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The American Meadow Garden : Win A Free Copy of John Greenlee's Book!

comments (125) July 11th, 2010 in blogs
BillyGoodnick Billy Goodnick, contributor
40 users recommend

Author John Greenlee.
 Click the image to enlarge. Photo: Saxon Holt

I couldn't wait to get my hot little hands on The American Meadow Garden: Creating a Natural Alternative to the Traditional Lawn (Timber Press) written by grass and meadow madman John Greenlee, and seductively photographed by Saxon Holt. The book promised tools for my landscape architect's bag of tricks-philosophical reassurance, design inspiration, a new palette of plants, how-to details.

I just read it. It delivered.

Trade In Your Old Lawn...

You know I'm no fan of traditional lawns. They're stultifyingly boring and often serve no useful purpose-anybody seen the neighborhood kids playing in the front yard lately? They consume too much stuff and foul our precious nest. NASA photos put the collective national lawn at upward of 30 million acres. We can get by with a lot less.

John Greenlee is a dynamo of energy and passion when it comes to ornamental grasses. I won't take up space with his bio. It's all in the book, starting with John's childhood memories of "the field", the only wild space in his SoCal cookie-cutter neighborhood.

John doesn't insist that everyone plow up their existing landscapes and blanket the continent with meadows, but he does make a compelling argument for meadow gardens in more landscapes.

From the first page, John and Saxon beckoned me to join them in a field of words and images, touching on romantic and rational reasons to seek a "solution to the madness of lawn culture." Energy, water and resource consumption, polluted runoff, noise, greenwaste, and loss of habitat are offered as compelling reasons to murder a few lawns. And I agree with the guys that well designed, well managed meadow gardens are a lot more interesting than swatches of sterile, billiard-table-green turf.

Chapter two delves into the natural ecology of meadows and the wide variety of forms they can take; the difference between warm-and cool-season grasses; and the non-grass species that impart unique personalities to different types of grasslands. I took a whirlwind tour of America, visiting seven geographic/climatic zones, learning how their unique environmental factors influence the types of meadows that are most likely to thrive in each.

First Thing First

I was heartened to see that John devotes space to site analysis, perhaps the most important, but often glossed-over design phase. He explains why successful meadows come from close observation, then factoring into the equation the topography, drainage patterns, soil type, sun patterns and existing vegetation of the each site leads to successful meadows-sustainable "systems" that should require only minimal inputs and generate few harmful outputs.

Next, the book rolls up its sleeves, pulls on its steel-toe work boots (sorry, don't mean to diss all you Wellie wearers) and becomes an indispensible how-to gardening book. The plant lists are loaded with detailed information and include design uses for each species, divided into groundcovers, fillers, backgrounds, accents and natural lawns.

In the book's homestretch, John clarified for me how it's done-soil preparation, weed eradication (he's not apologetic about the sometimes necessary use of properly applied herbicides, as well as organic approaches), and plant spacing.

John includes "post-partum" tips on raising and caring for your "new baby". (If you've learned to summon the forces of nature whenever your meadow needs a drink, you can skip the section about watering, but I found it helpful.)

He cautions that a meadow doesn't always follow your wishes, unlike traditional gardens where trees, shrubs and perennials more-or-less stay put. "Invariably, you install plants where you want them," John writes, "but they end up where they want to be.

Such is the never-ending fascination of the meadow."

While John's words inform and compel, Saxon Holt's photographs cast a magic spell that brings the book to life. The "design" photos each tell a story of natural beauty, balance, and energy, while the "this is what the plant looks like up close" shots capture the character of each plant, the way a skilled portraitist reveals the essence of a person. Saxon's love of gardens and plants is obvious in his gifted work.

Win A Copy For Your Garden Library!


Post a comment for a chance to win a copy of The American Meadow Garden

To enter the drawing, register for this site (or log in, if you are already a member) and post a comment about this review.  One lucky winner will receive a copy of The American Meadow Garden.

To be eligible for the drawing, comments must be posted by noon on August 9.


Would you like to pore over the pages of this game-changing book? Have you contemplated lawnicide, but found yourself timidly standing on the sidelines, waiting for a sign?

Whether you plant a meadow garden in your own landscape or not, The American Meadow Garden is a great book to have in your garden library or on your coffee table.

Log in to, leave a comment and put your name in the running for your very own copy of The American Meadow Garden, shipped right to your door.

