A Tapestry Garden

The Art of Weaving Plants and Place

By Ernie O'Byrne Marietta O'Byrne

Photographs by Doreen Wynja

“This is a love story about a couple and their relationship with an acre-and-a-half of land. . . with exceptional plant descriptions that read like character references for old friends. . . . beautiful photographs and prose await.” —Library Journal

Marietta and Ernie O’Byrne’s garden—situated on one and a half acres in Eugene, Oregon—is filled with an incredible array of plants from around the world. By consciously leveraging the garden’s many microclimates, they have created a stunning patchwork of exuberant plants that is widely considered one of America’s most outstanding private gardens. In A Tapestry Garden, the O’Byrnes share their deep knowledge of plants and essential garden advice. Readers will discover the humble roots of the garden, explore the numerous habitats and the plants that make them shine, and find inspiration in photography that captures the garden’s astonishing beauty. There is something here for every type of gardener: a shade garden, perennial borders, a chaparral garden, a kitchen garden, and more. Profiles of the O’Byrne’s favorite plants—including hellebores, trilliums, arisaemas, and alpine plants—include comprehensive growing information and tips on pruning and care. A Tapestry Garden captures the spirit of a very special place.

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Meet the Authors
Ernie O'Byrne headshot

Ernie O'Byrne

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Marietta O'Byrne headshot

Marietta O'Byrne

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Doreen Wynja headshot

Doreen Wynja

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Review quotes
“The plants and the devotion to them define this garden. The tapestry in the title is a reference to the interwoven nature of the countless flora. But the tapestry is also, clearly, a place threaded by time and by the lives of its creators.” —The Washington Post

“This is a love story about a couple and their relationship with an acre-and-a-half of land. . . with exceptional plant descriptions that read like character references for old friends. . . . beautiful photographs and prose await.” —Library Journal

“Home-garden enthusiasts looking for ideas will enjoy reading about the motivations and philosophies behind the gradual creation of these spaces and will appreciate the lessons learned and the plant-care advice.” —Booklist

“The book is illustrated with full-page landscape photos as well as detail shots, and the photography pairs well with the authors’ ruminative prose, which describes the garden and the thinking that governed its evolution. . . . every green thumb can find inspiration in this stunning and imaginatively cultivated garden.” —Publishers Weekly starred review

“This is the fascinating story of a tireless and simpatico couple, a pair of gardeners who have spent more than 40 years assembling a mind-boggling collection of plants and installing them in unexpected, sometimes truly revolutionary, combinations. . . . Throughout the book we are offered useful tidbits and advice. . . [and] informative sections on specific plants such as Arisaemas; trilliums; bulbs, corms, tubers, and rhizomes; and hellebores. . . . remarkably cheery and philosophical.” —Gardenista 

“Full of unexpected plant combinations in various microclimates to bookmark for your own garden.” —Better Homes and Gardens 

“Beautiful photography. . . . full of plants from around the world.” —Garden Design

“This book is the story of two people following a life-long dream: to live in the natural world and earn a living from it, to create landscapes of impossible beauty. . . . there is something in this book for everyone, and it's one of the most inspiring garden stories you'll ever read.” —Garden Design Online 

“A beautiful partnership that created a spectacular garden.” —The American Gardener

“Obviously a labor of love, this garden and its heart-warming story provide humor, inspiration, and guidance to gardeners at all levels.” —Choice

“A very rare combination of collectors and landscape artists. They don’t just strive to create good design; they create a sequence of scenes. . . . To describe [their] garden as varied is an understatement.” —The Council on Botanical and Horticultural Libraries

“Many designers will find their planting combinations inspiring.” —Carolyn Mullet, garden designer

“These authors have a refined eye for a good plant and a good planting association, so the revelations along the journey through their borders are full of insight and inspiration . . . revealed with beautiful photography and carry-you-along writing. As the book walks us through their garden, ideas come flooding out and if, as I did, you use a sticky note to mark every interesting planting you’ll soon be unable to close the book.” —The Garden

“This is a book packed with interesting anecdotes and a zillion plant ideas. Plus, the photos are alluringly beautiful.” —The Cultivated Life

“A love letter and practical plant guide.” —The Oregonian

“If you come to A Tapestry Garden: The Art of Weaving Plants and Place looking for a quick how-to on landscape design, you won't find it. What you will find, however, is much more delightful—a down-to-earth garden memoir suffused with the wisdom of time.” —The Inlander

“Collector’s gardens are often incoherent and spotty, but not this one. It’s unified by a consistent vision, conceived with an artistic eye and executed with passion, energy and joy. Gardens are never static and they are, ultimately, ephemeral. A Tapestry Garden goes some way to immortalizing this sweet creation.” —Eugene Weekly

“An exquisite book. . . . While A Tapestry Garden provides a fascinating story of the lives of Marietta and Ernie, it also is a wealth of information for anyone seeking to create a particular type of garden, as it is loaded with tips, strategies and techniques.” —The Reading Eagle

“Funny, heart-warming, inspiring, learned. The O’Byrnes write with charm about the adventure they have had developing their extraordinary garden. A treasure of a book.” —Page Dickey, author of Outstanding American Gardens and Embroidered Ground

A Tapestry Garden is a visual feast of luscious combinations, extraordinary plants, and the dedication of two passionate gardeners.” —Richie Steffen, curator of Elisabeth C. Miller Botanical Garden

“Marietta and Ernie O’Byrne set the standard of good plantsmanship, skillful placement, and impeccable maintenance. If there were royalty in American horticulture, this couple would share the throne.” —Daniel J. Hinkley, author, plant collector, and lecturer
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Publication date
April 26, 2018