For more great books from Timber Press, visit

Sharp Gardening

By Christopher Holliday

With a keen interest in spiky plants, Holliday argues that gardens don't have to look "nice" — packed with delicate roses and pretty clematis. There is much to be said for a crisp, clean-lined planting style featuring swords, straps, and spikes. This book presents a careful selection of plants that are spiky, sharp, or brittle, whether in their stems, leaves, or flowers, so that gardeners can choose new and exciting plants that work well in their landscape. From xeriscapes to maritime gardens and everywhere in between, all adventurous plantspeople will find fresh ideas for adding a little excitement to their garden.

Read more

Meet the Author
Christopher Holliday headshot

Christopher Holliday

More about the author
Review quotes
“With the green industry’s concern about attracting younger populations to gardening, this book offers a savvy, twenty-first-century solution.” —Pacific Horticulture

“As outlined in Christopher Holliday’s new book, gardening with sharp plants provides an alternative to more typical (and higher-maintenance) planting schemes. The results can be both ecologically friendly and contemporary in design, lending drama and year-round interest.” —Great Ideas for Outdoor Living

“Yikes! This book makes a point about prickles.” —Seattle Post-Intelligencer

“The book is replete with full-color photos of the plants mentioned and masses of plants in the sharp gardening style.” —Landscape Architecture

“Whether you’re a fan of pointy, spiky plants or want a garden that neighborhood kids won’t touch, here’s your guide. . . . Lends new meaning to the phrase.” —Harrisburg Patriot-News

“From xeriscapes to maritime gardens and everywhere in between, anyone looking for fresh ideas to add a little excitement to their garden will enjoy this book.” —Greenfeeder

“Who better to write a book about spiky plants than the holder of the U.K.’s national collection of phormiums, those pointy-leafed dazzlers from New Zealand? . . . Christopher Holliday persuasively presents the case for swords, straps and spikes—plants that add crisp lines and sculptural effect, particularly in contemporary gardens. . . . Point made!” —Gardening Life
Product Details
Number of pages
Publication date
March 09, 2005