On-line Resources

John Greenlee

Saxon Holt

Timber Press

Lawn Reform Coalition at Subscribe to the LRC's newsletter and check out their Facebook fan page.

posted in: cool green gardens, billy goodnick, lawn, lawn reform, greenee

Comments (125)

suzyb1 writes: I would love to win a copy.We have three hours of mowing!A need to eliminate grass! Posted: 3:39 pm on August 17th
Dale23 writes: I got rid of my grass years ago, and replaced much of the lawn with succulents and native grasses. This book has fantastic pictures. Posted: 8:23 pm on August 16th
Annleesgardens writes: I am trying to make a meadow garden along our front fence. I'm sure the information in this book would be a lot of help. Posted: 7:43 pm on August 7th
crazyhorselady writes: I doubt I'll convince my hubby to give up his lawn, but I do have a large area in the middle of the circle drive just begging to become a meadow garden. Need to get this one added to my Amazon wish list. Would love to have a new project for next spring. Posted: 11:49 pm on August 5th
martydew writes: I've been been spending the summer pulling out invasive honeysuckle and weeding in preparation for putting in more appealing plants. This book looks like an excellent starting point for planning our new lawn and garden. Posted: 11:17 pm on August 4th
WoodLess writes: I love the book and meadow gardens. This book would go along way toward helping me convert me overly grassy yard into a nice meadow.

Chuck Posted: 9:16 pm on August 4th
gardenweasle writes: I would love to win a copy of this book due to the fact that I already have a meadow .Unfortunately ,it is a weed filled lot now. I need all the information and insperation I could use .All of my work seems to go for naught.I need his expert advice for my sanity and to ease my workload. Posted: 11:09 pm on August 3rd
Malabarista writes: I'm really looking forward to getting my hands on this book. We have a three-acre field that is perfect to work with to create more plant diversity, as well as get rid of Autumn Olive. Part of my inspiration to do this came two weeks ago when I visited the spectacular prairie/meadow restoration at Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge in New York. It sounds from the review that the book covers just about everything I would want to know. Posted: 2:24 pm on August 3rd
dirtwoman writes: Wow, great ideas for areas of open space with a need for a character uplift. Hope to get the book soon. I will suggest to my local library as well. Thanks for the inspiration! Posted: 1:11 pm on August 2nd
OrganicMan writes: I have an acre lot thats vary diverse in it's botanical makeup, in other words,"more weeds and invasive species than I have lawn". If I used weed killer I'd have no lawn. Perhaps planting a meadow would be the way to go. I would really like to have a good look at this book and see what I could do with it. Sounds like it's got the info I need. Posted: 12:46 am on August 1st
ruth228 writes: Excellent review, awesome photos, with exciting ideas! Posted: 1:42 am on July 31st
FrogGarden writes: This is a topic I'm wildly interested in. From the way the book is described, I'll buy it if I don't win it. If John Greenlee writes half as entertainingly as Billy Goodnick, it's going to be a blast to read. What a way to get the info I need!! Posted: 8:36 pm on July 29th
taprootgardens writes: The description is delightful! I've been eye'ing this book for the past several months and the photos take me to an imaginary place akin to the natural landscapes of "Little House on the Prairie." Not surprising, seeing the location of the movie set was in Simi Valley, California. Yes, you've done it alright. You've captured my heart and spirit and brought me back to simpler, more natural times. I'd like to be lost in a field of grasses somewhere, with my nose in the pages of this book. Posted: 4:00 pm on July 29th
janeswh writes: I just happen to have this book checked out from my local public library; it's very beautiful to look at and quite inspiring. Posted: 12:42 am on July 29th
dagmardweeb writes: Just purchased a property that has a 1 acre meadow beside a stream. The previous owners had just mowed the thing like it was a giant lawn.This spring we let it go wild to see what would happen and low and behold it was covered with waves of successive wild flowers long repressed by the blades of the mower. While some of it will become more permanent perennial beds, the remainder is destined to become a meadow garden. The book looks truly inspiring and would love to win a copy.

