Refresh Your Garden Design book release party and giveaway!

I’m delighted to be part of my friend Rebecca Sweet’s virtual book-release party for her new baby, Refresh Your Garden Design with Color, Texture & Form. Six other garden bloggers and I are hosting 7 great giveaways this week, all related to Rebecca’s theme of refreshing your garden.

I want to tell you two things up-front: 1. I haven’t read Rebecca’s book yet, although I’ve paged through an online version that her publisher was able to make available pre-release. 2. I’m putting my money where my mouth is and have ordered my own copy from Amazon. Why? Because Rebecca is a talented designer and garden stylist, and she has a gift for explaining how to achieve certain design effects, both through her clear and gently humorous writing style and through her inspiring photographs. I always look forward to Rebecca’s design-related posts at her blog, Gossip in the Garden, and her co-authored book Garden Up! is an excellent read as well.

Refresh Your Garden Design, Rebecca’s first solo book, is for you if your garden doesn’t look quite the way you envisioned, or if your garden has somehow lost its sparkle over time, whether due to age, lack of attention, or any of the many reasons why our gardens no longer please us. She offers strategies for seeing your garden with fresh eyes, figuring out what’s not working and why, and then taking simple steps to freshen it up, perhaps by grouping plants differently, adding a new plant for contrast or harmony, making a focal point to direct the eye, and so on.

She breaks down design elements into three parts and devotes a section of the book to each: Color — for example, mixing warm and cool colors, as in this photo…

…Form — perhaps going bold with a tapestry of strong shapes…

…and Texture — perfectly illustrated here by a soft-textured mass of grasses.

From my quick glance through the book, I noticed that many of the photos appear to be of mild-climate West Coast gardens, the region in which Rebecca lives and works. I now know from personal experience just how hard it is to fill a book with pictures from all over our vast country when you’re providing the majority of the photos yourself; after all, one tends to visit and photograph gardens close to home. That need not discourage readers from other regions, however. The key to reading any general-interest gardening book is to use the pictures as inspiration, choosing plants appropriate to your own region that can provide similar effects. And as it happens, that’s what Rebecca’s book is all about: teaching design ideas that you can use in your own garden, wherever you live.

On top of that, her photos are gorgeous, and for me half the pleasure of a gardening book is being inspired by the images.


And now, on to the giveaway! All seven of the prizes for Rebecca’s book party are designed to help you refresh your own garden. I’m pleased to offer a $50 gift certificate to Annie’s Annuals & Perennials. Annie’s specializes in rare and unusual plants as well as cottage garden heirlooms and wildflowers — and they’ll ship plants to you, so no worries if you don’t live nearby. Regular readers may remember that I visited Annie’s while I was in San Francisco last June; click for pictures of this fun plant-lover’s nursery. (I also visited Rebecca’s personal garden on that trip. One word: beautiful!) And be sure to leave a comment on this post to be entered for your chance to win!

This giveaway runs through Sunday, November 10, at 11:59 pm, and I’ll announce the winner here on Monday the 11th. Please note that because of shipping costs, this giveaway is restricted to residents of the continental U.S. Check back next Monday to see if you won.

Update 11/11/13: Congratulations to Deborah, who commented on 11/3 — you’re the winner! I’ll send you an email confirmation, Deborah.

Don’t forget to visit the other 6 participating bloggers and enter their giveaways too. Just follow the links below, and leave a comment on each blog’s giveaway post to enter:

All photos courtesy of Rebecca Sweet

All material © 2006-2013 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

posted in Books, Design, Giveaways

101 Responses

  1. Carol Yemola says:

    With the end of one growing season upon us, I am already looking forward to the next. I am starting to play what I will start indoors in February to be planted outside in May. So exciting!

  2. Kris P says:

    I already have Rebecca’s book and have found it useful in re-imagining my own garden. The virtual book party is a fun idea. Thanks for playing co-host, Pam!

  3. Sharrieboberry says:

    Rebecca’s book looks lovely. Just the pictures you shared made me think of triangle patterns in my own garden. Yes! There are a couple.

  4. Alison says:

    What a great giveaway, Pam! I’d love to win it. Annie’s is the best, and Rebecca is such a darling woman, and an excellent speaker. I heard her for the first time just this year at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show. I started following her blog when we moved out here to the west coast, and I enjoy it a lot. Her new book is on my wish list at Amazon. Maybe I’ll get it for myself for Christmas.

