If you are interested in giving a gardening book, the book I am reviewing this month would make a beautiful gift. It is a true "coffee table book". A book that one can leaf through and see gorgeous and inspirational pictures that could spark a conversation about gardens and gardening.
However, this book would only be appropriate for those gardeners that love formal design, or English gardens. Look around at their garden. You should be able to tell if their taste is formal or not.
The book is:
The English Formal Garden:
Five Centuries of Design
Five Centuries of Design
by Gunter Mader and Laila Neubert-Mader
The book starts with a comprehensive history of the English garden, covering over 500 years of design. I read the history, but that's not why I love this book. It's the pictures I love to thumb through! In fact, I could sit for hours just looking at all the pictures, and dreaming.
There are 10 gardens that are specifically covered: Montacute House, Parnham House, Pitmedden, Penshurst Place, Hidcote Manor, Hestercombe Garden, Snowshill Manor, Sissinghurst Castle Garden, Hazelby Garden, and Barnsley House.
But that's not all! The majority of the book is broken into the features of a formal English garden: trees, hedges and walls, gateways, terraces, garden steps, garden paths, pergolas, knot gardens and parterres, the sunken garden, flower borders and color themes, topiary, statuary, garden seats, water, lawns and flower meadows, summerhouse, kitchen gardens, and orchards.
It is these features, and all the pictures and drawings, plus the additional explanation included about each feature, that will get you dreaming about how you can incorporate these into your own garden (if you like this style).
In fact, there is more than adequate inspiration in this book. For instance, under Knots and Parterres, there are over 40 drawn designs of knot gardens should you wish to put one in your own garden. (Yes, I'm dreaming of one!) There are also several different pond designs, summerhouses, garden steps and path designs. See what I mean about inspiration?
If you live in England, or plan on visiting, there is even a list (their opinion) of the 100 most beautiful formal gardens in the British Isles.
This is a nice, heavy, thick book. Anyone that loves formal English garden design would greatly enjoy receiving this book as a gift. I checked prices online, and they vary greatly. From $12 for a used book, to $25 for a new hardcover, up to over $100 in some places, be sure you know what you're getting. A little shopping around for the price and condition you are wanting may be in order.
This book was first published in German in 1992 and the English version came out in 1997. Although not a newly released book, this book and the gardens shown within its pages are timeless.
If this isn't the type of book you'd like to give, I'll have another suggestion next month. Or you might find just the perfect book in one of the entries below, or on the page listing all books reviewed so far this year.
Garden pictures in this post are from the Annie duPont Formal Garden and the garden at Ashlawn-Highland.
You are invited to join us on the 20th each month with your own garden book review. Any book with a garden influence qualifies!
Now it's your turn! What garden book will you be reviewing this month?
Now it's your turn! What garden book will you be reviewing this month?
Hi Holley, I'm such an early bird this month. I think it's partly because you guys up north are probably gently snoring right now and partly because I'm a bit anxious because my current chosen book is related to gardening by a very generous stretch. Anyway, your book, Holley is a great read. I got it out of the library, and although I'm not into formality, gardens like Sissinghurst can be gentle and altogether it's a good lesson because if you don't have structure it's just messy. The hard thing is to make the structure inconspicuous, gentle. For my taste anyway.ReplyDelete
That is a great observation about structure. You are so right - even if you don't want formal, structure is definitely required in a garden. I know how excited you are to have spring coming, just as we begin our winter. Thanks so much for joining in.Delete
Hi Holley - this is a lovely book. I agree with Catmint - even if you don't like formality, you need structure.ReplyDelete
I have finally reviewed a book and much to my surprise, I have successfully added it to your list! I didn't realise how easy that bit would be. Being fairly new to the blogosphere, I had no idea what would be required and was a bit concerned that joining in would be beyond me. It wasn't - and if I can do it, anyone can! Thanks Holley!