Andrew Peake
Posted: 8:22 pm on July 27th
Caiside writes: The book sounds wonderful. I have been gradually replacing my back yard "lawn: with native meadow-type plants and grasses. I'd love the inspiration and advice. Posted: 2:11 pm on July 27th
kayos writes: This looks like something I would like to try in my back yard too, but I must admit I am somewhat intimidated to try. Posted: 8:25 pm on July 26th
susan749 writes: So many of the prairie or meadows I have seen in yards around the Ann Arbor area where I live are just too large and wild for a city lot. The photos in this book show meadows that looks so lovely and appropriate to their settings. I live at the edge of town and have been wanting to grow more native plants in a natural looking garden. This book would be a big help. Posted: 10:34 pm on July 25th
thegardenlady writes: This book is just in time! I have designated a section of my property in southern Connecticut to be meadow. It is difficult to access, but easily viewed by passers by, in full sun, and I think an excellent spot for a meadow and all the wildlife that would support. I look forward to reading this book and learning how to get started. Posted: 9:36 pm on July 25th
glenclem writes: I recently suggested this book for inclusion at my local library and they are going to add it, after reading Goodnick's review. The best part of their selecting my recommendation is that I get to be the first person to check it out! Then I can decide if it should be in my own library, most likely it will. Thanks for the review.
Glen Posted: 4:31 pm on July 24th
LLpinkboots writes: Our home in NJ sits on nearly 25 acres of mostly woods and wetlands, but of the lawn area, we are slowly but surely eliminating what we can. We'd love to learn more about planting a successful meadow to enhance the more wild areas of our property! Posted: 5:19 pm on July 22nd
flowergirl55 writes: Just finised reading John Greenlee's article in the June/July 2010 Horticulture Magazine-I am inspired! I have a chance to move into a field wide open with opportunity for landscaping! Have already convinced my husband that lawn mowing is way over-rated and meadows and low-maintenance grass is the way to go!! I would love a copy of "The American Meadow Garden" to show me the way to go. What an inspiration! Posted: 12:26 pm on July 22nd
omakaren writes: What an awesome alternative to boring green lawns! How exciting an idea to recreate a more nature environment- maybe some bees will come back to visit and stay. Taking time away from lawn maintenance will allow more time and energy for home food production and other basics of life.
I believe the home owners' associations may be difficult to sway into acceptance but stranger things have happened. We are slowly being led back to the natural way of life.
Thank you. Posted: 9:25 am on July 22nd
AmyLomeli writes: I am slowly trying to convince my landlords that this lawn thing isn't working out. It's such a waste of time and, in California especially, precious water! I'd love to use this book as further evidence for my agenda! Posted: 9:51 pm on July 21st
dazzle_dae writes: Great review of what sounds like a great book. Just moved to Kentucky, got 3 acres of "lawn" (crab grass, plantain, clover, etc.). As I've often said, "If grass was meant to be
3 inches tall and flat cross the top, God would have made
it that way!!" Posted: 8:59 pm on July 21st
LemonLyme writes: Lawnmowers are over-rated. Watching the bees, insects and birds is way more fun. Saxon Holt's photography is also a treat and a true inspiration! This book would be a great addition to my collection... Posted: 8:32 pm on July 21st
vegman writes: I have just the spot to implement some ideas from this book. Thanks for the giving me the chance to win it. Posted: 6:22 pm on July 21st
mimikris10 writes: Thanks for the article! I have looked at this book in the book store and would love to win a copy. I recently dug up part of my front yard (no lawn), and need some inspiration as to what to plant there. This would be perfect. Crossing my fingers! Posted: 10:34 am on July 21st
bigstronggirls writes: Finally, a real compendium about meadow gardens. I am thrilled. Hope I win! Posted: 8:52 am on July 21st
maceruby writes: From what I read in the Fine Gardening review, this is just the book I need to implement my plans. I'm glad a book like this exists. I hoping for good luck here. Posted: 10:23 pm on July 20th
BombasticTurtle writes: I am a new gardener! And while I have always found perennials the most interesting for my garden mainly because of the zone that I live in ... I have always found ornamental grasses very appealing and beautiful, but never had the heart to try any of them in my own backyard! But thanks to "fine gardening" and John, I intend planting ornamental grass in my backyard this year!

Wish me luck!!! :) Posted: 7:28 pm on July 20th
Tigerlady writes: Thanks for the review! I have long wanted to rid my yard of "lawn". I'm on my way, but I'm sure my neighbors would vote "yes" to my having a better resource and tool for my inspiration! Posted: 3:01 pm on July 20th
victoriak writes: I would love to win this book. My side yard would make a perfect meadow. I like gardening with native plants. They generally require less maintenence. Posted: 2:15 pm on July 20th
ek1 writes: Sounds like my kind of book, I love that stuff!

Posted: 12:31 pm on July 20th
granbygal writes: This book would help me to convert a half lot to the west of my house, which currently has some native grass. I would like to see more and learn from a "master" with this book. Posted: 11:54 am on July 20th
anouchka writes: I've been trying to convert a "lawn" into a meadow on the old farm where I live. It'll be interesting to see what this book has to say about converting spaces that were used for different purposes back into a natural state. Posted: 11:45 am on July 20th
thestudentsewer writes: I have lived in my New England Cottage for 5 years now. The lawn thing is just not working out and I dream of taking it all out and replacing with plantings and pathways. Posted: 11:29 am on July 20th
ckzhart writes: We have the perfect place for a meadow garden in front of our Texas Hill Country home already naturally endowed with native grasses. I would love more information on how to make it into a show-stopper. Winning a copy of this great resource would be great! Posted: 11:19 am on July 20th
M32003 writes: Great book. Thanks for the chance to win a copy. Posted: 10:13 am on July 20th
FrenchBlue writes: Coincidently, I am working on an area on my property with the idea of a meadow garden. I am working with sheet mulching. Hopefully getting the quack grass "managed" soon. As impatient as I am to design the actual meadow, it is so important to start right. It has been a long process. I was excited to see Billy's article and the pictures from The American Meadow Garden are beautiful.
I would love to win a copy of the book for further inspiration! Posted: 8:06 am on July 20th
LeeinNOVA writes: Refreshing to see alternate approach to landscaping that's neither "preaching" nor self serving. I've always enjoyed listeing to John, now I can also enjoy his book. Good review. Posted: 7:56 am on July 20th
Cayugamorning writes: Great review of a great book. We have more weeds than grass in our lawn due to our concerns about using herbicides, fertilizers, etc. As I look out on our front lawn, I can visualize softly swaying prairie grasses and fescues. An inspiring book, thank you. Posted: 7:10 am on July 20th
rascaltoo writes: I have a bank behind the house with woods just behind the flat spot on the top. The soil is clay that bakes hard like cement in the sun.

