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. Garden landscapes can plot the rise and fall of a family’s fortunes, record man’s exploratory spirit through the introduction of foreign plant species, and chart the destruction (and regeneration) caused by natural disasters. How to Read Gardens provides you with all the knowledge you needs to tease out the clues that will tell the complete story of a garden’s past. From the grandest estate to the smallest suburban plot, this book will enliven and inform every future garden visit.
Lorraine Harrison has a masters degree in Garden History from the University of London and has written several books on the subject. When not tending her own plot, she enjoys other people's gardens whether, large, small, grand or humble.