On today’s show, I welcome award-winning designer Jan Johnsen to the show to discuss her book - The Spirit of Stone - in which she presents a beautifully photographed, inspiring guide to 101 Practical & Creative Stonescaping Ideas for Your Garden: from practical steps, paths, and garden walls, to naturalistic dry streams, inspired rock gardens, and Jan’s personal favorite - reflexology paths.
Jan has 30+ years of experience in landscaping and this comes in quite handy because she’s worked with quite a bit of stone during countless installations over the years. Designer, author and teacher, Jan Johnsen, is particularly interested in the relationship between outdoor space and its effect upon our peace of mind. The Spirit of Stone examines stone from both the aesthetic and functional perspective.
Jan’s e early experience with stone began during her college years, working for a landscape firm in Kyoto, Japan. In fact, Jan's carried that experience with her through life - showing a loving appreciation and sensitivity to Japanese influences in gardening. It’s something I especially admire about her.
Awarded a 2014 Association of Professional Landscape Designers award, Jan studied landscape architecture at the University of Hawaii and got her horticultural training from a Versailles-trained French gardener at Mohonk Mountain House in NY. Her design firm is Johnsen Landscapes & Pools. Jan taught at Columbia University and currently teaches at the NY Botanical Garden, where she won ‘Instructor of the Year’.
Jan loves to share her insights in the beneficial effects of gardens and gardening with others. Her new book, The Spirit of Stone celebrates this ancient material and its use in our landscapes.
It’s a beautiful book - Jan took all of the photos - and that gives you an idea of the number of installations she does with her Landscape business.
As Jan likes to say, "Natural stone, that most ancient of materials, adds an authentic touch to an outdoor space that nothing else can match. While plants may temporarily steal the show, a low stonewall, solitary standing stone or dry stream remains unwavering through the years."
Isamu Noguchi, the designer and artist, summed it up best, "Any gardener will tell you that it is the rocks that make a garden. They call them the 'bones' of the garden.”
The Spirit of Stone is an essential idea book for anyone looking to add dimension and resilience to their landscape - the tips and photos will inspire designers, homeowners, gardeners,and stonemasons alike.
Miriam Goldberger, the author of Taming Wildflowers, said this about The Spirit of Stone: "Celebrated garden author and landscape designer, Jan Johnsen has sifted her sophisticated natural stone expertise into a clearly written and companionable guide to stone gardening success."
And here’s this great compliment from Fran Sorin, the author of Digging Deeper:
"The Spirit of Stone is overflowing with both inspiration and instruction on how to use stone creatively in the landscape. Jan focuses in on the soulfulness, authenticity, beauty, and practicality of stonework in an outdoor setting. Filled with practical tips and outstanding photos, The Spirit of Stone is a delightful celebration of the versatility of this solid, durable rock." -
As a speaker for botanical garden show audiences, Jan loves to share her insights on the beneficial effects of informed garden design. Her unique approach — incorporating ancient practices with contemporary ideas — is entertaining, inspiring and informative. Jan presents her popular illustrated slide talks at major flower and garden shows across the U.S.
Jan is also the author of Heaven is a Garden - now in it’s third printing. She has a blog titled Serenity in the Garden.
Jan’s landscapes have been featured in This Old House, Landscape Architecture, NY Cottages & Gardens, Wallpaper, East Coast Home, Westchester Home, Westchester Journal News, Westchester Magazine, Woman’s Day, Redbook, and many more.
With that, it’s time rock and roll - with The Spirit of Stone’s Jan Johnsen.
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“Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”
― Robert Louis Stevenson.
What Listeners Are Saying...
I never write reviews but this is the best gardening podcast out there. Jennifer has interesting topics and guests and is not one bit annoying like some others are. I love that she involves her kids at the end of the podcast - usually with poetry or music. Really good podcast.
- Barbcfc, Mar 23, 2016
Still Growing is one of the reliably informative gardening podcasts from North America. The format consists of an intro (personal gardening status chat, seasonal remarks), an extended interview with a guest, and an outro with funny outtakes, side remarks, and some chatter (poems, readings) from the host's children. The podcast is focused on reliable knowledge - the guests are typically experts like academics, master gardeners, gardening entrepreneurs or public garden leaders. The intro and especially the outro give it a homey feel. Given I live in the high northern region, just a little below the Polar Circle, I'm always looking for more cold-weather oriented gardening information. Jennifer Ebeling is in Minnesota, so that's helpful to me! Vegetable gardening (my main interest) gets a good share, but is not predominant. Most topics transcend your specific gardening interest and are applicable to many styles: landscaping principles, vermicomposting, greenhouses. The episodes are typically an hour long, which is just fine for me.
- cwaigl, May 29, 2014
Best gardening podcast out there. Her preparedness leads to a good interaction with the guests and brings out the best in them. Very informative and yet personable.
- Corn bug, June 15, 2016
This is a great podcast. Really well produced and organized with good sound quality. I love the mix of information and personal touches. Jennifer has great guests and asks the best questions. You can tell she really does her homework. I listen to several gardening podcasts and this is my absolute favorite!
- So Cal Gardengirl, June 19,2016