A meadow garden would be perfect on the flat spot. There are deer and other wildlife in the woods and a plethora of birds. I love the idea of sustainability in a meadow without spending hours water, pruning, etc. Wouldn't it be perfect to have an eco-system that provided for minimal or no waste of our natural resources.

This book sounds like a must have and an excellent Christmas gift. We need more environmentally sound ideas like this!

Thank you. Posted: 5:21 am on July 20th
ckrose writes: WHAT!!!! A meadow in my backyard? I think I would like that just to see what kind of birds and insects that I could attract because I love to photograph mother nature and her little creatures. Posted: 2:26 am on July 20th
AHH writes: The timing for this book couldn't be better.

Out here where I live on the central coast of California, our little beach town passed a "weed abatement" ordinance - meaning, if your yard doesn't look like their yard, they will hire someone to come in, whack it all down, and send you the bill - with a 100% markup in the cost they incurred to hire someone to do it.

I would love to have a copy of this book and present it to the local "board", show them a few pictures in the book, and see how they respond. Would they "weed-whack" Mr. Greenlee's yard? and then send him an outrageous bill (they estimate the average bill they plan on sending out will be around $650.00!!!)

I, myself, find the natural dune grasses around here to be so lovely, and when I tried to let a patch grow in just a small part of the front yard, I got scolded by people who considered them "weeds". lol

Thank you Mr. Greenlee for writing this book! Posted: 1:19 am on July 20th
violetbuddy writes: i am landscape design student and i would love to have a copy of this book. i installed two beds of grasses in a friends yard and this book would have really helped my with my choices. i love the way the different colors of grasses enhance each other. beautiful!! Posted: 8:12 pm on July 19th
LRaye writes: This book has been on my wish list since I first heard about it. I'd also love to give it to my brother-in-law who had a nice wild flower meadow area but could really benefit from reading about how and why to do it right! Posted: 7:27 pm on July 19th
JoannS117 writes: the photos look gorgeous. Can't wait to read the book! Posted: 7:24 pm on July 19th
Shadoe62 writes: The beautiful images are inspiring. I thought my field was nice thanks to a few wildflower seeds. These meadows offer more to think about. Wildlife and birds would love it creating interest for all the nature lovers in my family. Posted: 6:56 pm on July 19th
Motleyalaskan writes: Ever since I found a patch of weeping sedge on our property and was successful in trasplanting it in one of my gardens I have been a great fan of grasses( and Ferns). I've gone on the Quaking Grass, Bunnytails and several other decorative native grasses, and want MORE Posted: 6:20 pm on July 19th
gottagarden writes: I have been a fan of grass gardens for years. I have been quietly collecting quite a variety of grasses that I grow in my flower beds. (various miscanthus, zebra grasses, fescues,etc) One day I want to make an all grass garden but need to research it more before I take the plunge. This book would be great for that! Posted: 5:47 pm on July 19th
Mamarenate writes: That's it! It's time to stop thinking about it and time to make it happen. I've always wanted a meadow as part of our three acres. Posted: 5:01 pm on July 19th
ChestnutCabinCook writes: Over the past few years of meandering the tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay in our small trawler, increasingly we have seen acres of dull, flat green lawns converted to beautiful, flowing meadows that reach down to the water's edge. I spend hours photographing the wildlife these meadows attract and support. What a boon to our wonderful watershed. We applaud the stewardship of these eco-minded home and landowners. I'm inspired now to replace a sunny section of our back lot from zoysia (grass) to meadow and would love to have this book as a guide. Posted: 4:44 pm on July 19th
roboto writes: I had not heard of this book, but the review definately makes it seem like "the Bible of landscaping". His knowledge and forethought about how we are destroying/disturbing our earth, and how to improve our landscaping practices so that we can leave this earth a better land sounds like we all need a copy for our library. I will definately get a copy even if I don't win! Posted: 4:41 pm on July 19th
cfmartinez writes: Simple lovely! I have always wanted to do this, but always found it to be overwhelming! Posted: 4:35 pm on July 19th
annmc writes: A meadow garden is a wonderful idea for our yard. I take care of my mother's yard for her and enjoy doing so. I try to use native plants, and I would be interested in finding out what would be recommended for the South.

We live in southeastern Louisiana with a yard that is several acres and surrounded by sugar cane fields. There are so many beautiful plants and grasses that grow wild in our area. I think that with the correct guidance regarding preparation, planting and upkeep, a meadow garden would be a wonderful alternative for my mother's yard.

