Top positive review
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A brilliant exploration of horticultural delights in the twenty-first century
on 5 November 2013
Visiting landscaped gardens is a pasttime many people enjoy. The UK is blessed with many such places that we can explore and which show us the characteristics of garden design across the centuries. So often we covet medieval, Tudor, Georgian and Victorian gardens, to the point that many people today ape their designs in new gardens. It's a bit like architectural design: contemporary designers choose to copy Victorian and Edwardian buildings rather than create something bold and striking for today. And that's a pity. What legacy will the twentieth and twenty-first century leave?
This book (and it's a big, heavy one!) shows us what and celebrates contemporary design. It is packed with names of gardens that to many - even those well versed with gardens - are new. What quickly becomes clear is that there is plenty of imaginative and compelling design in new gardens and they can be just as good as their more established forebears. Credit must go to Andrew Lawson, the photographer too, whose images do much to convey the wonder and beauty in these sometimes secret places.
There's variety here too: from the small scale (the Living Wall Garden of the Athenaeum Hotel) through the rapidly evolving Olympic Park in London (I'm writing this in 2013 as it's undergoing it's transformation) to the exciting (in my eyes) Througham Court.
This is the archetypal 'coffee table' book, but to call it that would be to do it a disservice. I'd call it a landmark book, a book that both visually and descriptively defines gardening in the early twenty-first century. If that sound a bit pompous or earnest, then ignore those comments and just sit back and enjoy this as an enjoyable book. It's well produced and put together too, so I can recommend it unreservedly.