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French Garden StyleBOOK REVIEWS

French Garden Style

Ines Hčugel, Photographs by Christian Sarramon
Hachette, Bookwise International

FORGET plants - French Garden Style is concerned with almost everything in the garden but. The focus here is garden collectibles and the ambience they bring to French gardens. For those hooked on garden embellishment - planters, furniture, ornaments and so on - this book is a must-read.

You might have to ignore that these collectibles are half a world away; thorough local foraging may turn up ring-ins for Medici vases and suchlike.

French Garden Style is clearly divided into four sections: Containers and supports; Garden furniture; Accessories; and Ornamental features. Aptly chosen photos, bolstered by relevant artwork or pictures from period catalogues, illustrate each section.

The book details the origin of various styles of collectibles. You'll find all you need to know about Aubagne and Impruneta pottery, wire containers and wickerwork, even down to oddities like Lloyd Loom (an extraordinary faux rattan used in woven chairs).

If garden gnomes and scarecrows are your thing, there's a nod in their direction too. There's also a passing glance at antique garden tools, carts, barrows, and watering cans.

Most chapters carry useful tips or hints on what to look out for in various collectibles and, importantly, how to restore, care for and, in some cases, age them.

Determined Kiwi scavengers (those for whom distance is no object), will find websites listed in the back that offer a starting point. Buyers beware: chasing that authentic je ne sais quoi may be addictive and call for - price of the book aside - a plump wallet.

Weekend Gardener, Issue 142, 2004, Page 28
(reproduced in Horticulture in New Zealand:
Journal of the Royal NZ Institute of Horticulture 2005, 8(1): 20)

Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH

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