A. J. Downing (1815-1852) wrote the first American treatise on landscape gardening. As editor of the Horticulturist and the country's leading practitioner and author, he promoted a national style of landscape gardening that broke away from European precedents and standards. Like other writers and artists, Downing responded to the intensifying demand in the nineteenth century for a recognizably American cultural expression.
Paul Shepheard's previous book, What is Architecture?, was about making real, material things in the world -- landscapes, buildings, and machines. The Cultivated Wilderness is about those landscapes, and about the strategies that govern what we've done in shaping them.In the author's words, this book is about "seeing things that are too big to see." His emphasis on strategy makes landscape fundamental -- he says that every architectural move is set in a landscape. Norman England, for example, was constructed as a network of strong points, in a strategy of occupation.
Invisible Gardens is a composite history of the individuals and firms that defined the field of landscape architecture in America from 1925 to 1975, a period that spawned a significant body of work combining social ideas of enduring value with landscapes and gardens that forged a modern aesthetic. The major protagonists include Thomas Church, Roberto Burle Marx, Isamu Noguchi, Luis Barragan, Daniel Urban Kiley, Stanley White, Hideo Sasaki, Ian McHarg, Lawrence Halprin, and Garrett Eckbo.
These twenty-two essays provide a rich forum for assessing the tenets, accomplishments, and limits of modernism in landscape architecture, and for formulating ideas about possible directions for the future of the discipline.
John Dixon Hunt is widely considered one of the foremost of today's writers on the history and theory of gardens and landscape architecture. Gardens and the Picturesque collects eleven of Hunt's essays—several of them never before published—that deal with the ways in which men and women have given meaning to gardens and landscapes, especially with the ways in which gardens have represented the world of nature "picturesquely."
This is an entirely different garden book: a pattern book in which a score of landscapes and gardens are drawn, described, and analyzed not just as a bouquet of pleasures but as sources, lodes to be mined for materials, shapes and relationships, and ideas for transforming our own backyards.
One voice imagines, the other analyzes in this elegant literary excursion through the history of garden art in France from medieval times to the present. Alternating discursive accounts, or allées, with fictional vignettes that recreate time and place, the Le Dantecs skillfully integrate the history of French gardens with the modern history of ideas. They incorporate literary criticism and art history with social and political history and raise questions about the present development of garden and landscape art.
Robert Harbison reads architecture as one would read poetry for meaning. Meaning, he finds, resides especially in those works of architecture that are unnecessary, having outlived their physical functions or never having been intended to have any. Gardens, monuments, historic fortifications, and ruins are among the examples he uses to reveal the secret meanings of this architecture "freed from function."
Gardens reveal the relationship between culture and nature, yet in the vast library of garden literature few books focus on what the garden means - on the ecology of garden as idea, place, and action. The Meaning of Gardens maps out how the garden is perceived, designed, used, and valued. Essays from a variety of disciplines are organized around six metaphors special to our time - the garden muses of Faith, Power, Ordering, Cultural Expression, Personal Expression, and Healing. Each muse suggests specific inspirations for garden and landscape design.