Book Review Heading


Shire Garden History Series

Published by Shire Publications Ltd.
Cromwell House
Church Street
Princes Risborough Aylesbury
Buckinghamshire HP179AJ

Restoring Period Gardens (SGH 1)

By John Harvey

Reviewed by Mike Oates

The historic interest of parks and gardens led in 1965 to the foundation of the Garden History Society. Largely as a result of the society's activity in the conservation of gardens, legislation in 1983 made possible the issue of the 'Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest' (English Heritage 1984-7) and restoration of historic gardens has become a matter of topical concern. This book attempts to deal with the principles and practice of such restoration. It describes the periods of British gardening from the middle ages to the end of the reign of George IV with specific information on types of planting and actual lists of the plants grown. Dr Harvey was President of the Garden History Society from 1982 to 1985 and remains an active member of the society's Conservation Committee. He is a well-known author of garden history, including Medieval Gardens (1981).

Florists' Flowers and Societies (SGH2)Florists' Flowers and Societies (SGH2)

By Ruth Duthie

Reviewed by Mike Oates

The end of the sixteenth century saw the beginning of gardening for beauty rather than for utility — the herbalist was replaced by the florist. This book shows how widespread and continuous has been the interest in growing florists' flowers from the seventeenth century, throughout the eighteenth, even at the height of the landscape movement, right up to the present day. The eight classic florists' flowers were auricula, polyanthus, hyacinth, anemone, ranunculus, tulip, pink and carnation. The development of these flowers is of great interest and makes them very much man-made plants. Ruth Duthie has written several articles on florists' feasts and the florist movement which have appeared in Garden History and the Journal of the Primula and Auricula Society.

The English Landscape Garden (SGH3)The English Landscape Garden (SGH3)

By Miles Hadfield

Reviewed by Mike Oates

It is said that the only great aesthetic contribution made to the arts by the English is the landscape garden. The widespread work of 'Capability' Brown and Repton can still be seen in many places today, but they were not without their critics. Amongst these, Richard Payne Knight and Uvedale Price condemned the bareness of their landscapes and proposed more colourful and picturesque planting. The influence of Knight and Price is clear in the great gardens created in the twentieth century. The late Miles Hadfield was a founder president of the Garden History Society. This title has been re-issued with new colour plates.

These three books will be welcomed by all those with an interest in garden history. They are well assembled, concise and very reasonably priced. They will do much to increase awareness of our horticultural past and so help us manage our historic parks and gardens here in New Zealand. I look forward to future titles in this series.

Annual Journal of the Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture 1989 16: 40-41

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