Cloth, 340 pp., $40.00
Australian photographer and author Holly Kerr Forsyth looks at several characteristics of historic gardens in this survey of selected world sites. Beginning with the importance of special places in garden history, the author focuses on those with a sense of place before reviewing the roles of garden designers, politicians, writers, artists, and collectors in the development of specific sites. High-quality maintenance is another characteristic the author cites, prior to a review of those gardens that are personal expressions of their owners’ interests. Although heavily illustrated, many of the photographs are too small for a reader to capture the spirit of a given locale. Some readers would also argue that the selection of Persian gardens as examples of paradise was poorly chosen, as they were in fact expressions of the power of the rulers.
—Marilyn K. Alaimo, garden writer and volunteer, Chicago Botanic Garden