Sunday, December 20, 2009

Book Review: The Plants that Shaped our Gardens

The Plants that Shaped our Gardens by David Stuart - the title describes the book very well. Each chapter focusses on the history of a different type of garden: the bedding garden, the American garden, classic herbaceous borders etc. Details of the travels and writings of many plant explorers are given, along with the plants that they discovered. The book is very readable although a little confusing in that the history is not given chronologically. Organizing the material by garden type necessitates a certain amount of cross-referencing between chapters since one explorer typically found many types of plants and therefore should appear in several chapters. Sometimes the allocation of an explorer to a particular garden type seems arbitrary. Despite this, a worthy book with an abundance of information about the plants and the men behind today's gardens.