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Gardens through time: Celebrate 200 years of gardening with the Royal Horticultural Society [Hardcover]

Diarmuid Gavin , Jane Owen
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

14 Oct 2004
Gardens Through Time tells the history of garden design through the story of the Royal Horticultural Society, from its foundation in 1804 to the present day. The history of British gardens has rarely been tranquil. Architects and horticulturalists invariably come to blows over garden design. This debate, as well as the influx of exquisite plant material from all over the world, keeps gardens vibrant and interesting. The society that started life 200 years ago with 7 well-connected men now serves and educates over 280,000 people. Gardening has bloomed into a GBP3.5 billion-a-year industry. Written by presenters, Jane Owen and Diarmuid Gavin, this is the story of the Society, plants, people, ideas and inventions behind the passion. It concludes with a look at the contemporary garden specially designed by Diarmuid for the TV series. Combines carefully researched historical material with commissioned photography.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: BBC Books; 1st edition (14 Oct 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0563487151
  • ISBN-13: 978-0563487159
  • Product Dimensions: 21.5 x 2.6 x 27.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 191,142 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent TV programme and excellent book!! 1 Dec 2004
By A Customer
This is an excellent book, written in a warm and simple style.
Enrichingly informative about people, gardening fashion and technical
developments; the social and historic background to the changes in
gardens over the last two centuries makes for a very interesting read; as well as having fascinating pictures there are tables of contemporary events, placed here and there in the text.
Jane Owen is obviously an historian who loves her subject. The
RHS must be delighted at this anniversary commission as am I - enthusiastic amateur gardener!!
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this book - it's fascinating 1 Feb 2005
I loved this book - incredibly interesting and informative but surprisingly easy to read. A beautifully written book which everyone should own - an excellent present.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Down To Earth 31 Jan 2005
By A Customer
As a relatively new convert to gardens and gardeninging, I was given Gardens Through Time by a very experienced horticulturist who said he'd found it informative and inspirational. I quite agree. It's beautifully presented and authoritively, but engagingly, well written. So I was surprised to read omnigadrum's review when I logged on to buy a copy for a friend. His/her comments smack of the snobbery and, dare I say it, spite, that my more learned friends tell me is rife in a small sector of the gardening fraternity. Don't be put off! Gardens Through Time is a wonderful book to own and to give.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I kept the book! 8 Feb 2005
By A Customer
I bought this book as a present for a friend, after seeing the tv series. Having started to read it, I decided to keep it for myself! Gardening books can often be very formal or go to the other extreme of describing makeovers in a simplistic way. This book hits the right spot. I found it very accessible, putting much of what we see around us into a social context. The photographs and illustrations really support the text with the blend of black and white and colour. Bring on the next one!
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5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Barely scratches the surface 31 Dec 2004
An interesting and engaging coffee table book which takes a sanguine look at the English fascination with the garden. Essentially covering the last two hundred years - though with the odd look further back, and a speculative nod towards the future - the most disappointing thing about this book is its illustrations. The photographs are competent enough, and the reproduction adequate ... but there is very little in the way of visual stimulation. Given that we are talking about gardens, about living, vibrant, full colour environments, the illustrations here just do not come alive. They do not inspire.
Nor does the narrative. It's interesting stuff. We look at the commercial growth of gardening as Victorian entrepreneurs strove to supply and nurture a new breed of back and front gardeners - the emergence of catalogues and seedsmiths, the inspiration of the plant finders, the need to dig for victory, the growth of literature and journalism, the recent impact of the television. It's more a social history and commercial history than an exploration of changing tastes or designs. Interesting, but a bit bland.
If I was wanting to find inspiration for the design or redesign of my own garden, I certainly wouldn't start here. It's a book you'd possibly read once and then never revisit. It's an introduction to the recent history of gardening, but there's no depth to it - it barely scratches the topsoil. Not a colourful perennial, I'm afraid, and not something you'd miss.
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