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Parks, Plants, and People: Beautifying the Urban Landscape

Click here to order Lynden Miller's Book Park, Plants, and People, winner of the 2010 American Horticultural Society Book Award and featuring more than 250 color photographs!


book coverLynden Miller's award-winning, comprehensive book on urban park design, advocacy, and management was published by Norton in 2009 and is now in its second printing. Parks, Plants, and People is an inspirational and a practical  book about the benefits of enhancing cities with well-planted gardens, parks, and streets. In these pages, based on her 28 years of experience and artist’s eye, Miller describes the elements of successful public space and explains how to design, improve, and maintain year-round plantings, raise volunteers, advocate for increased public funding, and attract private dollars.

She calls on the general public, gardeners, urban designers, architects, landscape architects, and public officials—everyone who cares about the quality of life in urban areas—to create and support well-planted parks and gardens as essential urban oases that reduce crime and have positive effects on the economic welfare of cities and their citizens.

In addition, she provides a thorough directory of resources and lists of plants she has found hardy, reliable, and noteworthy for public garden use. Miller demonstrates the power of plants to soften and civilize public life and shows how beautiful public spaces, planted and maintained to high standards, have the power to transform the way people behave and feel about their cities. Her motto is: Make it gorgeous and they will come. Keep it that way and they will help.

Rave Reviews for Parks, Plants, and People

“Miller’s authoritative book should be required reading for any study of urban planning, but it’s equally relevant to the home gardener. It’s full of useful design and plantings, clearly and unpretentiously presented.”
— The New York Times

“[A]nyone who cares about urban parks—as a designer or user—will want to read this book.”
— Landscape Architecture

[A] must for any design professional involved with urban projects….extremely accessible for the professional and amateur alike….valuable, ground-breaking work.”
— Traditional Building

“In Parks, Plants, and People Miller provides details of techniques in adminstration, fundraising, volunteer recruitment and practical maintenance, besides design advice. Above all she emphasises the value to communities of the heal- ing power of nature, an important part of her design ethic....Her revitalized parks and gardens are monuments to the eternal power of beauty.”
— Penelope Hobhouse, Gardens Illustrated

Book Endorsements:

“A public space, beautiful by its design and loving maintenance, is a rich and nourishing gift to every citizen who sees or uses it. Lynden Miller’s life’s work, now so interestingly outlined in Parks, Plants, and People, will challenge and inspire neighborhoods, towns, and cities everywhere. Her wonderfully successful work in New York is transferable—the principles are universal. This book will make America more beautiful. Lynden Miller is a national treasure.”
—Joe Riley, mayor of Charleston, South Carolina

“Lynden Miller’s parks and gardens are monuments to her unique understanding of the power of beauty to transform city life, and to her gift for turning that vision into reality. This book is another monument to that gift.”
—Robert A. Caro

“It’s no exaggeration to call Lynden Miller the godmother of New York City’s public green spaces. This book is a ‘must-read’ because not only does it give practical advice about all the elements necessary to establish and maintain gardens, but it also clearly demonstrates the healing power of nature and the economic boon to the welfare of cities.”
—Bette Midler

Meet Lynden Miller at a Book Signing Event
Lynden is giving lectures and signing books in many cities across the US in 2013. See the schedule for 2013 lectures and book signings...

View the Plant Lists
Learn more about Lynden's plant selections for tough urban places. View the plant lists...

View the Resources List
Connect with park and garden groups in your area and find books and online information to help you improve your public spaces. Learn more...