PERSONAL: Born in England.
ADDRESSES: Home—England. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Timber Press, 133 SW 2nd Avenue, Ste. 450, Portland, OR 97204.
CAREER: Former owner of a nursery near Bristol, England; University of Sheffield, Sheffield, England, Landscape Department, horticulturist. Landscape Solutions, Sugnall, Staffordshire, England, associate designer.
The Wild Flower Garden, Conran Octopus (London, England), 1994.
The Indoor Gardener: Creative Displays for Every Home, photographs by Jerry Harpur, Headline (London, England), 1994.
The Ultimate Planning Guide, Ward Lock (London, England), 1996.
Dramatic Effects with Architectural Plants, Overlook Press (Woodstock, NY), 1997.
Design and Plant a Mixed Border, Sterling Publishing Company (New York, NY), 1997.
Plants to Transform Your Garden, Sterling Publishing Company (New York, NY), 1998.
(With Piet Oudolf) Designing with Plants, Timber Press, (Portland, OR), 1999.
Conran Octopus Gardener's Factfile, Conran Octopus (London, England), 1999.
Gardener's Fact File, Soma Books (San Francisco, CA), 1999.
Twenty-five Best Planting Plans, Ward Lock (London, England), 1999.
Bold Plants: Using Architectural and Exotic Plants to Create Visual Impact in the Garden, Ryland Peters and Small (London, England), 2000.
Grasses and Bamboo, Watson-Guptill Publications (New York, NY), 2000.
Bold and Exotic Plants, Watson-Guptill Publications (New York, NY), 2000.
(With others) Planting a Garden: Choosing, Designing, Planting, Growing, Collins and Brown (London, England), 2001.
Natural Gardening in Small Spaces, Timber Press (Portland, OR), 2003.
Designing Borders, Sterling Publishing Company (New York, NY), 2003.
(With Nigel Dunnett) Planting Green Roofs and Living Walls, Timber Press (Portland, OR), 2004.
(Editor, with Tim Richardson) Vista: The Culture and Politics of Gardens, Frances Lincoln Publishers, Ltd. (London, England), 2005.
Contributor to periodicals, and columnist for English Garden.
SIDELIGHTS: Writer and horticulture journalist Noël Kingsbury is known for his need to challenge the traditional way of planning and planting a garden. An avid gardener since childhood, Kingsbury used to skip school in order to attend the Chelsea Flower Show. As an adult, he ran a nursery near Bristol for several years. He shares he ideas and expertise regarding plants and garden structure in his numerous books, and through his affiliation with the Landscaping Department at the University of Sheffield.
The new garden according to Kingsbury's design is one that is very natural and that takes into consideration the ecological balance of the area, and can be any size. In an interview for Timber Press, Kingsbury explains: "I love wild spaces and wildflowers growing in their natural environment, so it seems obvious to want to grow them in a garden in a way that reflects this, particularly the way that plants combine." He recommends gardeners plan out their gardens, particularly small ones, by taking hikes to see how flowers actually grow in the wild, making sure to note which plants grow together and how they are distributed. He also urges people to avoid impulse buying, as plants that are eye-catching at the nursery do not necessarily conform to the garden planned at home. Of the flowers available, Kingsbury focuses on perennials in particular when designing a small garden, as discussed in his book, The New Perennial Garden.
Kingsbury addresses medium gardens in Designing Borders, which offers a number of ways to structure borders for plots of this size. Daniel Starr, reviewing for Library Journal, commented that the "combination of inspiration and practical advice … helps this book transcend … the typical how-to manual." In a piece for Booklist, Carol Haggas referred to the book as "a distinctive resource of exquisite ideas that provides the inspirational spark."
Planting Green Roofs and Living Walls, for which Kingsbury collaborated with Nigel Dunnett, explores the trend of planting greenery that adheres to the ceiling or walls of a structure. The practice can result in increased energy efficiency and improved air quality, linking the interior to the environment. The volume provides instructions for how to build a green roof or wall, including helpful information on how to choose the proper plants and what to do with oddly shaped buildings that have slopes or flat roofs. Edward J. Valauskas, in a review for Library Journal, called the book "an outstanding work," adding that it "will certainly become the standard reference."
Noël Kingsbury told CA "I am also interested in the cultural aspects of gardens, and in relating them to the wider world, in applying the lessons of critical theory to gardens and in seeing them as an expression of social and political trends like any other art form. These issues are explored in a volume I edited with colleague Tim Richardson, Vista: The Culture and Politics of Gardens."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, April 1, 1997, George Cohen, review of The Ultimate Planting Guide, p. 1274; April 1, 1999, George Cohen, review of Plants to Transform Your Garden, p. 1375; May 1, 1999, Brad Hooper, review of Twenty-Five Best Planting Plans, p. 1570; October, 1999, Alice Joyce, review of Designing with Plants, p. 332; May 15, 2003, Alice Joyce, review of Natural Gardening in Small Spaces, p. 1626; September 1, 2003, Carol Haggas, review of Designing Borders, p. 37; May 15, 2004, Alice Joyce, review of Planting Green Roofs and Living Walls, p. 1587.
Bookseller, April 9, 2004, Brent Elliott, "Gardening Books: Dr. Brent Elliott, Librarian at the Royal Horticultural Society, Picks the Lushest New Gardening Titles," review of Planting Green Roofs and Living Walls, pp. 28-32.
Bookwatch, September, 2004, review of Planting Green Roofs and Living Walls, pp. 2-3.
E: The Environmental Magazine, September-October, 2004, Katherine Hartley, "Greenhouse to Green Skyscraper," pp. 61-62.
Gardening Life, June-July, 2003, review of Natural Gardening in Small Spaces, p. 16.
Horticulture, Gardening at its Best, January, 2000, Carol Bishop Miller, review of Plants to Transform Your Garden, p. 84.
Horticulture: The Magazine of American Gardening, December, 1996, Ann Lovejoy, review of The New Perennial Garden, pp. 56-57.
Library Journal, November 15, 1999, Daniel Starr, review of Designing with Plants, p. 89; September 1, 2003, Daniel Starr, review of Designing Borders, p. 195; May 15, 2004, Edward J. Valauskas, review of Planting Green Roofs and Living Walls, p. 107.
Planning, October, 2004, review of Planning Green Roofs and Living Walls, pp. 47-48.
Science News, July 5, 2003, review of Natural Gardening in Small Spaces, p. 15.
USA Today, May 30, 2003, Shawn Sell, "Small Gardens Take a Big Hint from Nature," review of Natural Gardening in Small Spaces, p. D6.
Landscape Solutions Web site, http://www.landsol.com/ (February 9, 2005), "Noël Kingsbury."
Limelight Management, http://www.edirectory.co.uk/limelightmanagement/ (February 9, 2005), "Noël Kingsbury."
Northwest Flower and Garden Show Web site, http://www.gardenshow.com/nw/ (February 9, 2005), "Noël Kingsbury."
Timber Press Web site, http://www.timberpress.com/ (February 9, 2005), "Noël Kingsbury."
UBC Botanical Gardens Web site, http://www.ubcbotanicalgarden.org/ (February 9, 2005), "Noël Kingsbury."