I love libraries, have done so from a young age. Used to go there and read Tintin, amongst other literary achievements. Libraries are great for the wallet, for the grey matter and for the environment. So incredibly sad that this very institution is under constant existential threat due to lack of funds. Visit a (local) library to show support! I did so today and came across a couple of garden design books I have previously been acquainted with through studies. They are not new and they are by no means easy reads, but if you are after substantial knowledge about garden design history, they will tick your box.
THE ARCHITECTURE OF WESTERN GARDENS
Edited by Monique Mosser and Georges Teyssot
This book comprise 543 pages and presents an international tour of garden design from the Renaissance to the present. Content is based on more than seventy essays by scholars from Europe and America. Written from a chronological perspective they discuss the humanist garden in Renaissance Italy, the concepts of the “Sublime” and the “Picturesque,” mazes, grottoes, and other curiosities, city parks, American land art, as well as Disneyland. The book additionally contain 650 illustrations.
Georgina Masson aka Mary Johnson
This book was first published in 1961! It is the work of Georgina Masson aka Mary Johnson who travelled up and and down Italy exploring, photographing and writing about gardens for a long time. I reckon she had a beautiful life, or close to it spending so much time in stunning environments. The review of this book states that the book contains a layman’s point of view on the subject. Which I actually find rather condescending, the content certainly comes across as substantial to me. A revised edition was published in 2011.
LANDSCAPE DESIGN: A CULTURAL AND ARCHITECTURAL HISTORY
Elizabeth Barlow Rogers
Landscape Design: A Cultural and Architectural History is like a fusion of the two books mentioned above. By that meaning that it picks up on the range of subjects covered in the first one, whilst being written by just one person like the second one. Quite a feat as it covers landscape design from prehistoric times to the present day. Us humans have indeed been busy designing our surrounding landscape in the most diverse manner, just look at Stonehenge, the Forbidden City of Beijing, Versailles, and New York’s Central Park. This diversity, according to the author, reveals a great deal about the development of societies, and how cities, parks, and gardens embody cultural values. Interesting stuff!