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Academic & Professional Books  Botany  Plants & Gardens

William Robinson The Wild Gardener

Biography / Memoir Out of Print
By: Richard Bisgrove
256 pages, 150 engravings, watercolours and photos
William Robinson
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  • William Robinson ISBN: 9780711225428 Hardback Sep 2008 Out of Print #176234
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About this book

In this book Richard Bisgrove, author of the bestselling Gardens of Gertrude Jekyll, analyses William Robinson and his remarkable contribution to gardening.

Robinson (1838--1935), more than any other gardener, was responsible for sweeping away the carpet bedding of the Victorians and promoting a more relaxed style using hardy plants. His voluminous writings have been hugely influential. The English Flower Garden (1883) has been described as 'the most widely read and influential gardening book ever written'.

As a man he was something of a paradox -- an Irish bachelor who is widely regarded as the father of the English flower garden, a theorist who scorned theorizing and an author who wrote with passion -- and simultaneously -- about the technicalities of mushroom cultivation and the picturesque treatment of a thousand-acre estate.Illustrations include engravings from Robinson's books and contemporary watercolours, as well as photographs of Robinsonian gardens -- especially his own garden at Gravetye Manor.

Customer Reviews


Richard Bisgrove is the director of the Landscape Management degree course at Reading University. He has designed gardens in Britain and the United States and lectures internationally on the history of garden design and on the work of Gertrude Jekyll.
Biography / Memoir Out of Print
By: Richard Bisgrove
256 pages, 150 engravings, watercolours and photos
Media reviews
Beautifully illustrated with photographs and contemporary drawings, William Robinson: The Wild Gardener is more than just a pretty coffee-table book - it is illuminating, well-researched and certainly not a hagiography. House & Garden Get a copy of Bisgrove's wonderful book, a full-colour romp in the company of a distinguished expert. Independent on Sunday The richness of the illustration and the beauty of the design make this a joy to look at. This valuable piece of garden history sets Robinson and his achievements pithily in context. But it is also the tribute of one fine writer to another: by quoting Robinson so extensively, and with such enjoyment, Bisgrove introduces a new generation to his roaring prose. A distant historical figure lives again in all his cussedness and passion. BBC Gardens Illustrated A fascinating insight into the man and his passion for gardening. Lady This marvellous book by Richard Bisgrove is long overdue. Up to this, there has really been very little written about William Robinson's life and this sumptuously illustrated book gives great insights into the man and the enormous contribution he made to horticulture. Garden Heaven (Ireland) Less well known than his contemporary and journalistic collaborator, Gerturude Jekyll. It is hard to see why this is so, and Bisgrove does not pretend to have the complete answer. If you read this book, which is a considered dissection of Robinson's voluminous writings as much as a biography, it does seem almost perverse. Let us hope that this well-researched and exhaustive study will help redress the balance. Daily Telegraph At long last we have an attractive and thoughtful book about William Robinson, one of the most influential garden writers of the early twentieth century.Richard Bisgrove's new book is brought alive with beautiful colour photographs by Jerry Harpur, Andrew Lawson and others... Richard Bisgrove's study of Robinson is a worthy follow-up to his excellent books on Gertrude Jekyll. He carefully weighs the pros and cons of each topic against the paucity of personal information about Robinson. His thoughtful analysis of Robinson's publications and the artists he hired, is most welcome. As a long-time educator, Bisgrove is also good at explaining bedding-out and other horticultural concepts to expand the scope of the book... This new study of his accomplishments is most welcome. Hortus Too well-written just to be oogled however. This book demands to be read. -- Anna Pavord Victorian This very readable book offers a valuable analysis of Robinson's influence and of the major role he played in British and foreign horticulture. Historic Gardens Review
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