I consider it a privilege to review the words of those that I admire. One person that I truly admire, as her words speak to my core is Jan Johnsen. In her latest book, The Spirit of Stone – 101 Practical & Creative Stonescaping Ideas for Your Garden (St. Lynn’s Press), I found myself quite emotional at her use of pictures, words, logic, and lists. This little book is chock full of digestible, informative as well as practical information for the homeowner, as well as the landscape designer or visionary of personal green space.

Photo of a lawn treads from The Spirit of Stone by Jan Johnsen

As with any book, I have my favorite chapters. Chapter Five – Garden Steps Steal the Show, was truly an inspirational favorite.  From boulders to slabs, from round steps to invite to grass treads, Jan discusses, in a user-friendly way how to install, how to consider safety and how garden steps can enhance any landscape.   I am a fan of grass treads and from the photo’s Jan chose as examples of this application, I know why.

Using quotes throughout the book allows one to reflect while reading to consider the knowledge shared on previous pages and to look forward to more. With Jan Johnsen at the pen, the more is always something to further touch your soul.  Like in the beginning of Chapter 4, I got a bit choked up after reading this wonderful quote by Thich  Nhat Hanh…

“Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet”

In this Chapter, Jan discusses The Many Faces of a Stone Walk. I can say that two of the photos in this chapter are quite familiar to me.  The walkway at the unites States Botanic Gardens, as well as the walkway at Chanticleer.  Jan emphasizes that walkways, as well as the contents of the garden, speak to us. They affect the feel of the garden, our pace through the garden and welcomes us into the garden. The types of stone affect’s our spirit as we move through or pause in the garden.  Who would have thought that stone accents, borders or pathways, could compliment and affect a garden, depending on how it is used?

Photo from The Spirit of Stone by Jan Johnsen

Jan Johnsen gifts the reader at the end of her book with an entire chapter on types of plants for specific applications when using stone. Plants that drape to caress, plants that can be used in cracks and crevices, plants that accent are included on this well-constructed list.  An additional gift is a listing of public places where one can see and experience, how stone can affect the spirit of a garden. As usual, Jan Johnsen did not disappoint but instead inspired this gardener to continue to experiment with stone on walkways, in the midst of the garden or as a temporary piece of art in the garden.

The Spirit of Stone by Jan Johnsen – Thank you St. Lynn’s Press for the opportunity to review another well written inspirational and informational book for gardeners of any level.

Click here to find out more about Jan Johnsen

Click here to find out more about St. Lynn’s Press


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