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It is an very ambitious project to list, picture and describe the best 1001 gardens but this chunky and glossy book makes a brave stab at it. The format is quite simple and effective, a page or half a page of text detailing the style, planting and history and in most cases a photo of each garden. I know that England has a lot of excellent gardens but I feel it is overly represented here (almost a quarter of the book) which must have something to do with the English publishers. For most of you reading this on amazon.co.UK, this is no bad thing though!

This is a great coffee table book to pick up and browse through, though it is let down by it's strange layout e.g. English gardens are grouped by county in what I think is north to south. Addresses (but no phone numbers or websites) are at the back and the index of garden names is at the front. Hint - don't look for Kew, look for Royal Botanical Gardens. I would have loved maps of each area with the gardens pinpointed but no such luck I'm afraid.

For the money, (I paid ten pounds) this is not a bad book at all. Disorganised yes, but colourful and inspirational too. The titles of these books (series includes movies, albums, buildings etc) represent a bit of a challenge, which must be part of the appeal and we can dream. Maybe I could attempt to read the 1001 books whilst drinking the 1001 wines though.

There are more serious and detailed garden books out there that the Monty Don's of this world would find more suitable but you could do a lot worse by starting with this one. Must run - I've got 987 more gardens to visit and I'm already 44 !
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Before evaluating this book, I must say I'm stunned by the amount of work that must have gone on to identify 1001 excellent gardens around the world and to describe and illustrate them. Thank you, Rae Spencer-Jones, and your 70 contributors for this incredible effort.

If you are like me, you'll be overwhelmed by the sheer number of gardens. As I looked in every area of the world I've ever visited, I saw or read about gardens that I wished I had known about on prior trips. As an example, the book describes a garden within 10 miles of my home that I've never visited because people have told me that it was nothing special. Since the book has both a fine description and an excellent photograph, I can see that I've been misinformed. I would undoubtedly love this garden and plan to visit it over the weekend.

If you love gardens, you would be foolish not to buy and treasure this book as a resource if you ever travel. Why? You can start with the list of gardens in the areas where you are going and do more research from there to see which ones will be most satisfying to you. I don't know of another alternative place to start for those who want to take garden tours on their own while traveling.

That said, any book that attempts to describe 1001 gardens is going to have a big drawback . . . not much detail about any one garden. In fact, although there are hundreds of images in the book, most gardens don't have any images.

That weakness is compounded by the book being produced in a small page size that resembles Petit Larousse.

Did they miss any good gardens? I don't know, but every garden I've ever visited and enjoyed was in the book. I was surprised, however, to see that the images for those gardens often understated the primary appeal of the gardens. But tastes do differ from person to person.

In examining the photographs, I got the sense that the architecture, natural backdrop, and sculptures had a big influence on what gardens were selected. If that's true (and I wouldn't know unless I visited a few hundred more gardens than I've been to), perhaps this is more a book about outdoor splendor than about plants. That's an impression anyway that the images present. If you are a huge flower lover, please realize that not all of these gardens feature flowers as their main appeal.

The gardens are grouped geographically, beginning in North America and moving east. Not surprisingly, the list is heavy with English and Scottish gardens. If you plan to go the United Kingdom, I suspect this book is even more of a treasure than if you plan to visit the United States. Nevertheless, I'm struck by how many countries are either not represented or barely represented. Clearly, people must garden almost everywhere. I'm not sure what the explanation is.

I was left, however, dissatisfied with the book. I suspect that it would have worked better with some greater attempt to give comparable descriptions of the gardens so that those who have a particular taste in gardens could have sorted out just those of most interest. I also wonder if a project like this one shouldn't be done in electronic form instead of physical form so that size of the overall volume isn't so cost constrained.

I plan to keep a copy, but I'll hope that another edition comes out that does more with the concept.

But in the meantime, I will thank God that this work is available to me. I humbly thank all the contributors for their hard work.
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on 26 March 2013
We bought this book from Amazon when we had seen this book in Paris (our baggage was overhead and we can't buy books more).
Perfect views, good printing. If you need ideas for you future garden to buy this book will be good decision!

Denis, Moscow, Russia (denis AT msmu.ru)
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on 6 January 2012
Having travelled to many countries seen many gardens these are superb. small or large each has a special sparkle.
I've only got 901 to go.
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on 7 October 2010
Love it! First thing I did was check those I'd visited - not many! Lovely book, can't wait to visit more gardens.
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on 28 June 2007
I bought this book because I

a) Like Gardens

b) Travel a lot.

with a view that It might be useful to check out areas I'm visiting.

It would be much more use for this if it was decently indexed.

The ordering is so ideosyncratic as to be effectively random. There is no single index by nearby places, (you have to constantly thumb beween the directory by country and contants page by garden name, no maps, and an almost complete absence of practical information.

So what is it for?

its only any use as an ornament if there is no way you are ever going to visit these places otherwise it is just frustrating
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on 25 November 2007
To cover 1001 Gardens in 960 pages is an almost impossible mission, yet Rae Spencer-Jones and his 70 contributors accomplished it.

Every garden listed in "1001 Gardens You Must See Before You Die" follows a standard listing format of designers, owners, garden style, size, climate, location and a brief description of the garden. Some of the gardens listed have half-page size colour photographs. This book is very useful for you to gain a rough idea of the gardens nearby when you visit a city, it'll let know know about the existence of a garden and help you decide whether to visit it or not. To this end, I think "1001 Gardens You Must See Before You Die" is successful.

All the gardens are arranged by geographical locations, including North America, Europe, Asia, Central and South America, Africa, New Zealand and Australia. I find the "Climate Classification System," "Useful Address," "Garden Directory" at the end of the book very helpful.

"1001 Gardens You Must See Before You Die" has 960 pages and colour interior photographs and is a useful quick reference for garden tour!

Gang Chen, Author of "LEED AP Exam Guide" & "Planting Design Illustrated." LEED AP, AIA
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on 29 September 2013
was not expecting such a big book and too heavy to take with us on our holidays. very informative though.
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on 9 January 2013
an excellent book - so many places to see - already had many friends casting their beady eyes over it
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on 31 August 2016
Good insight to gardens around the world.
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