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How to Read an English Garden [Hardcover]

Andrew Eburne , Richard S. Taylor
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
RRP: 25.00
Price: 20.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

2 Nov 2006

Richard Taylor, author of the best-selling How to Read a Church, joins forces with garden historian Andrew Eburne to produce the ultimate guide to historic and modern gardens.

Gardens are amongst the fastest-growing visitor attractions today - in the UK alone 15 million people will visit a garden this year. How to Read an English Garden is the essential book for every garden lover. It provides an account of the different elements of gardens of all ages and explains their meaning and their history: here, you'll find the answer to such questions as: when were tulips introduced into our gardens, and what was 'tulip-mania'? What is a knot-garden, and what was the origin of its design? Who was 'Capability' Brown, and how did he get his name? Why are mazes such a common feature in English garden design? In addition, the book explains how lawns, flowerbeds, trees and ponds came to be a feature not just of grand houses but of gardens everywhere. Among the many subjects covered are: garden design, plant introductions and collectors, kitchen gardens, water gardens, and garden styles from around the world: English, American, Chinese and Moorish to name just a few.

Clearly laid out and beautifully illustrated, How to Read an English Garden brings historic and modern gardens to life: a book to accompany garden visitors everywhere, or to be enjoyed and dipped into at home.

Frequently Bought Together

How to Read an English Garden + How To Read A Country House
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Ebury Press; First Edition edition (2 Nov 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0091909007
  • ISBN-13: 978-0091909000
  • Product Dimensions: 19.4 x 24.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 307,201 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"There is a genuine need for an intelligent, easy-to-use and well laid-out book that will provide expert, unpatronising information for both existing enthusiasts and especially for the growing number of people who have recently discovered an interest in gardens." (Author comment)

"stunning photographs of gardens in all their glory are interspersed with copious and riveting information about their history, cultural and social significance...in irresistible short chapters, the authors regale us with intriguing horticultural facts" (Daily Mail)

"A well-illustrated, informative and entertaining guide....a superb dip-into introduction to the fascinating world of garden history" (Country Life)

Book Description

The third in the acclaimed How to Read... series, this is a beautifully illustrated guide to everything you see in a garden, what it means and how it came to be there.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
3.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Understanding Gardens and Landscape 25 July 2009
A fascinating and informative guide with beautiful photographs. Ideal for those who love historic gardens and want to understand more about what they are seeing. Possibly not one for experts (see other review) but definitely very enjoyable for someone who is new to this rich and enjoyable field. Wholeheartedly recommended.
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By bmge
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book provides an excellent insight into the study of the History of Gardening.
Many aspects of the subject are explored in detail for example topiary,grottoes,statuary and much.much more.
The book is thoroughly recommended for all those who want to pursue an interest in garden history.
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5 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I don't think so 5 April 2009
".....a critical eye, in the best and most positive sense of an informed and discerning appreciation, can only be of benefit to the garden experience."

I had hoped this would be the book that would begin the move towards fostering such a critical eye in the garden visiting public. But the paragraph that this comes from in `How to Read an English Garden' is an after thought. This book is an `I-spy in the Garden' for grown ups, but sadly with no prizes or badges for ticking lots of boxes. It's yet another take on garden history and if anyone has not yet got their tulipomania and Ferme Ornées under their belts, here is a handy reference book. Entertain your kids on a long plod over acres of grass with the difference between a `meadow' and a `mead'.

Perhaps the strangest thing is the title. Of the 3,500 gardens in the 2007 NGS Yellow Book I would guess that probably only about 25% are `historic'. The vast majority have been made in the last forty years, and understanding the difference between an `approach,' `a riding' and a `drive' is unlikely to illuminate your visit to 54, Beech Close.

The flyleaf of the book somewhat dishonestly acknowledges the popularity of garden visiting ('15 million people will visit a garden') and suggests this book is `the essential handbook for every garden lover'. However, it really won't tell you why you are looking despondently at yet another island bed or collection of `unusual' plants.

I also hate petty nationalism and strident complaints of neglect, but Welsh gardens of all eras seem remarkably similar to English ones and informed by similar traditions. However, the Scottish do have some interesting and neglected traditions of their own and I imagine the geographical restriction is designed to avoid confronting those rather than to exclude the Welsh. (but do risk crossing the bridge some day, anyway.)
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
5.0 out of 5 stars Great reading, great writing. 12 Dec 2012
By robert - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Years ago at King's College, Cambridge University, UK, I studied the art and meaning of the English Garden in lectures by E.M. Forster of PASSAGE TO INDIA fame. I have been searching for years for a book to match those great lectures. HOW TO READ AN ENGLISH GARDEN is the book. It is worth reading for everyone and anyone. It reveals the stories behind the English Garden through the centuries.
Ted Baehr, [...]
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