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Review Essays of Academic, Professional & Technical Books in the Humanities & Sciences



Gardens of the Arts and Crafts Movement: Reality and Imagination by Judith B. Tankard (Harry N Abrams) The Arts and Crafts Movement, which began in the late 19th century in England and continued into the early 20th century there and in America, brought sweeping changes to the world of art and design. Celebrating simplicity, utility, handcraft, natural materials, and vernacular forms, its advocates produced a wide range of work, including architecture, furniture, ceramics, stained glass, wallpaper, jewelry, and books. Not surprisingly, the gifted architects of the movement also turned their minds to garden design.

This beautiful book features the gardens of Edwin Lutyens, C.F.A. Voysey, Gertrude Jekyll, Ellen Shipman, Charles and Henry Greene, and other Arts and Crafts designers, who created some of the loveliest manmade landscapes we have today. Author Judith B. Tankard, a noted garden historian, brings a fresh perspective and a wealth of original research to her subject. Illustrated with period watercolors and drawings, and with new photographs and garden plans made especially for this publication, the book promises to be an important resource for art and design historians, and a delight to all lovers of gardens. AUTHOR BIO: Judith B. Tankard is a noted authority on the history of gardens and a highly regarded teacher at the Landscape Institute, Harvard University. The founding editor of the Journal of the New England Garden History Society and the award-winning author of several books on garden architecture, Tankard lives in Waban, Massachusetts.

From Publishers Weekly: For people who take gardens seriously, Tankard, an award-winning author and a teacher at Harvard University’s Landscape Institute, offers a scholarly examination of how the Arts and Crafts movement influenced landscape design. She focuses primarily on the architects in Britain—such as William Morris, Charles Mackintosh and Ernest Barnsley—who provided the fundamental philosophy for these gardens. Their aim: to make gardens as integral to homes as architecture and furnishings. Their emphasis: "simple structuring... romantic, medieval-inspired imagery," stone walls, ornaments and colorful flower borders. (Tankard also gives some attention to American counterparts, such as Gustav Stickley.) A particularly illuminating chapter introduces readers to "master gardeners" William Robinson and Gertrude Jekyll, whose books and works popularized the movement’s ideals. Without them, Tankard writes, the influential gardening style of the Arts and Crafts era "might have been little more than a curious historical episode." Tankard’s well-researched text can read a bit like a dissertation at times, but it is immensely informative, and her selection of beautiful photographs, illustrations and drawings lighten the book and make it a pleasure to browse. The Arts and Crafts movement ended with the first World War, but the recent surge in interest in its bungalow houses and its aesthetic principles make this book timely, and likely to draw in a wide audience. Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. 

American Horticultural Society A-Z Encyclopedia Of Garden Plants edited by Christopher Brickell, et al (DK Publishing) The most comprehensive, detailed, and lavishly illustrated guide to garden plants ever published, first published in 1997, has now been completely revised to include nearly 250 new plants and photos. The AHS A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants is an essential reference for all gardeners, from novices to experts.

Collecting contributions from 100 distinguished horticulturists, the handsome and lavishly illustrated American Horticultural Society A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants is a truly definitive gardening reference. With its 1,092 tiny-print pages, this may not be the book to tuck into your pocket as you weed and mulch, but what this encyclopedia lacks in portability, it certainly makes up for in scope. Hardy and tender plants, heirloom varieties and the latest hybrids--they're all accounted for here, with growing tips and background information about native habitats and ornamental features. You'll also find a fascinating section about botany, as well as information about basic gardening techniques such as mulching, staking, pruning, propagating, and protecting plants for winter. But the encyclopedia's main attraction is the individual plant entries--more than 15,000 of them, embellished with 6,000 full-color photographs and illustrations. From the visual glossary of leaves to the map of growing regions, The American Horticultural Society A-Z of Garden Plants provides an unsurpassed wealth of botanical information, making it the yardstick by which all other gardening references must be measured.

The variety of plants contained in this volume is comparatively remarkable and I have successfully found information on quite a few things.

That said, the descriptions and other details on the varieties within the genera are uneven and illustrations used are often too small for identification, particularly if the foliage is not shown in the cases of flowers which appear nearly-identical.

Some varieties of plants such as calabrichoa (million bells) which are very popular, at least in my own area, are not there; some which are included, such as bacopa, only mention two colors when there are several in circulation.

These sticking points are relatively minor compared to my principal and ongoing complaint about nearly every plant book I have read or purchased: there is no pronunciation guide. This is a huge handicap when one is attempting to ask for, or for information about, plants such as Heuchera, Weigela, Clematis, Corydalis and a multitude of others with multiple possibilities.

Seeds of Fortune by Sue Shephard ( Bloomsbury ) For over a century, and across five generations, the Veitch family pioneered the introduction of hundreds of new plants into gardens, conservatories and houses. This story begins in 1768 when a Scotsman called John Veitch comes to England to find his fortune.
For over a century, and across five generations, the Veitch family pioneered the introduction of hundreds of new plants into gardens conservatories and houses and were amongst the foremost European cultivators and hybridisers of their day.
The Story begins in 1768 when a young Scotsman called John Veitch came to England to find his fortune, starting out as a gardener for the aristocracy. Realising that horticultural mania had begun to spread throughout the social classes, John’s son, James, opened a nursery in Exeter and began to send some of the first commercial plant collectors into the Americas, Australia, India, Japan, China and the South Seas.
Using their canny business skills the Veitch family expanded their nurseries into the most successful and influential in Europe . They became key figures within the gardening establishment and were involved in the Royal Horticultural Society from its early beginnings and the great Chelsea Flower Show. The Veitch’s and their nurserymen made invaluable contributions to the science of botany and horticulture, including the first ever orchid hybrid.

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