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Made Wijaya - Modern Tropical Garden Design

This is a delightful and informative book, and also quite a visual treat.  The more I read, the more I liked it.  The first three chapters cover different geographical areas - the Americas, Asia, and Australia (where the author is originally from.)  The fourth chapter is just dynamite.  It's on designing modern gardens, and tackles the different aspects of garden design, such as paving, lighting, etcetera.  Under lighting, he says "Lighting the inside of water bodies should be avoided.  It just highlights muddiness, or, in swimming pools, simulates a nuclear reactor effect.  It is best to leave water bodies dark, to reflect light."  He also says, "Coloured lights can cause emotional distress in seniors."  There are many gems under the section Tropical Flower Arrangements: "Modern arrangements are generally considered 'modern' because the vase is modern, or because the flowers are arranged minimalistically."  "I feel strongly that flowers should soften, not swamp, an interior.  Reticence should be the key note.  Flower should sing, not shriek, in an interior."  "...Heliconia and Torch Ginger have a tendency to look violent in floral display."  "Mother Nature is the best flower arranger.  We should just try to emulate her as much as possible.  Flowers in the house should look as they do in nature, not with their arms amputated and poking skywards, as we see in so many aggressive modern floral displays today."

The author describes himself as an outdoor decorator rather than a garden designer.  I like that distinction and think it's important.

There's a excellent four page appendix at the end, "Raymond Jungles' Master Plant List". Jungles is a Florida landscape gardener, but the list is useful throughout the tropics.

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