If you live in Somerset, England, this book will be an irreplaceable guide to improving your woodland . . . or creating one from scratch. Ms. Junker is from Somerset, and her perspective is heavily dependent on those growing conditions. If you live someplace that's much colder, you'll need to check on the plants that interest you to see if they survive the winters in your area. To help with that, Ms. Junker provides a list of places where you can see woodland plants in the United States and the United Kingdom, as well as nurseries that have display gardens to demonstrate woodland plant concepts. The gardens and nurseries may not be right next door, but I'm sure you'll enjoy the trip.
The book opens with Ms. Junker's concepts for a woodland garden, taking it from the perspective of not having a tree canopy through to already having one. She favors thinking of your woodland garden in three layers: the canopy of tall trees, intermediate plants (like rhododendrons), and flowering plants that will do well on the woodland floor (especially bulbs and ferns). She talks helpfully about how to deal with spaces of all sizes and degrees of being wooded.
I found the book very helpful since our property is heavily wooded with many intermediate layer flowering plants. But we haven't done much with the ground layer, so the book's ideas were intriguing to me. In addition, she drew my attention to ornamental tall and intermediate trees and plants that could provide some interesting variety in our woodland.
To me, the photographs helped the most. I could identify flowering plants by name that I've seen do well in our area. Combined with her information, I have the basis for many interesting experiments.
The book's main drawback is that plant directory (the bulk of the book) is not as fully illustrated as I would have liked. I suspect that the solution is to look up the formal botanical names on the Internet to find photographs that illustrate what's being described.
Ms. Junker has obviously forgotten more about woodland gardens than I'll ever know. It's great to be able to draw on her experience and ideas.
Nice work, Ms. Junker!