Thank you for the information about the book and the opportunity to win a copy. Posted: 4:19 pm on July 19th
DeniseGD writes: Years ago I purchased a book by John Greenlee titled 'The Encyclopedia of Ornamental Grasses'. This book and my fascination with grasses led me to name my sustainable landscape design practice--Dancing Grass Designs. Greenlee and Oehme van Sweden are the leaders of this American Meadow Garden movement. Thanks goes to Kurt Bluemel for growing these wonderful grasses too. Greenlee's new book sounds like just the right design tool for my practice. Posted: 3:44 pm on July 19th
anjougarden writes: John Greenlee. Saxon Holt. What more could you want in a book? Beautifully photographed solutions to help us get control of our lawn addiction. Thanks, Billy, for a great review. Posted: 3:41 pm on July 19th
wjtjwt writes: I have been a long time fan of ornamental grasses, so I know about John Greenley. Can't wait to see his latest book. The review was excellent. Posted: 3:23 pm on July 19th
doubled123 writes: Reducing the lawn and replacing it with a meadow would bring more Dragonfly's,butterfly's and all sorts of bees that would benefit everyone. I cant wait to win the book and get started! Posted: 3:10 pm on July 19th
ScrapperDeb writes: The pictures here are so beautiful, I can't imagine what browsing through the whole book would be like. I'd love to win a copy. Posted: 2:37 pm on July 19th
pshulles writes: With over 10 acres of land that I have been mowing for over 12 years I NEED this book. The cover pictures a lone shows me all the time I have wasted mowing and I could of saved myself years of time and money while beautifing my land had I seen your book. As an obsessed and avid gardener if I was the winner of receiving your book I would then love to share my pictures with you of my success of new meadow, not just 10 acres of mowed weeds. Posted: 2:08 pm on July 19th
hotrodcatlady writes: Wow maybe this is the answer to our yard that seems to be grass resistant. I would love to win this book. Posted: 2:02 pm on July 19th
wkarp writes: I was at my local library reading an article about the BP fiasco and came across this book. Excellent. With all the destruction going on it is a welcome sight to read a book that will allow one to give back to mother nature. Posted: 2:01 pm on July 19th
ECED writes: Simply lovely. I worked for The American Horticultural Society for six years and their meadow at River Farm is gorgeous. Spent many days with children there and liked to eat lunch overlooking the meadow. Check it out at Thanks! Posted: 1:53 pm on July 19th
Krisko writes: I have 10 acres along a river and mow 5 acres. This books sounds like a perfect reference, we are spending to much time mowing and could enhance our river area and wildlife habitat Posted: 1:34 pm on July 19th
homechef writes: I have been telling people for years to get rid of their lawns! Glad to see someone agrees with me. Each year my gets smaller and smaller!!!! Posted: 1:28 pm on July 19th
BettyBoop2 writes: What a great idea! I would love to read this book and make some changes on a difficult hillside. This might be the perfect answer. Posted: 1:24 pm on July 19th
seniorgaygardener writes: Looking forward to converting a portion of my baack yard to a meadow. Posted: 1:11 pm on July 19th
Whycka writes: sounds like t5his is bthe book i've been waiting for. Posted: 12:45 pm on July 19th
haikuwriter writes: A meadow garden -- perfect for Austin! Wish I had the space. Posted: 12:42 pm on July 19th
trishecortani writes: I am a sustainable farmer living in Upstate SC where things are very dry right now. It seems that when the mountain rains come in from the northwest, they fragment apart just before heading down towards our valley. We have turned to meadow methods to use mounding effects to shade out weeds and keep the soil hydrated. This really helps to ward off kudzu from rapidly growing in the fields.

Although not native perennials, our vegetables have done very well bunched close, close together with different types of friendly flowers to ward off pests. I view this close-knit gardening somewhat like the method that we use to keep our pastures beautiful throughout the seasons with rolling grasses swaying in the breezes and every pretty shade of tan and green you could imagine painted on every leaf. Posted: 12:31 pm on July 19th
heiditownshend writes: Sounds like a great book. Just reading this has inspired me to go out and plant out an ugly area of my lawn in these grasses! Got to go shopping for some neat stuff now! Posted: 12:16 pm on July 19th
EcoNomad writes: I have been waiting for a book like this. Posted: 12:16 pm on July 19th
Cynthia writes: I would love to have this book. I have already eliminated the lawn at my house. Now I'm working with the Flat Rock Brook Nature Center in Englewood NJ to restore the native meadow which has become overgrown with invasives.

It is a lot harder than it looks! Remember the "Meadow in a Can"?

