Walk into any nursery, florist, or supermarket, and you’ll encounter displays of dozens of gorgeous flowers, from chrysanthemums to orchids. At one time these fanciful blooms were the rare trophies of the rich and influential—even the carnation, today thought of as one of the humblest cut flowers. Every blossom we take for granted now is the product of painstaking and imaginative planning, breeding, horticultural ingenuity, and sometimes chance. The personalities of the breeders, from an Indiana farmer to Admiral Lord Gambier’s gardener, were as various and compelling as the beauty they conjured from skilled hybridization.
In Visions of Loveliness: Great Flower Breeders of the Past, Judith Taylor wrote engagingly about the vivid history and characters behind eighteen types of popular flowers. In this companion volume she uncovers information about another eight familiar flowers: poinsettias, chrysanthemums, gladioli, pansies, carnations, water lilies, clematis, and penstemons.
Taylor has tapped into an enormous trove of stories about extraordinary people with vision and skill who added to our enjoyment piece by piece, starting about 150 years ago. This beautifully illustrated book will please flower enthusiasts, gardeners, and history buffs alike.
Much acclaimed upon its initial publication in 1992, this book was the first extensive survey of African American gardening traditions in the rural South. For this reprinting, author Richard Westmacott has written a new preface in which he describes the traveling exhibit based on the book and compares his original research with his recent observations of gardening practices in the Cayman Islands.
The book remains a valuable and richly illustrated resource for those interested in African American material culture and the history of vernacular gardens. It includes measured drawings and physical inventories of African American gardens in three geographic areas: the low country of South Carolina, the southern piedmont of Georgia, and the black belt of Alabama. The descriptions are enhanced by the author's personal interviews with the gardeners, in which he documents the aesthetic qualities, designs, and purposes of their yards and gardens.
Westmacott traces the evolution of African American yards and gardens and over the last two hundred years and discusses the possible African origins of certain traditions, such as the swept yard. He also notes similarities in attitude between rural southern blacks and whites regarding the importance of the agrarian lifestyle, self-reliance, and private ownership. Despite such similarities, he shows, the patterns and practices in which those beliefs are manifested among African Americans are uniquely their own.
The Author: Richard Westmacott is a professor of environmental design at the University of Georgia and lives in rural Georgia.
Most books on the history of gardens describe the way that gardens have been created; by contrast, The Afterlife of Gardens examines the way that gardens have been experienced. Using examples from many sites around the world, John Dixon Hunt examines responses to gardens, from Renaissance sites to Baroque creations to modern motorway landscaping. Examining how a garden has been experienced extends its history beyond the physical into cultural terms, and the author describes how this ‘afterlife’ of gardens, as they are understood and experienced by many generations, is often ‘redesigned’ in visitors’ imaginative and cultural responses.
The author looks at many aspects of the subject, including the enigmatic Hypnerotomachia Polifili of 1499; part fictional narrative and part scholarly treatise, this fascinating early narrative of garden reception paves the way for an exploration of subsequent landscapes and their reception in later periods. He also looks at Italian Renaissance gardens; the Picturesque; the architectural and inscriptional elements of gardens; the ways experiences of gardens have been recorded; and the different kinds of movement within gardens, from the strolling pedestrian to the motorway traveller who experiences landscapes at speed.
In this ambitious new book the author shows how the complete history of a garden must extend beyond the moment of its design and the aims of the designer to record its subsequent reception. He raises questions about the preservation of historical sites, and provides lessons for the contemporary designer, who may perhaps be more attentive to the life of a work after its design and implementation. This book will interest all who have a professional interest in gardens, as well as the wide general audience for gardens and landscapes of past and present.
A nineteenth-century entrepreneur’s bold, innovative marketing helped transform flower gardens into one of America’s favorite hobbies.
“There is much that is hard and productive of sorrow in this sin-plagued world of ours; and, had we no flowers, I believe existence would be hard to be borne.” So states a customer’s 1881 letter—one of thousands James Vick regularly received. Vick’s business, selling flower seeds through the mail, wasn’t unique, but it was wildly successful because he understood better than his rivals how to engage customers’ emotions. He sold the love of flowers along with the flower seeds.
Vick was genuinely passionate about floriculture, but he also pioneered what we now describe as integrated marketing. He spent a mind-boggling $100,000 per year on advertising (mostly to women, his target demographic); he courted newspaper editors for free publicity; his educational guides presaged today’s content marketing; he recruited social influencers to popularize neighborhood gardening clubs; and he developed a visually rich communication and branding strategy to build customer loyalty and inflect their purchasing needs with purchasing desire.
Amidst Mad Cow scares and consumer concerns about how farm animals are bred, fed, and raised, many farmers and homesteaders are rediscovering the traditional practice of pastoral farming. Grasses, clovers, and forbs are the natural diet of cattle, horses, and sheep, and are vital supplements for hogs, chickens, and turkeys. Consumers increasingly seek the health benefits of meat from animals raised in green paddocks instead of in muddy feedlots.
In All Flesh Is Grass: The Pleasures and Promises of Pasture Farming, Gene Logsdon explains that well-managed pastures are nutritious and palatable—virtual salads for livestock. Leafy pastures also hold the soil, foster biodiversity, and create lovely landscapes. Grass farming might be the solution for a stressed agricultural system based on an industrial model and propped up by federal subsidies.
In his clear and conversational style, Logsdon explains historically effective practices and new techniques. His warm, informative profiles of successful grass farmers offer inspiration and ideas. His narrative is enriched by his own experience as a “contrary farmer” on his artisan-scale farm near Upper Sandusky, Ohio.
All Flesh Is Grass will have broad appeal to the sustainable commercial farmer, the home-food producer, and all consumers who care about their food.
Named one of “the year’s best gardening books” by The Spectator (UK, Nov. 2014)
The 1890s saw a revolution in advertising. Cheap paper, faster printing, rural mail delivery, railroad shipping, and chromolithography combined to pave the way for the first modern, mass-produced catalogs. The most prominent of these, reaching American households by the thousands, were seed and nursery catalogs with beautiful pictures of middle-class homes surrounded by sprawling lawns, exotic plants, and the latest garden accessories—in other words, the quintessential English-style garden.
America’s Romance with the English Garden is the story of tastemakers and homemakers, of savvy businessmen and a growing American middle class eager to buy their products. It’s also the story of the beginnings of the modern garden industry, which seduced the masses with its images and fixed the English garden in the mind of the American consumer. Seed and nursery catalogs delivered aspirational images to front doorsteps from California to Maine, and the English garden became the look of America.
Stormwater management as art? Absolutely. Rain is a resource that should be valued and celebrated, not merely treated as an urban design problem—and yet, traditional stormwater treatment methods often range from ugly to forgettable. Artful Rainwater Design shows that it's possible to effectively manage runoff while also creating inviting, attractive landscapes.
This beautifully illustrated, comprehensive guide explains how to design creative, yet practical, landscapes that treat on-site stormwater management as an opportunity to enhance site design. Artful Rainwater Design has three main parts: first, the book outlines five amenity-focused goals that might be highlighted in a project: education, recreation, safety, public relations, and aesthetic appeal. Next, it focuses on techniques for ecologically sustainable stormwater management that complement the amenity goals. Finally, it features diverse case studies that show how designers around the country are implementing principles of artful rainwater design.
Artful Rainwater Design is a must-have resource for landscape architects, urban designers, civil engineers, and architects who won't let stormwater regulations cramp their style, and who understand that for a design to truly be sustainable, people must appreciate and love it. It is a tool for creating landscapes that celebrate rain for the life-giving resource it is—and contribute to more sustainable, healthy, and even fun, built environments.