Planting in A Post Wild World with Thomas Ranier

This article first appeared on A Way To Garden WE GARDENERS want to do the right things: to attract pollinators, for instance, or grow more natives, and be environmentally conscious. We also want to create gardens that work for us, that are manageable—and resilient—even in tough situations and changing times. But goals like “sustainable landscaping” or “ecological landscape design” can sound a bit lofty and theoretical to those of us without a landscape-architecture degree.

Landscape architect Thomas Rainer is co-author with Claudia West of a new book called “Planting in a Post-Wild World” that inspires us to design plantings that function like naturally occurring plant communities. It also instructs how to manage them, not doing painstaking and often impractical garden maintenance, plant by plant, as in traditional horticulture. (Enter to win a copy of the book in the comments box below.)

Washington-based Thomas Rainer teaches planting design at George Washington University, and has designed landscapes for the U.S. Capitol grounds; the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial; and The New York Botanical Garden, as well as more than 100 private gardens. He is also a keen—and daring–home gardener.

I welcomed him back to my public-radio show and podcast; read along with the transcript, or stream it using the player below (or at this link). It’s the September 21, 2015 edition...