I'm so glad you pushed through your fears and joined in! :) I do love structure in gardens, perhaps that's why I love the look of formal gardens. I also love abundance, too, and I think the two work well together. I'm glad to hear that even those that don't like formal gardens might enjoy seeing the book I reviewed. I could look at it for hours at a time.Delete
Holley I'll post my review Monday. What a wow kind of book...I too love to look at these formal gardens...such an aspiration to try to do any of the designs... and what garden eye candy, but would never work here...sounds like a great book for winter garden dreaming.ReplyDelete
This book is truly one of the largest pieces of 'eye candy' in my vast collection of garden books! It is perfect for thumbing through for hours at a time, as you say, dreaming. I look forward to reading your book selection, too.Delete
I think I love anything English styled. It looks like an awesome gift for me! Haha! I've begun shopping and hope to be finished long before Christmas this year. I even have the presents wrapped already. That is a first!ReplyDelete
haha - Yes, I have several books on my Christmas list - for me! :) You have presents wrapped already!!! I'm impressed! I have usually started by now. I'm going to have to get busy in order to get everything done by my goal of Thanksgiving!Delete
Hi Holley: My garden isn't formal by any stretch of the imagination. But as Catmint mentions, it's the structure that really matters. I love to visit gardens of any kind--informal, formal, cottage, zen...you name it! And I enjoy books, blogs, and websites about all of them, too. Your book sounds like a winner for any gardener! Thanks for hosting this great meme!ReplyDelete
I, too, love gardens of all kinds. It's almost hard to figure out the style of garden we want for our very own! Thanks so much for joining in. I'm finding some of the best books that I would have never heard of otherwise through this meme.Delete
Hi, Holley! No doubt,this book is a great work. Review of 10 most interesting gardens of England for such a long period of gardening.ReplyDelete
I love seeing English gardens (in photos, I've never seen them in person). They all look so effortless. Of course, I know that's an illusion! Still, I think the English have a reputation for being great gardeners for a reason, and I love to dream and imagine that my garden could look almost as beautiful one day, too.Delete
Hi Holley, this book makes me appreciate where we are :) Hoping to visit Hidcote Manor and Sissinghurst next year!ReplyDelete
You should definitely take advantage of living in such a wonderful part of the world. English gardens are famous. If I lived there, I would probably never garden - I would be too busy touring gardens! :)Delete
Hi Holley. Thank you again for this book meme. All books make beautiful gifts, I think. Especially gardening books. No matter what style of gardening.ReplyDelete
I like giving and receiving books as a gift. And I love all books on gardening, too. I guess our passion just makes us want to learn more about it, no matter which style we prefer. :)Delete
I love English gardens!ReplyDelete
I do, too! :)Delete
I started my Christmas shopping already. I like to get it doneearly too.ReplyDelete
I need to get started! I am having a hard time getting my family to tell me what they want. If they don't hurry, they'll get what they don't want! :)Delete
I love English formal gardens although I could never create one in the space and climate that I have. But I do love seeing pictures of them. I'll have to put this book on my list for winter reading. Thank you for reviewing it and for sponsoring this meme. I've been away from my blog for awhile due to illness, but I continue to read all of your entertaining and inspirational posts. They brighten my day!ReplyDelete
I hope you have a quick recovery. Reading all the wonderful blogs that are out there can be very inspirational. Soon you'll be back in your garden, with ideas galore! Thanks for joining in!Delete
I have visited 3 of those gardens, Pitmedden, Snowshill and Sissinghurst. The garden most vivid in my memory is Crathes Castle, there I saw a golden garden. Crathes gold and Sissinghurst white ... you can see where 2 of my Paradise and Roses beds were inspired!ReplyDelete
I love that we get inspiration from all sorts of places, and climates. So many of us will never achieve an English garden, and we shouldn't try, but we can get inspiration from anywhere!Delete
I dream of a trip to England to visit the famous gardens. While the formal gardens are not my favorite, I definitely want some on my itinerary. Thanks for telling us all about this book!ReplyDelete
I hope you get to go on your dream trip someday. I would love to see these gardens in person, and there are a number of Italian and French gardens I would love to see, too!Delete
Makes me want to travel abroad. The UK was always a destination point, yet I have yet to travel there.ReplyDelete
There are several areas of the world I would love to travel, but I think I'll be traveling mostly by book! :)Delete
This sounds like a great overview book, Holley! Thanks for posting it. Barnsley is at the top of my list to emulate someday, though probably with less stone :)ReplyDelete
I just happened to put up a post with a quote from a wonderful gardening book... would you mind if I link that one over to your book review? If not, no problem... I will just try again in the winter months :)
I would love for you to join in! Please do. I would love to have more stone in my garden - it's such a classic look. Donna at GWGT has recently had some wonderful posts on a garden with a lot of stone. Great inspiration!Delete
Sounds like a beautiful book, and I love the fact that it has so many different designs for formal elements!ReplyDelete
My garden is not very formal at all, but I love looking at formal gardens just the same, because they are so gorgeous!