  5. Anita Snyder says:

    Awesome! I just moved into my own Texas home and hope to do some garden planning this ‘winter’!

  6. Jenn says:

    Rebecca’s book looks gorgeous.

    And Annie’s Annuals? Yes, please!

  7. cheryl says:

    Oh I just LOVE Annie’s!I also love Rebecca Sweet’s ideas.

  8. Amy Beam says:

    I like the idea of mixing warm and cool colors in a garden palate. I have been trying to use design principles when planning my front yard but it is kind of hard for me to incision. There is so much to consider since a garden is a loving thing.

  9. Candy Suter says:

    How fun Pam! And sure would love the gift card from Annie’s. I have purchased from them before and they are fabulous! Can’t wait to get my book!

  10. Lori says:

    I love those pictures. I’ll be sure to check out Rebecca’s book. I find that I tend to do a lot of these design things intuitively, and having someone break it down so I can be more deliberate in my designing process and also in being able to articulate why I’m choosing the plants I’m choosing.

  11. Deborah says:

    Can’t wait to see the book — sounds great! Thanks for a chance to win the certificate giveaway, too!

  12. Barbara says:

    That book is just what I need now! and sure a gift card from Annie’s would be awesome.

  13. Laurel says:

    I’m in! I love good garden design books and look forward to this one. Pam, I enjoyed your talk today at It’s About Thyme and am in the process of shrinking the lawn at my new home in South Austin… fun!

    Laurel, thanks so much for coming to hear my talk, and have fun with the lawn shrinkage! —Pam

  14. Salma says:

    I think I’m finally getting the patience required to do this gardening thing… I just wish I had energy to actually DO all of it instead of just think about it… Thanks for all your inspiration

  15. Fiona says:

    I stumbled across your website recently– it’s absolutely inspiring! I live a couple of hours south of Annie’s Annuals. Her plants are in some of our local nurseries, but I’d love to make a trek up to her nursery one of these days…

  16. Carolyn in Utah says:

    I have never been able to calmly, rationally plan a garden, partially because I don’t always understand exactly what authors mean when I read their design books. (not proud of this fact!) This looks like a wonderfully visual guide to help my hodgepodge! Thanks for having the giveaway :)

  17. I would love to read this book.

  18. robin Mayfield says:

    Count me in! That book looks great, I’ll check it out.

  19. Carla says:

    Great giveaway—Yes, please!

  20. Glenda Wagner says:

    Oh if I do not win this gorgeous book then Santa will have to get it for me!

  21. Rose says:

    This looks like just the book to help me figure out how to revamp my garden! Having seen photos of Rebecca’s garden in your posts on San Francisco, I’m sure she has lots of great advice. I’d love to win the book, but I’m going to put this on my wish list just to be safe!

  22. Carol says:

    Please enter me in the giveaway. Thanks!

  23. Ooh, that photo for “shape” is gorgeous! What’s the tall spiky plant behind the hosta? I’m guessing something that would not be happy in my zone 6 garden…

  24. Holly says:

    I am glad to find your blog!

  25. C Crow says:

    Rebecca’s blog is always filled with great ideas, so I am looking forward to reading this book.

  26. SCoale says:

    I need all the inspiration I can get, what a great giveaway! Thank you!

  27. Wanda Pylant says:

    Always love Rebecca Sweets’ garden pictures on her blog.

  28. Melody says:

    Wow, this book is just what I need to shape up my gardens! I’m putting it on my Christmas list right now. And I could use the plants from Annie’s for the designs I want to try :)

  29. Pam Dale says:

    I am glad you are friends with Rebecca Sweets and now she had told me about you. New ideas and plants from Annies are always good.

  30. Jeanette says:

    Would love this book for my sister. She just bought a new existing house and this has great design ideas and explanations for the non-professional.

  31. Iva says:

    The book looks amazing! I would love to have a book to guide me as I am trying to re-design my garden. And there are never enough plants in our household…

  32. Awesome giveaway! Thank you for co-hosting, you are the best! I am excited!

  33. Melissa says:

    Wow, these photographs are AMAZING! Would love this prize, and am enjoying the garden party! Thank you.

  34. Tonia says:

    This looks like a really cool book.

  35. Julie says:

    Thanks for the heads-up! This is the exact kind of help I need to spruce up my garden.

