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Perfectly Delightful: The Life & Gardens of Harvey Ladew

Perfectly Delightful: The Life & Gardens of Harvey Ladew
Christopher Weeks
Johns Hopkins University Press
Publication Date: 

cloth, 288 p., $32.50.

Perfectly Delightful
 could easily be titled, "The Man Behind a Garden". Although this book does not go into great detail about a garden's features, it is an entertaining account of the eclectic taste and more than interesting life of the garden's creator. Christopher Weeks, an architectural historian and consulting committee member of Ladew Topiary Gardens has done a fantastic job of capturing the exciting life story of Harvey Ladew.

Ladew, a wealthy socialite of the early 1900s, created one of the greatest topiary gardens of the world in Monkton, Maryland, just outside Baltimore. Ladew was a hobbyist gardener with the financial means to create a spectacular 22-acre garden. Weeks, through pictures and direct quotes from Ladew's unfinished autobiography and correspondence with friends and family, shows us the man behind the garden. After learning Ladew was an avid fox hunter, the reader quickly understands why there is a life-size topiary of a fox hunt on the grounds.

Overall, this book is a "delightful" account of one of America's great garden creators.

— Linda L. Jones