Penelope Hobhouse's Gardening Through the Ages: An Illustrated History of Plants and Their Influence on Garden Styles-From Ancient Egypt to the Pres

by Penelope Hobhouse

Hardcover, 1993



"How did a newly introduced plant arrive in a border or in a popular planting scheme? How often have new plants actually influenced and molded the designs in which they were featured? What plants were used to create certain desired effects? The multiplicity of ways in which plants have contributed to garden design is a theme of this far-reaching and absorbing study." "Penelope Hobhouse - plantswoman, gardener, designer, and authority on historic gardens - is uniquely qualified to shed new light on the plantings that play a vital role in the history of garden style. Many authors have followed particular themes of this complex subject - the quest for new plants, the adventures of plant hunters, and the work of individual botanists and garden makers. Others have more broadly documented the evolution of style, but have paid scant attention to the details of what was actually grown in the gardens." "Against this background of scholarship, Penelope Hobhouse focuses on the plants themselves and the interest - even passion - they have aroused. Gardening Through the Ages explores the perennial interaction between what plants are available and the ideas of the people who grow them. Penelope demonstrates that plants, however inspiring, remain the raw material of the garden maker's talent, and she explores the extent to which gardeners are creatures of their age." "The contemporary availability of plants has determined the furnishings of gardens from ancient Egypt to the present day. In Renaissance Europe new bulbs and tubers were valued like works of art for their intrinsic beauty and their rarity, while malleable plants such as box, yew, and hornbeam were treated as green architecture, and were regimented into elaborate ground patterns. In the eighteenth century, the skills of garden designers backed by the wealthy led to compositions that included the horticultural jewels of the New World, crowned by the bright-hued annuals from South America. This fashion was followed by inspired garden artists who have woven together perennials from all corners of the globe since the early twentieth century." "Some plant enthusiasts have always allowed exotic trees and shrubs to realize their true forms and extend the levels of romantic naturalism; those of the opposing philosophy sculpt plantings into gloriously artificial schemes. The conflict between the delight in seeing the art of gardening as nature perfected or in considering gardening as simply an imitation of nature remains as topical today, when whole landscapes are threatened, as it has through the ages." "Penelope Hobhouse's definitive account is illustrated with an unsurpassed selection of pictures. Chronological narrative and instructive digressions alternate in the text to illuminate how the art of gardening has changed with time."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved… (more)


Simon & Schuster (1993), Edition: 1st, 336 pages


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336 p.; 10.5 x 1.25 inches


0671728873 / 9780671728878
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