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What makes a garden 'authentic'? For American gardeners, this question can be vexing. Because America is a comparatively young nation, it hasn't had much time to develop an indigenous garden style. Gardeners have therefore tended to turn to other national traditions for inspiration. The unhappy result of this piece-meal stylistic borrowing has been the creation of gardens that bear no relationship to local landscapes and history, and that have no connection with our daily lives. In this cogently reasoned and persuasively argued volume, Claire Sawyers shows how this tendency can be reversed: how to create gardens that are both deeply rooted in their surroundings and deeply satisfying to their creators and owners.
Claire Sawyers has been director of the Scott Arboretum of Swarthmore College since 1990, and brings both U.S. and international perspectives to her work. She grew up on a dairy farm in northwest Missouri, but spent six years of her youth in Japan. She returned to Japan to work with landscapers while pursuing her undergraduate degree in ornamental horticulture at Purdue University. For a year after graduation she worked in gardens in Belgium (Kalmthout Arboretum) and France (private gardens in Brittany and Normandy), returning to Purdue to earn a master's degree in horticulture.She studied public horticulture administration in the Longwood Graduate Program at the University of Delaware and Longwood Gardens and worked at the Mount Cuba Center in northern Delaware for seven years before coming to Swarthmore.She presently serves as a commissioner for the accreditation program of the American Association of Museums, and has taken over 10,000 slides of plants and gardens.Sawyers has been the recipient of several awards including: Distinguished Alumna Award, University of Delaware; Distinguished Alumna Award, Purdue University Horticulture Program; and Longwood Graduate Program Fellowship. She is an avid lecturer and has spoken at Arnold Arboretum, New York Botanical Garden, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Morris Arboretum, University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, and many others.Sawyers is a PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) certified SCUBA diver, and currently resides in Media, Pennsylvania.