We can use all the information we can get to accomplish this project. This book looks like it would be perfect. Posted: 12:03 pm on July 19th
Flowerday writes: This looks like a great reference book. I just started a small meadow area and would like to expand it this fall and this book would be a great help with that project. Gardening in southwest ND is a challenge and I'm thinking that a meadow would be a great idea for our area of the country. After surviving several years of drought, my garden has had a cold wet spring and I think a large meadow area is the way to deal with these problems. Thanks for reviewing this great book. Posted: 11:58 am on July 19th
jenwren writes: I would just love to have this book. I have an ongoing project in the front yard that I have been trying to accomplish and the wonderful review and pictures would be encouraging. I have always been a fan of grasses and kind of a praire landscape which is quite soothing to my stressed out lifestyle. And of course it would use less water here in california. Posted: 11:56 am on July 19th
NancyLA writes: Wow, looks fantastic! Can't wait to see it! Posted: 11:48 am on July 19th
bkru writes: The American Meadow Garden is on my must-have list. I look forward to enjoying John's book and planting an area of grasses of my own ~ wth his helpful knowledge. Posted: 11:17 am on July 19th
Plumterry writes: I have been thinking about doing this for some time. With over an acre to mow, it seems like a great idea. i would love to get ideas from this book! Posted: 10:53 am on July 19th
grammarwitch writes: Wicked, wicked temptation! I have an extra acre bordering my property that backs up to wild raspberries and cattails surrounding a neighbor's pond. I have been deliberating: orchard, or meadow? I honestly think I'm getting too old for the upkeep of an orchard (but is it possible to keep a few heirloom apple trees within the context of a meadow? Hmmm...I wonder if the book tells) but a meadow would be just the thing. And if it brings with it the colors and textures of these photos, what a glorious view that would be! A plus--my chickens would love it.

The review, by the way, was perfect. Look how many of us are already salivating. Posted: 10:51 am on July 19th
Westerner writes: This book is an excellent resource for learning about ornamental grasses in the landscape beyond creating a meadow garden. As Billy mentioned, it makes reference to how a grass might function in the landscape, as a groundcover, accent, natural lawn etc. If I am so lucky as to win a copy, I will gift it to someone. Posted: 10:48 am on July 19th
Ruppansy writes: This looks fab! We've been gradually eliminating our lawn in Jeffersonton VA to make way for beautiful foliage. I love a well manicured lawn but I can go to a golf course for that. Besides, while lawn mowing is a relaxing past-time, the emissions kill my conscience. Plants and flowers of all shapes and sizes are visually so much more stimulating. Oh, and when it is as hot as it has been, the cooling impact of the trees is remarkable, both for us humans and for the rest of the yard! I'd love to have this book. Posted: 10:30 am on July 19th
iowairis writes: Your review is great- it makes me want to start right now. As a garden club president I hear a lot of our membership talking about naturalizing there yard into a meadow or prairie. This book will be a marvelous reference to suggest to them. I would like to try it in a small secion of my yard. Posted: 10:27 am on July 19th
sharkness writes: The whole concept just makes tremendous sense! I'd love win a copy :) Posted: 10:19 am on July 19th
gretchenfla writes: I am not very familiar with this type of planting. Since Florida is more a tropical climate, I would like to read more and see if I could do this here. Would love to win this book. Posted: 10:19 am on July 19th
ASewingSister writes: We would love to plant a meadow garden where our lawn now stands! We have a lot of acreage and part of it is already natural...some parts with wildflowers sprinkled in. It is beautiful year-round and doesn't require mowing. When I think about how much time and resources are spent keeping up the 'estate lawn', I think 'what a waste'! Hopefully this book will help us create a beautiful meadow garden that we all (us, the birds and wildlife) can all enjoy and thrive in! Posted: 10:14 am on July 19th
LVNMPermie writes: I've had a thumb-through of this book, and I really like it.

The overarching principle is that the further we deviate from nature, the more external inputs are required to perpetuate our unsustainable system. Stating it in the affirmative, the closer our garden is to nature, the less we have to do to keep it going.

I am a permaculturist, and I don't do gardens just to look pretty. An added challenge in creating a meadow garden or an edible forest is to select plants which not only are good fits for the bioregion and which get on well together, but which also give us benefits in the form of food, medicine, dye, etc.If this concept attracts you, you can consider meadow plants like purple coneflower and yarrow, both of which are important in herbal medicine, and hyssop (agastache) which is an up-and-coming culinary herb. Posted: 10:09 am on July 19th
lavandula writes: My father is coming over to visit from the States in September..maybe I´ll get lucky and win this super book and have it then in Chile where we live now. I have been planting ornamental grasses since I discovered they were not only beautiful but very useful even as groundcovers because they spread like crazy..What John says it´s plant them here and they end up there, but it doesn´t bother me at all...the garden looks great. I want this book because I want to learn more about ornamental grasses, see the pictures, read what he has to say about them..maybe...I´ll get lucky... Posted: 10:00 am on July 19th
MaggieR writes: This book looks both inspiring and practical, always a great combination for any gardener. Having been thrilled to see the use of grasses in the gorgeous High Line in NYC I look forward to exploring this idea more in this new book. Posted: 9:58 am on July 19th
FanONatives writes: I am about to move from a home in Mass. where I replaced the front lawn with a woodland garden leaving my husband with 20 minutes of mowing out back. We are going to a house in mid-coast Maine where the house has a HUGE lawn (it must take the better part of a day to mow it). This book could save my marriage! In addition, we'll have well water and will be uphill from a stream, so I'll be delighted to make the conversion to protect the waters nearby.

