English Gardens Book Reviews

English Gardens Book Reviews
The subject of English gardens knows no bounds. Their influence extended to North America and other regions of the world. Here are some excellent books that chronicle this story.

“The English Garden” was released by Phaidon Press. This must-have is suitable for history buffs and armchair travelers. Gardeners will find this book is a wonderful source of inspiration. It presents the tale of English gardens from the 16th century to the present.

Organized chronologically, this delightful book profiles 100 iconic gardens, representing a range of garden styles. For each garden, there are lush color photos and an in-depth history and description of the garden along with information on its creation and designer. The text places each garden within its historical context.

The featured designers include Capability Brown and Gertrude Jekyll. Among the featured gardens are long-time favorites and historical ones as well as those of influential figures, such as artists, poets, and architects like William Wordsworth.

This also has a directory of gardens that are open to the public. There is also a glossary of terms and garden styles.

Royal Botanic Gardens Kew has a unique position in English garden history. It is a thriving research and educational institution, museum, and botanical garden with over a million visitors each year. The influence of Kew is beyond compare. In honor of Kew’s 250th anniversary in 2009, Frances Lincoln has released a groundbreaking book. “The Gardens at Kew” is by Allen Paterson. From cover to cover, this is a pleasure to read. Covering the history of Kew in one volume isn't easy. However, the author exceeds all expectations.

It recounts Kew’s unique contribution to the world of botany and the role Kew’s directors have played over the years. Kew continues to thrive as it looks toward the future, which explains the pivotal role Kew is playing in the field of plant conservation, such as the Millennium Seed Bank. This is history at its best. While learning about the evolution of Kew, readers also follow the history of England and the British Empire as well. The author devotes a chapter to each era, explaining the key role Kew played during the age of scientific exploration. This engaging title has 300 lush color photos and historical illustrations, including garden designs. With the gardens covering some 300 acres, this book will help gardeners plan their visits.

No history of gardening is complete unless it explains the whys and hows of garden trends, developments, and styles. Without this information, readers can’t place the information within its historical context. That’s where “The English Garden-A Social History” by Charles Quest-Ritson from David Godine comes in handy. This enlightening history unravels the mysteries of English gardens by explaining how English gardening has evolved since pre-industrial times. This offers a refreshing view of garden history. The story is so compelling that it draws the reader into the narrative.

This title covers English gardening from the Elizabethan period to the present. It explores all the different factors that influence the development and use of gardens, including the social, economic, and political. This is organized chronologically with chapters for each period. The author shows how the gardens reflected the particular needs or desires of the owner. While some gardens were used to reflect one’s social status or serve as venues for social events, they became sources of food for others. Throughout the book, he shows how changing tastes with respect to food, diet, and customs influenced gardening.

Readers learn how gardeners obtained their seeds and plants, and why they created special garden areas for specific purposes, such as lawns for games. This also explains the rise of a new profession—estate gardeners who were now considered professionals rather than laborers.

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