Gardens Illustrated Magazine - - Book Reviews -

An ex­cel­lent book on gar­den his­tory, tak­ing you on a fas­ci­nat­ing vis­ual jour­ney from the ninth to the 21st cen­tury. Re­viewer An­nie Guil­foyle is a gar­den de­signer and writer. Au­thor Linda Chisholm lec­tures at the New York Botan­i­cal Gar­den, her sub­ject be­ing the his­tory of land­scape de­sign. Her life­long in­ter­est in the hu­man re­la­tion­ship with the land­scape and how this has shaped our nat­u­ral sur­round­ings, led her to re­search and write this book. In her in­tro­duc­tion, Chisholm is quick to point out that, ‘I make no claim that my choices are the world’s one hun­dred great­est gar­dens. Great gar­dens they are, but I se­lected them to il­lus­trate im­por­tant mo­ments in the some­times evo­lu­tion­ary, some­times rev­o­lu­tion­ary his­tory of gar­den and land­scape de­sign.’

Through­out the book the au­thor il­lus­trates how land­scape de­sign was clearly linked to peo­ple and his­tor­i­cal events. It in­cludes gar­dens from all over the world, and over 15 chap­ters we travel from the ninth cen­tury to the 21st cen­tury. Chisholm claims to have vis­ited al­most ev­ery gar­den in­cluded for her re­search. By chap­ter eight, we are into the 18th cen­tury and from this point we see the devel­op­ment of the his­tory of Amer­i­can gar­dens and the sto­ries of the in­flu­en­tial peo­ple be­hind them.

Ev­ery gar­den is well rep­re­sented in pho­to­graphic form – most of the im­ages taken by land­scape and na­ture pho­tog­ra­pher Michael Gar­ber. This makes it very ac­ces­si­ble for those who might pre­fer to dip in and out of the book. The fi­nal chap­ter in­cludes a list of Chisholm’s sources and fur­ther read­ing; use­ful to those want­ing to study a par­tic­u­lar gar­den fur­ther.

The book would be par­tic­u­larly in­ter­est­ing for those study­ing the sub­ject of gar­den his­tory and I would say specif­i­cally for any­one who wants to learn more about the his­tory of Amer­i­can gar­dens.

Tim­ber Press, £38.99 ISBN 978-1604695298

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