Are you between 5 and 25? If so, enter the Wicked Young Writer Awards NOW - click here for details...

twitter
Search our site
A Country Escape by Katie Fforde Read the opening extract of the brand new Katie Fforde book before its publication on 22/02/2018

Flora's Empire British Gardens in India by Eugenia W. Herbert
  

Flora's Empire British Gardens in India

Part of the Penn Studies in Landscape Architecture Series

Synopsis

Flora's Empire British Gardens in India by Eugenia W. Herbert

Like their penchant for clubs, cricket, and hunting, the planting of English gardens by the British in India reflected an understandable need on the part of expatriates to replicate home as much as possible in an alien environment. In Flora's Empire, Eugenia W. Herbert argues that more than simple nostalgia or homesickness lay at the root of this garden imperialism, however. Drawing on a wealth of period illustrations and personal accounts, many of them little known, she traces the significance of gardens in the long history of British relations with the subcontinent. To British eyes, she demonstrates, India was an untamed land that needed the visible stamp of civilization that gardens in their many guises could convey. Colonial gardens changed over time, from the garden houses of eighteenth-century nabobs modeled on English country estates to the herbaceous borders, gravel walks, and well-trimmed lawns of Victorian civil servants. As the British extended their rule, they found that hill stations like Simla offered an ideal retreat from the unbearable heat of the plains and a place to coax English flowers into bloom. Furthermore, India was part of the global network of botanical exploration and collecting that gathered up the world's plants for transport to great imperial centers such as Kew. And it is through colonial gardens that one may track the evolution of imperial ideas of governance. Every Government House and Residency was carefully landscaped to reflect current ideals of an ordered society. At Independence in 1947 the British left behind a lasting legacy in their gardens, one still reflected in the design of parks and information technology campuses and in the horticultural practices of home gardeners who continue to send away to England for seeds.

Reviews

I found myself entertained on every page. Herbert's achievement is that under the guise of a study of Britannia's role as gardener she has written a thoroughly scholarly-indeed, groundbreaking, in every sense of the word-history of the British entanglement in India. She has flung her net far and wide, and drawn in a wealth of unfamiliar sources, both exotic and homely, to build up a rich tapestry of the Indian landscape. . . . full of insights and wonderfully readable, Flora's Empire is as much a treat for the general reader as it is for those who relish 'the glory of the garden.' -Charles Allen, editor of Plain Tales from the Raj An excellent history of British gardens in India. . . . [Herbert] writes with gentle wit, elegance and love of her subject which are rare in books on garden history. -Financial Times


About the Author

Eugenia W. Herbert is Professor Emeritus of History at Mount Holyoke College and the author of several books, including Twilight on the Zambezi: Late Colonialism in Central Africa.

More books by this author
Author 'Like for Like' recommendations

Loading other formats...

Book Info

Publication date

24th August 2011

Author

Eugenia W. Herbert

More books by Eugenia W. Herbert
Author 'Like for Like'
    recommendations

Publisher

University of Pennsylvania Press

Format

Hardback
440 pages

Categories

Landscape art & architecture

ISBN

9780812243260

I love Lovereading because I get to read great books and then get to tell everybody how good they are.

Sally Doel

The books for review are always great reads, brilliantly written, and introduces me to a huge variety of, established and new, authors.

Lesley Hart

Lovereading is not only an amazing site, but it's one of my very favourites. It's like visiting a fascinating bookstore, but better.

Rebecca Jayne Barrett

Lovereading recommends, honestly reviews and promotes books-what more can I say?!

Rachel Bridgeman

Lovereading takes the guesswork out of finding your next read with "if you like you'll love" and extracts to help with your decision.

Sarah Bruch

Lovereading is a world of books. It has everything you need from new to old and much loved classic books. It even give you recommendations!

Kate Thurston

Hooked on books? Give Lovereading a go - for the chance to discover brilliant books, and to see why our members love it so.

Claire Hill

I love Lovereading for the wonderful like for like author recommendations and for highlighting new books, it's a great resource for readers!

Lindsay

Lovereading4kids

Lovereading4schools