. Hi Ruth, I have not thought to use a scanner to do artwork before this post. It sounds like fun.

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  28. Simply stunning are these images.

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  29. I remember Ken Druse from a long time ago, I think from Martha Stewart. I always loved his work.

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  30. I'd love to meet Ken. I own several books and am blown away by the prose and photographs he does himself.

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  31. Count me in please! I love Ken Druse, his eye for detail and writing are among the best and the images by Ellen Hoverkamp in your post are fantastic! This looks like one of those books that every serious landscape-gardener must have. Thanks for hosting the giveaway!

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  32. Must be a fantastic book Jennifer. So nice to read your revieuw.
    Have a great evening.

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  33. I just love that fern photo..the arrangement is wonderful and those greens are really varied. Super book review.

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  34. Each of these scanner bed images is exquisite in design and execution. I like how you also point out the use of modern technique which is reminiscent of traditional botanical illustration.

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  35. The images remind me of the botanical engravings of Redoute. How stunning. I will need to add to my book list.

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  36. Hi Jennifer, i am awed by the magnificent photographs, very crisp and alive! I love most especially those collection of fern colors, oh so wonderful. I am sure your winner for your giveaway will be really very lucky and will treasure the book.

    Thank you so much for remembering me when you saw the flood devastation in your news, i so appreciate that. At least we have few days now of sun and floods receded though some areas are still under, and some families and the government still has lots of problems. As for me i have been sick for a week now cannot garden yet nor go to the office, but i am better now. Thanks.

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  37. Jennifer girl I am late getting to your post here and my jaw DROPPED when I saw these photos and what an ingenious way to photograph them (I bet you are keeping that in mid too!) .. they are all beautiful .. the ferns especially made my heart thump : )
    I would love this book .. especially as you describe the NEED in the dead of winter with a heavenly slice of chocolate cake and a nice cup of tea .. now that is perfection on so many levels it has to make you smile right ? LOL
    Joy : )

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  38. This book looks wonderful, Jennifer, and what a generous giveaway.
    The photography is amazing.
    Thank you for sharing.
    I wish you a wonderful day!

    xo.

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  39. Those photographs are amazing. Looks like a great book!

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  40. Thank you for the review and the peek inside the pages.

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  41. The beauty of the photographs set my heart racing. I'm inhaling design books right now as the reality of a new garden draws closer. A book devoted to companion planting is exactly what I need.

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