This book, at first glance, looks like one that only has pictures to drool over, but in reality it has a lot of great information about the elements in a formal garden. For instance, under statuary, it has pictures of a bust, an urn, a vase, several figures, and a sundial. It also has drawings of these types of statuary used in different ways, so the creative juices really get to flowing! And then, it also has some narrative about statuary and the different materials and symbolism, etc. There is a lot of inspiration in the pages of this book!Delete
I am not an early Christmas shopper, but every year I tell myself I'll get an early start next year. I don't. :(ReplyDelete
This seems like a great book--and if it covers 500 years of gardens, it's like a history book too. Thanks for the recommendation!
It's a short history, but it covers the influence of man on the landscape, and how it evolved from practicalities to pleasure. Good luck with your Christmas shopping. One year I waited until Christmas Eve - and on top of that, I didn't get off work until noon, and the stores closed at 6:00. But I did it!Delete
This book looks like a great gift I will buy for myself.ReplyDelete
That's exactly what I did - it was my Christmas present to myself a couple of years ago! ;)Delete
Thanks for the review. I personally love coffee table books for inspiration. Sometimes words just aren't enough. Pictures often give me ideas and although I don't often 'copy' the designs I see there's always elements that I love and try to incorporate.ReplyDelete
I think that's the best type of design - trying to incorporate beautiful elements into your own particular garden, climate, style, and with plants that will work in your own area!Delete
I have gotten some of the best gardening books from our local library's annual book sale. Not only do I get great books, some of which are brand new, but the money from the purchase goes to help support the library as it struggles to keep up with funding cuts. Maybe your local libraries have similar sale events? And to get back to this post, I added more white to my small garden after learning about Sissinghurst.ReplyDelete
There is an annual sale of books here, too. It's amazing how little some of the books have been used! I have slowly learned to add more white to my garden, too. It's something I now try to stick in every bed, even though I don't have a white garden like at Sissinghurst.Delete
This looks like a wonderful book. And I think many of us use some formal elements in our gardens without thinking of them that way. I just learned about this meme, but I will come back to participate next month. In the meantime I want to recommend The Wild Garden Expanded Edition by the great British gardener William Robinson whose career spanned the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th, then expanded by the innovative American designer and photographer, Rick Darke. Robinson is possibly the single most important influence in bringing about the change in British gardens, away from the formality of bedding plants and into a new way of designing a more natural plan. Darke has shown how his priciples can help us create beautiful but more sustainable gardens today. I did a review of this book a while back http://tinyurl.com/7juegr7 on my blog.ReplyDelete
Please link your review in! It sounds like a wonderful book. So many of us, I think, want a "wild garden", or at least a little bit wild. Personally, I think it extremely hard to design an entirely natural garden, and love a mix of informal plantings with some formal elements, too.Delete