Beginning with the origins of gardens, this gloriously illustrated expedition through time and place begins in ancient Mesopotamia and explores the luscious gardens of the Sumerians, Assyrians, Babylonians and Persians. From here we move to Ancient Greece and Rome, to the beginnings of botany and Roman topiary. The coverage of the gardens of Islam is especially gratifying with the authors’ description of them as being “among the most sublime in the world - soothing, refreshing and deeply spiritual” borne out by the accompanying photography and images of ancient art, tiles, textiles and scripts. Later we enter the complex formalised gardens of 17th century France, celebrated as expressions of “French rationalism”, and then comes an unearthing of the founding of Kew Gardens, before we discover the history and charms of gardens of the Americas, China and Japan. Written by gardening history doyenne Penelope Hobhouse and celebrated writer Ambra Edwards, this is a dazzlingly informative labour of love.
This is a stunning beauty of a book, which would be perfect either as a present for yourself or someone else. It is contained within lovely packaging with the gorgeous book cover peeking out at you. Author Dr Chris Thorogood, the Deputy Director and Head of Science at Oxford Botanic garden and Harcourt Arboretum, has chosen over 50 topical plants, with detail of their origins and special features. The book tells us that: “Two of the most extraordinary Victorian glasshouses in the world are the Palm House and the Temperate House at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, from whose archives the images in this book have been selected”. What really sets this book apart is that the top part of the illustration can actually be pressed out of the page, so that each plant stands out and creates, when the book is opened, a stunning visual spectacle. The instructions are clear and concise, and I took great enjoyment in pressing out the pages to discover my own hothouse. This is truly delightful, and you really do have to see it to truly appreciate the beauty. Do take a look at our competition page, as until 31 August 2019, you can win a copy of The Tropical Hothouse and two tickets to Kew Gardens.
Coloured by Jenny Uglow's own love for plants, and brought to life in the many vivid illustrations, this book deals not only with flowery meads, grottoes and vistas, landscapes and ha-has, parks and allotments, but tells you, for example, how the Tudors made their curious knots; how housewives used herbs to stop freckles; how the suburbs dug for victory in World War II. With a brief guide to particular historic or evocative gardens open to the public, this is a book to put in your pocket when planning a summer day out - but also to read in your deckchair with a glass of cold wine, when dead-heading is simply too much.
The gardens at Highgrove evoke intense emotion. In January, the dramatic light and early snowdrops of the Stumpery are exquisite; the glistening emerald lawns and tree blossoms in Spring lift the spirits with a promise of what is to come; in Summer, the longed-for delphiniums in the Sundial Garden stand proudly to attention and dramatic leaf colours welcome Autumn to the Arboretum as the harvesting in the Kitchen Garden begins. In Winter the structural elements of the garden have their moment of glory as the year comes to a close and the cycle of the seasons continues. Lavishly illustrated with photographs that capture both the light and detail of this magisterial space, this beautiful book will delight and inspire gardeners of every level. It is an exquisite celebration of garden design, passion and inspiration.
This is not a book about French Gardens. It is the story of a man travelling round France visiting a few selected French gardens on the way. Owners, intrigues, affairs, marriages, feuds, thwarted ambitions and desires, the largely unnamed ordinary gardeners, wars, plots and natural disasters run through every garden older than a generation or two and fill every corner of the grander historical ones. Families marry. Gardeners are poached. Political allegiances forged and shattered. The human trail crosses from garden to garden. They sit in their surrounding landscape, not as isolated islands but attached umbilically to it, sharing the geology, the weather, food, climate, local folklore, accent and cultural identity. Wines must be drunk and food tasted. Recipes found and compared. The perfect tarte-tartin pursued. None of these things can be ignored or separated from the shape and size of parterre, fountain, herbaceous border or pottager. So this is a book filled with stories and information, some of it about French gardens and gardening, but most of it about what makes France unlike anywhere else. From historical gardens like Versailles,Vaux le Vicomte and Courances to the kitchen gardens of the Michelin chef Alain Passard. There are grand potagers like Villandry and La Prieure D'Orsan and allotments and back gardens spotted on the way. Monty celebrates the obvious French associations of food and wine and finds gardens dedicated to vegetables, herbs and fruit. It is a book that any visitor to France, whether gardeners or not, will want to read both as a guide and an inspiration. It is a portal to get under the French cultural skin and to understand the country, in all its huge variety and disparity, a little better.