The review was lively, enthusiastic and sufficiently detailed about the areas covered that I know it's not just a gorgeous coffee table book, but a real manual that will help me get started. I can't wait to read it! Posted: 9:55 am on July 19th
Paulie21 writes: I'm in the process of buying a home with more than an acre of existing lawn. As an avid gardener, I can't wait to obsolete my lawn mower by creating a meadow, as well as multiple gardens (perennial, rain, herb, cutting, vegetable,etc.). This book certainly seems to contain just the sort of guidance I'll need to get me through the years of design and implementation. Posted: 9:47 am on July 19th
Spriceditor writes: I've started converting my sunny yard into wildflower gardens--this book looks like a wonderful resource for ideas on adding grasses and sedges. I've been preaching "less lawn is better" for years now. Posted: 9:45 am on July 19th
snollygaster writes: Can't get enough info regarding grasses and this book appears to be a treasure trove of information. I like the environmentally responsible attitude as well. Many authors only pay lip service but John seems to be the real deal. Also, nice review, Billy! Posted: 9:40 am on July 19th
WillaMcNeill writes: Looks like a wonderful book. While I think I have too much shade for meadow plantings, I would enjoy them.

Thanks. Posted: 9:39 am on July 19th
Myricapensylvanicum writes: I would love to convert the small amount of lawn that I have left to a beautiful meadow garden! Would be great fun to use this valuable information in the Rocky Mountain high plains desert! Posted: 9:31 am on July 19th
Lizzieplants writes: We built our home fifteen years ago on an old meadow of about 2 acres. Over the years about a third of it became lawn with lots of perennial gardens. We keep the back meadow mowed because all the weed seeds drift into the perennial beds. I wonder if this book has any information on the peaceful coexistance of a meadow with perennial beds. Posted: 9:25 am on July 19th
marabro writes: Hi!!! I´m fron Cordoba, Argentina, and always reed this wanderfull page, and now for economice water, this is a beautifull way to economise this.
and reduce consume of oil por machines!!!!!
I loved this book, y need this book.
Hope had good look!!!!
marabro Posted: 9:12 am on July 19th
Roger_A writes: I believe that much of the lawns are a waste of energy and money. How do we spread the word beyond the choir. Posted: 9:05 am on July 19th
pineconelodge writes: This is the book I've been waiting for. Wen have a "meadow" above the septic field which is a widlflower meadow waiting to happen. Many thanks. Posted: 8:59 am on July 19th
WildFLPaul writes: Looks like a great book, it would be great to win a copy. I wish I had room for a meadow, maybe at my next place. Currently have a mostly native coastal dune yard - no lawn.
Posted: 9:17 am on July 18th
Treewriter writes: John Greenlee is a great advocate for grasses and meadow-style gardening. It is great that he and Saxton Holt have teamed up to create this wonderful book. If I don't win the free copy, I will be standing in line at the ASLA meeting in Washington DC in December, where I see that John is one of the featured speakers. Congratulations, John. And Billy Goodnick - excellent review! Posted: 2:39 pm on July 17th
greenthumb888 writes: I can't wait to pour over the pages of my new copy of The American Meadow Garden. Great photos, great information, fantastic read! Posted: 1:17 pm on July 17th
flowerchildfarms writes: I love the meadows surrounding my home, we gather arms full of flowers in the winter and spring... summer and fall the hills turn gold, the grasses blow in the wind and look like amber waves. I would love to extend the meadow look up to the house and will be sure to get this wonderful book, if I'm not the lucky winner. Thanks for another great inspiration. Posted: 11:45 pm on July 16th
BillyGoodnick writes: Billy G here, with an answer for Matadoredeplants: I find sheet mulching to be very effective. There's a lot of information on the web, but I quickly Googled the term and came up with a few informative videos.

