The Gardener’s Garden
As gardening books go, ‘The Gardener’s Garden’, conceived and edited by Phaidon Press Editors, is a heavyweight. It has to be one of the largest gardening books I have ever read but then considering it is, as Dan Pearson describes: “The definitive guide to over 250 of the world’s most outstanding gardens”, one would expect nothing less.
Designed to inspire and educate green fingered enthusiasts and curated by an international panel of horticultural and gardening experts, it draws together for the first time a collection of the world’s gardens by leading designers, horticulturalists and landscape architects from the 14th century to the present day.
The gardens featured have been selected by a panel of six experts – Dan Pearson (UK) Madison Cox (USA), Toby Musgrave (UK/Denmark), Bill Noble (USA), Made Wijaya (Bali) and Ravindra Bhan (India) – who draw together a collection of gardens covering examples of the great influential designers of the past to the talents of the more contemporary designers of the present.
The gardens are arranged by geographical location, which I found useful, formulating a picture of the gardening history and style of a particular region or country. There are also some unexpected countries included like Finland, Poland and Barbados so the editors have really cast their net wide.
From sculptural gardens, such as Inhotim designed by Luiz Carlos Orsini in Brazil, through the modernist gardens of Thomas Church, such as the Pool Garden at El Novillero in California, to the famous Renaissance gardens at Villa d’Este and urban spaces like New York’s High Line, this book contains a cornucopia of beautiful and creative gardens to set the imagination on fire.
Importance of Gardens
In the Introduction, Madison Cox points out that in today’s world, in which the rapidly changing natural environment is at risk, the importance of gardens has inspiration for some and a practical guide for many, but he also makes the point that the book stands as a testament to centuries of human passion for the garden.
There is generally a page dedicated to each garden, containing text and pictures however, some of the more ‘iconic’ gardens such as Hidcote or Jardin des Colombiéres, for example, have more illustrations. Lavishly illustrated with over 1200 photographs, the book represents a vast array of garden types, from courtyard, rooftops and parks to Renaissance, Mediterranean and New Perennial.
Each garden is presented with concise key information on location, designer, date, type, style size and climate. Photography carefully illustrates both overviews and planting details, taken across different seasons.
If you are looking for a special Christmas present then ‘The Gardener’s Garden’ is one book you might like to consider. I enjoyed browsing the gardens of the world from my armchair and found the book a very useful reference work as well as acting as a guide for future garden expeditions!
A dazzling showcase of the variety, innovation and beauty behind the world’s most influential gardens, ‘The Gardener’s Garden’ is designed with an embossed clothbound cover, published by Phaidon Press and priced at £49.95. Books available in UK from 27th October 2014.
All images © Phaidon Press