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.
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.
".....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.)