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Hardcover | Out of Print | 293 pp. | 8.2 x 10.8 in | July 1990 | ISBN: 9780262061278
Paperback | $45.00 X | £37.95 | 293 pp. | 8.2 x 10.8 in | February 1992 | ISBN: 9780262560610
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Instructor Resources

The Meaning of Gardens


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.

About the Editor

Mark Francis, FASLA is Professor and former Chair of landscape

architecture at the University of California, Davis. He is author of

Urban Open Space, Village Homes,, Public Space, The California Landscape

, and Community Open Space.


“[The Meaning of Gardens] is thought-provoking on almost every page. It will help us to understand the why of gardening. I think I know a little better now what Lawrence Johnston was up to at Hidcote, or Pierre Du Pont at Longwood, and what in fact I am up to when I take pruner in band and go out into the garden.”
Christopher Reed, Horticulture
“Each of the thirty contributions has thoughtful and provocative things to say about gardens and gardening, as well as about society and nature and our place within them. Taken as a whole, they stretch the mind, push back the boundaries that delimit our perception of the garden, and challenge us to create landscapes that are right for today.”
Pacific Horticulture