Introduction Anthropologists have linked humanity's biological ancestry to the woodland, and psychologists blame many modern urban ills on our alienation from this heritage. Perhaps in reaction, gardeners are turning increasingly to a natural style of landscape. They find deep satisfaction in the subtle play of dappled light on the varied textures of woodland plants or in the soft feel of moss underfoot. The woodland garden style suits those gardeners whose bent is gentle trial and error, calm observation and a love of natural systems -- those same qualities the frenetic conventional gardener would call laziness! However, in the early stages of site preparation, some hard work is always necessary Undesirable plants must be grubbed out, weeds removed and trees pruned or thinned in a skillful way to enhance their naturalism -- not neatly trimmed as in more formal gardens. A woodland garden style is not easy to define, because woodlands, on which the idea is based, are found from the tropics to the far north, from sea level to timberline, and these woodlands vary vastly. For the purpose of this book, the woodland garden can be defined as a relatively sheltered place where there is an upper canopy of large or small trees, beneath which there is a second layer of shrubs, the understory, and a third level of herbaceous plants and other low-growing species, the woodland floor. Because of the tree canopy, the lower levels receive a controlled amount of sunshine. This means the woodland garden is the ideal habitat for plants that need various degrees of protection given by shade. It also means that solar energy and the three-dimensional garden space are used to the fullest potential that nature can provide. A woodland garden does not necessarily need large trees as the upper canopy. Quite small trees up to 25 feet (7.6 m) in height can provide the necessary shade in small urban or suburban gardens. The trees can be deciduous or evergreen, broadleaved or coniferous or any desired mixture of these, depending on the amount of shade required. The woodland garden is inspired by a poetic vision of infinite balance and perfect harmony among all the forest components. The foliage canopy contains and defines the landscape, focussing attention on the immediate environment -- fallen mossy trees, lichen-covered rocks and the living matrix of the forest floor itself take on a special significance. The woodland is all the more charming because it is a composition of form and texture without much reliance on color except for tonal variations of green. These impressions are the raw material in the process of making woodland gardens. The emotions stimulated by the woodland garden may be unwelcome to those whose perception of a garden is limited to structural orderliness. The wildness may intimidate those who feel that the outdoors is something to be tamed and ordered. But for those who appreciate and respond to the special ambience of the woodland garden, we hope that our knowledge of and experience in creating and maintaining woodland gardens will inspire and guide you. Some woodland gardens are made with existing woodland, some are made on raw land and some on land reclaimed from conventional gardens. Owners of land partially or completely wooded will find information on thinning out unwanted vegetation while preserving what is valuable. Raw sites, small or large, are a special challenge, but help can be found in choosing the best trees to start the canopy. Adapting an older conventional garden to a woodland theme comes between these two extremes. This book will be useful to property owners gardening under many differing site conditions. The richest North American woodland gardens are to be found in the temperate climate zones. This includes the forested coastal areas of the Pacific Northwest and the Carolinean zone of eastern North AForster, R. Roy is the author of 'Woodland Garden Planting in Harmony With Nature', published 2004 under ISBN 9781552977446 and ISBN 1552977447.