hardcover, 192 p., $50.00
Heavily illustrated with full-color photographs, this splendid book on Japanese gardens is much more than a manual on their design and construction; it is a valuable primer on their history, philosophy, and spirituality. British horticulturist and garden designer Penny Underwood has condensed a remarkable amount of information, creating one of the most informative works to date on Japanese gardens. She has an incredible talent for getting to the pith of a subject in a few words, making what is obscure in meaning clear to Westerners. Although a large portion of the text deals with the planning, construction, and maintenance of a Japanese style garden, the review of design elements is just as fascinating to those who aren’t concerned with a site’s development. An in-depth discussion of their significance helps to explain their usage, as recorded in the brilliant photographs of the gardens of Japan. Travelers to the island nation will be grateful for her descriptions and illustrations of gardens open to visitors. It serves as an excellent guide, as the author also includes information on visiting hours and how to take public transportation to each site. This remarkable book is highly recommended to gardeners and all those who strive for greater understanding of Japanese culture.
— Marilyn K. Alaimo, garden writer and volunteer, Chicago Botanic Garden