Try this big, honkin' link: Posted: 10:38 pm on July 16th
HBright writes: I love Fine Gardening magazine and I hate traditional turfgrass lawns. I've already replaced 99% of my lawn with shrubs, perennials, annuals and paths. Ornamental grasses are next on my "must have" list. They're easy and beautiful in so many ways...the gift that keeps on giving all year round. Posted: 7:15 pm on July 16th
Matadoradeplantas writes: I have about 1/3 acre of lawn and am trying to slowly get rid of it. The 1.5 acre property has five homes so there are many discrete areas that can be 'attacked' one at a time. I also live in the High Desert (Zone 8 near Bishop, CA) and want any tips about proceeding. Moving toward sustainability is important as the burden of manicured beds and lawn is overwhelming and expensive. What is the easiest way to remove areas of lawn that are about 200-400 sq. feet? Posted: 5:42 pm on July 15th
weedie writes: Replacing what a generous person might have termed a 'lawn' is a work in progress, I'm sure to the ire of my neighbors. At this point my front yard looks more like a miscellany of native plants than a meadow. Challenges: climate in NCentral TX, drought, serious budgetary constraints. Surely John's book will help. Posted: 2:17 pm on July 15th
shannonstoney writes: I have a meadow garden in TN, but our small lawn in Houston is better used as a play place for dogs and humans.

My wild garden in TN goes untended for months and still looks great. Posted: 9:14 am on July 14th
BVogt writes: My wife won't let me tear up the front lawn, chuck in some stones, then lots of prairie stuff. We live in Nebraska! Not like I'll put some bison out there, too, although.... Posted: 3:41 pm on July 13th
JMTaylor writes: Meadows are wonderful, and home to so much wildlife. Our quail population is an important part of our I.P.M. strategy. The meadow at SBBG is the first place I send people who want to learn about native plants. Posted: 12:31 pm on July 13th
andypulte writes: Being from NE, this style is very inspiring. Can't wait to take a look! Posted: 12:25 pm on July 13th
mjrenda writes: Meadows are relaxing to the eye as Saxon Holt's photographs show. It is a beautiful book and a great idea. I've got friends in Sweden who have a meadow in their backyard and it a peaceful and beautiful thing. Thank you for the compelling review and photograph 'appetizer'.
Posted: 7:45 am on July 13th
denniswestler writes: Great review. This book looks fabulous, and one can never have enough books about using grasses in the landscape. Mr. Greenlee has been one of the most enthusiastic proponents of grasses as landscape plants. I really hope lightening strikes twice for me (as I already won a book once by commenting on one of your reviews)! Posted: 11:10 pm on July 12th
genosgarden writes: How fortuitous! Just the other morning I woke up thinking, "I'm going to create a meadow in my back yard." Yup. Thanks for the opportunity and the great review, Billy
Jeannie Posted: 10:55 pm on July 12th
greenerdesigns writes: Your review makes this book sound like not only an indispensable tool for my arsenal, but something to covet. The photos look extraordinary and anything about grasses by John Greenlee is a must have! Maybe I can even convince my husband to take out the rest of our front lawn after he sees some of the works in here. Posted: 10:01 pm on July 12th
GoodtoGrow writes: Oooh, I love anything by Timber Press. I'll slip you a fiver if you just go ahead and declare me the winner. Posted: 7:50 pm on July 12th
ArtzenFlowers writes: Dear Billy and Saxon and John, I love this book. I want this book! The photos make me drool!
But really John had me at "hello!" with his reminiscence about the grass bombs of his childhood! HA!
"Gotcha!" Was the wild cry from behind the tall green waves.

That was just so dear to my heart; remembering my own Southern California summers; running through fields and up hills hiding in the tall grasses that filled those 'vacant lots' that disappeared all too soon in the urban sprawl!

I believe that is where my romance with wild flowers began, the crisp stems and seed heads I often gathered to create everlasting bouquets. Ahh, the smell of a warm summer breeze and the sting in the eye from the smog...well, most of those memories are good... Thank you all! Posted: 6:56 pm on July 12th
nicolestrasburg writes: The book looks amazing. Thanks for the review. Now if only I had an extra acre on my property! Definitely would love this book for my library. Posted: 11:54 am on July 12th
clarnold writes: I have just begun learning all that I can about native perennial plants. I would so love to add this book to my list of required reading. Native plants are a win win for any landscape. This book would go a long way towards helping me reach my goal. Thank you for the opportunity. Posted: 8:35 am on July 12th
GinnyStibolt writes: I'd love this books and will pass the word that meadows are great alternatives to lawns. Posted: 8:27 am on July 12th
jdigi writes: Wouldn't it be just wonderful to have a copy of this book. This is the future. Inspirational! I hope I win. Posted: 6:12 am on July 12th
umbellifer writes: I must have this book! I am ready to plant a meadow, where there is now but a faded old lawn, but need guidance is I am to succeed! Would you like a 'before' picture to convince you how badly I need to win this book? Posted: 1:53 am on July 12th
usmcmom2mike writes: Looks like a great book! Do you think I could have "newbies" luck and win?!? Thanks for the opportunity. Posted: 12:18 am on July 12th
Bracey writes: I have been coveting this book for a while now and sure would love to win a copy. John is truly passionate about this topic and has a lot of fun with it too. I've enjoyed his lectures and demo gardens at the SF Flower and Garden Show too. Go John! Oh, and thanks to Billy (no hat!) for the excellent review. Posted: 10:10 pm on July 11th
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