  36. Gaynell Pilcher says:

    My garden needs MAJOR refreshing! Thanks for the chance.

  37. Tamara says:

    Wow Pam, great giveaway. Always spreading the knowledge, which I appreciate. :)

  38. An Annie’s gift certificate would certainly be fun to spend. I can envision hours spent pouring over the website and picking out plants. As for Rebecca’s book I can’t wait to check it out!

  39. Monica Boutte says:

    I love new plants, new ideas and inspiration! Thank you!

  40. Catherine says:

    This is my first year to garden and not only am I amazed at EVERYTHING, but its very addictive and theraputic!! I used to say I could kill a silk plant until this past April when I went to this nursery, Deez Treez, and upon meeting Dee,my life hasn’t been the same since…which is a good thing!! I’m looking forward to reading all the blogs I can & absorbing as much info as possible. I just can’t seem to get enough :-)

  41. Ragna says:

    I’m constantly moving things around and am already inspired just by viewing your photos above. I’m off to the garden to plan what what to place differently! Thanks for all your interesting and beautiful postings.

  42. SuePip says:

    This book looks so inspiring. And I would love to win a gift certificate from Annies.

  43. Debbie S says:

    My book arrives today. I lam looking forward to revitalizing my garden with more color combinations and texture. I love Annie’s. Thanks for doing a gift certificate as your give-a-way.

  44. Jennie Brooks says:

    I sure wish I lived close to Annie’s but mail order would be the next best thing. Thanks!

  45. Ally says:

    Excellent book review and great giveaway! Count me in please.

  46. Kay says:

    Love Annie’s! I hope I win!

  47. Suzanne says:

    I have already received and read Rebecca’s book with all her fabulous ideas for putting new life back into a garden, many of which I intend to incorporate in my own landscape which Rebecca designed a few years ago. So exciting to see a garden through new eyes!!

  48. Andrea says:

    Hi! I absolutely love Annie’s A&P too! I visited two years ago and mailorder every year. Thanks for the chance to win! Your blog is beautiful. I look forward to reading more!

  49. Melody McMahon says:

    What a fun way to help a friend promote her new book and to share others’ blogs too! Thanks for letting us all know about something we can learn from.

  50. Liz says:

    The book looks beautiful! Fingers crossed….

  51. Melissa in Utah says:

    Another wonderful book recommendation! I can’t wait to read the book and refresh my garden. I peruse Annie’s Annuals website often, and am glad for a chance to win a gift certificate.

  52. Cheris says:

    Yay! My brand-new lawn-gone yard is in need of more perennials.

  53. ricki says:

    Your point about adapting ideas with plants appropriate to one’s own climate is well taken…and why I keep coming back to your blog. Your design sense and your way with words know no boundaries.

  54. Jan Walton says:

    Love Annies Annuals and Perennials!!!!

  55. Judy says:

    I’ve already purchased Rebecca’ new book and am half way through it. I’ve already book-marked a number of ideas to use.

    I would LOVE the certificate from Annies! Every year, I order those wonderful lime green nicotianas and a few other goodies. If I had that certicate, I could order a LOT more plants. :-)

  56. OMG!!! Two of my favorite things – Annie’s and Rebecca’s garden. If only either could be transplanted.

  57. Shirley says:

    What a great idea for a book! The photos I’ve seen of Rebecca’s garden look wonderful.

  58. Jezibels says:

    I really need to use more colorful objects in my veggie garden! A gift card for the spring would be oh such a lovely surprise!

  59. Laura says:

    Always looking for new books that help us California gardeners! Thanks for the heads up.

  60. Theresa N says:

    Beautiful pictures, it’s going to be a long winter. :)

  61. Melissa H says:

    I just bought Rebecca’s book. It is beautiful and looks like it is full of great information.

  62. Beautiful photos inspiring me to create a more beautiful design in my garden.

  63. Ann Myers says:

    I love your blog “Digging” and have learned so much. I would very much like to receive your give away to celebrate Rebecca’s book which I am ordering from Amazon as soon as I finish applying for the giveaway. I loved your pictures from SF and would love a gift certificate from Annie’s.
    Ann Myers

  64. Ruthie Burrus says:

    Your blog is the BEST!! Especially for an Austin girl :)
    Am learning so much and also plan to order Rebecca’s book right now. Thanks for educating and enlightening us on so many fab garden tips and ideas.

