Gardens take many forms and have a variety of functions. They can serve as spaces of peace and tranquillity, a way to cultivate wildlife, or as places to develop agricultural resources. Globally, gardens have inspired, comforted, and sustained people from all walks of life, and since the Garden of Eden, many iconic gardens have inspired great artists, poets, musicians, and writers.
In this Very Short Introduction, Gordon Campbell embraces gardens in all their splendour, from parks, and fruit and vegetable gardens to ornamental gardens, and takes the reader on a globe-trotting historical journey through iconic and cultural signposts of gardens from different regions and traditions. Ranging from the gardens of ancient Persia to modern-day allotments, he concludes by looking to the future of the garden in the age of global warming, and the adaptive spirit of human innovation.
1. The ancient and medieval garden
2. The Islamic garden
3. The east Asian garden
6. Spain and Portugal
7. Northern Europe
9. America, Africa, and Australia
Postscript: the future history of the garden
Index of people and places
Gordon Campbell is a Fellow in Renaissance Studies at the University of Leicester and is a Fellow of the British Academy. In January 2012, he was presented with the Longman History Today Trustees Award for his lifetime contribution to history. He has authored and edited several books on literature, art, history, and biography, including The Bible: The Story of the King James Version (OUP, 2010) and The Hermit in the Garden: From Imperial Rome to Ornamental Gnome (OUP, 2013). He has travelled widely in scores of countries, visiting gardens all over the world.
"A clear and comprehensively written account of the history of gardens. The result couldnt be more refreshing. [...] From parks and fruit and vegetable gardens to ornamental and formal gardens, he provides a concise and easily readable narrative of their evolution. The result, although described as short, is absolutely perfect, providing an overview of garden history that is succinct, comprehensive and readable."
– Patrice Todisco, Landscape Notes
"A useful overview."
– Mary Davies, The Irish Garden
"A joy to read"
– Suffolk and Norfolk Life
"The text is lucid, scholarly and, above all, highly readable. Linking together the famous names in horticulture past and present and offering up a coherent story, this is a book to browse and learn from and I suspect it will become well-thumbed. A short history it may be, but it is thorough and good."
– Buckinghamshire Life Magazine
"a globe-trotting magical history tour"
– Leon Burakowski, Express & Star
"Condensed guide to garden history"
– Garden (Royal Horticultural Society)
"One of the nicest little books I've had in my hands for ages [...] it is the overall sweep of the book that impresses"
– Gillian Mawrey, Historic Gardens Review
"As informative as it is accessible, this compact and expertly researched historical chronicle surprises and delights."
– Georgina Chahed, Garden Design Journal