Wednesday, April 4, 2018

How to Read Gardens by Lorraine Harrison

book cover
How to Read Gardens
by Lorraine Harrison

ISBN-13: 9781782406037
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Ivy Press
Released: March 5, 2018

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
Garden visiting has never been so popular but how many of us really understand what we are looking at when strolling through a beautiful garden? Are we looking at an original landscaped site or a re-creation? Is the planting matter authentic or made up of modern hybrids? Are the steps and terracing in the Italianate style or are they Arts and Crafts?

The truth is that most gardens of any age are like a palimpsest: successive generations have changed and influenced the soft and hard fabric of the place over time. Inevitably many of the gardens we wander through today are an amalgam of changing fashions and circumstance. From the grandest estate to the smallest suburban plot, this book will enliven and inform every future garden visit.

My Review:
How to Read Gardens is a short guide to garden appreciation. The author started by discussing the various purposes for and types of gardens (pleasure, fruit, herbs, etc.). The section on styles (Dutch, English, etc.) talked about what was unique or different about each style and when that style was most popular. The tree section talked about the various ways they were used, pruned, and placed. The flowers section talked about the various ways they were placed (overall) and arranged (in the bed). The landscaping section talked about how terrain and water were used, added, or changed to create different looks (like wild or formal) or allow certain uses (like lawn games or mazes). The section on buildings talked about the different types of buildings added for practical purposes or for creating a certain look, and the same for the sections on architectural features and other features.

The text was brief and aimed at a person who is touring a garden to help them better understand what they are looking at and some reasons why a feature might have been used. Each section contained photos or illustrations showing what various features that you might find in a garden look like and the differences between them, like the difference between a pergola and an arbor. There were some mentions of when a certain feature was most popular or where it was popular (focusing on Europe and America). Overall, I'd recommend this book to people who enjoy touring gardens who want help identifying various garden features.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

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