  65. Yelena Lando says:

    Please just count me in,thank you Yelena

  66. Apel Mjausson says:

    A gift certificate for Annie’s would be swell. I agree that the photos in the book are very inspirational. Rebecca is a whizz with the camera. She sees things other people don’t.

  67. Tracie Storie says:

    What a lovely book and a terrific prize package to add with it! I’d love to add this to my garden bookshelf with “Lawn Gone!”

  68. Heidi says:

    Gift certificates are always a good thing. I appreciate your blog-the plant info and inspirational gardens are motivation to keep at it here in south Texas!

  69. Mitchell says:

    Pick me! Pick me!

  70. Jenny says:

    I’d love to refresh my garden both with new plants and some new ideas on design. Please count me in on the giveaway.

  71. Jamaica says:

    Perfect timing on the give away- just discovered Annie’s annuals & your blog! Thank you!

  72. Jeremy says:

    Thanks for all your posts and garden inspiration.

  73. Cat Mackie says:

    No kidding about the stunning photos – very inspirational already!

  74. Heather Cong says:

    Slowly expanding my gardens to hopefully be lawn gone one day. Great book recommendation!

  75. Debbie Elmenhorst says:

    I write this staring at an explosive pineapple sage, a “Bat Face” and a “Indigo Spires” and I wonder if they are to close together! :)

  76. Michael T says:

    We’re poorer than the rest, but love plants! We could use the gift card!

  77. tami says:

    I LOVE annies. Their plants are amazing

  78. Brenda says:

    Love your website and the inspiration you provide. Rebecca’s book looks chock full of inspiration as well!

  79. Beverly says:

    Look forward to Rebecca’s articles in Horticulture. Her new book goes on the holiday wish list.

    And Annie’s – wild, crazy and wonderful.

  80. Sonia says:

    This book looks great and I just discovered Annie’s.

  81. Diane says:


  82. Emily says:

    I love that picture with the hosta, gorgeous!

  83. Eleanor says:

    Thanks for the opportunity. I’m always looking for good design books.

  84. Leslie says:

    I have been working my way through Rebecca’s book and it is just full of wonderful advice. And I love Annie’s, I have decided her planting mix is crack soil and my garden and I can’t get enough. Amazingly better than anything I’ve gotten anywhere else.

  85. Jennifer B says:

    Wonderful giveaway! Great way to promote Rebecca’s book.

  86. Judy says:

    I would love a gift certificate from Annie’s!

  87. Sally says:

    What a wonderful gift!

  88. Amy Orvin says:

    I’d love to buy some flowers for my garden! Thanks for the giveaway!

  89. Linda Benci says:

    I can always use more plants! Thanks for the giveaway.

  90. Linda P says:

    Would love to win the gift certificate to Annie’s Annuals & Perennials. How fun it would be to browse & select some new & unusual plants for my garden!

  91. Carla says:

    What an awesome giveaway!

  92. Mary Morrow says:

    Looking for ideas to add more texture and non-flowering color to my Texas garden to add more splash in the winter months, I am northwest of Dallas, and looking thru this gives me tons of ideas. So glad you are a Texas gardener, we share the same opportunities in the garden, thanks.

  93. Shelley C says:

    Hoping they have zone 3 hardy plants…I’m off to discover what they offer.

  94. Lin Monroe says:

    Wonderful! I hope I win – my yard is in need of a spruce up!

  95. Leah says:

    It would be great to win! Our garden needs a lot of work and plants from Annie’s will certainly “refresh” it!

  96. Laura L L says:

    What a fun adventure this giveaway is! and we’re learning as we go!

  97. Michelle D says:

    Hi Pam,
    It was enjoyable to read your review and I appreciate your climate adaptable design tip. I’m looking forward to reading Rebecca’s book and pass along my congratulations to her for another well done book.
    Hope you have an enjoyable holiday seasaon.

  98. Pam goodman says:

    It would be wonderful to share w ith other gardeners.

  99. Regina Fant says:

    Will order this book love the design ideas

  100. Kathy Panak says:

    Can you dig it? I dig it all man!

  101. Tom Mann says:

    Great giveaway! Have ordered from Annie’s before, and have always been successful with her seeds. Thanks for the chance! Looks like a great book to add to the collection, too!