Rock Gardening book

A reference book from Timber Press
Bill Zuback
Rock Gardening: Reimagining a Classic Style
By Joseph Tychonievich
Published by Timber Press
133 SW 2nd Ave. #450
Portland, OR 97204

7" x 9"
296 pages
Price: $34.95
When I requested a copy of this hardcover book, I wasn’t sure if the content would appeal to a garden railroader. To my pleasant surprise, I found plenty of relevant information contained in the book’s three sections: Gardens, Techniques, and Plants.

In the first 95 pages, the author shares his photographs and impressions of 10 rock gardens he visited. Rather than attempting to photograph every portion of each garden, he highlights specific scenes or plants he found interesting. Each garden profile includes one sidebar offering further insights about that garden’s owner (use of color in the garden, how to sell plants, finding a place to garden), sort of like an abbreviated how-to story. This section would be best used to inspire ideas for application in miniature.

The Techniques section references the basics (soil types, climate, plant division), plus design ideas, including rock walls, crevice gardens, screes, and moraines. While this isn’t a step-by-step construction book, there are how-to sidebars sprinkled throughout the section, including a nice spread on starting rock garden plants from seed and a page on making hypertufa containers. I was also pleased to see a few references to railroad gardening!

The rest of the book (about 100 pages) discusses 20 “types” of plants. Most are grouped by genus, but one is a family (cactus) and one isn’t specified (tulips). Despite the bit of confusion here, nearly every plant type includes references to plants of interest to the hobbyist. For instance, the hosta and iris sections spotlight many miniature varieties and cultivars perfect for railways. You won’t find comprehensive plant lists, but plenty of Latin names are included. You could easily use these to search for other miniature plants.

If you’re considering a rock garden, looking for inspirational landscape photos, or want new ideas for plants, this book deserves a closer look.


Read and share your comments on this article

Want to leave a comment?

Only registered members of are allowed to leave comments. Registration is FREE and only takes a couple minutes.

Login or Register now.


Get the Garden Railways newsletter delivered to your inbox twice a month

By signing up you may also receive occasional reader surveys and special offers from Garden Railways magazine. Please view our privacy policy