paper, 400 pp., $35.00
Andrew Jackson Downing (1815 – 52), known as “the father of American landscape architecture and a father of the urban park movement,” was an influential garden writer during the first half of the nineteenth century. Editor Robert Twombly appropriately calls him “Architect and Gardener to the Republic.” Among the topics he addressed in his popular books were landscape gardening, fruit trees, residential and interior design. In 1831, he joined the family nursery business and later became a co-owner. At the age of sixteen he published his first essay, “Rural Embellishments,” in a regional magazine; this was the first of more than 140 essays over his short lifetime. Constantly contacted for advice by the public, by 1842 he began to offer his professional services in landscape gardening, architecture, and interior design for a fee. As founding editor of The Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste, he became a powerful force in creating the American landscape. Editor Robert Twombly selected essays for this work from the wealth of material Downing wrote during his all-too-brief lifetime.
— Marilyn K. Alaimo, garden writer and volunteer, Chicago Botanic Garden