Do You Know How To “Read” A Garden?

Pexels / Pixabay

Many of us, myself included, enjoy walking through gardens – large and small – just for the enjoyment of being in nature.  Seeing the plants grow and how meticulously a flower or vegetable garden bed has been laid out brings much joy.  Admittedly, I don’t know much about garden structure, history or even genealogy of the plants within.  Are the plants true to the era of the garden or are they modern hybrids? Is the architecture of the walls and pergolas influenced by the Italian style or some other design idea? Honestly, I could not give intelligent answers to these questions without some serious research.

Oregongal / Pixabay

Author Lorraine Harrison is an expert in Garden History and design and has written a new book to help address questions similar to the ones above.  Now not only can we stroll through a garden plot – like the ones I visited last summer at Colonial Williamsburg – and have a better understanding of what it is we are actually looking at.


The Complete Story Of A Garden’s Past





Most gardens of any age are like a palimpsest: successive generations have changed and influenced the soft and hard fabric of the place over time. Inevitably many of the gardens we wander through today are an amalgam of changing fashions and circumstance. Garden landscapes can plot the rise and fall of a family’s fortunes, record man’s exploratory spirit through the introduction of foreign plant species and chart the destruction (and regeneration) caused by natural disasters.

HOW TO READ GARDENS provides you with all the knowledge you need to tease out the clues that will tell the complete story of a garden’s past. From the grandest estate to the smallest suburban plot, this book will enliven and inform every future garden visit.




Lorraine Harrison has a Master’s degree in Garden History from the University of London and has written several books on the subject. When not tending her own plot, she enjoys other people’s gardens whether, large, small, grand or humble.



By Lorraine Harrison

Published: March 5, 2017

$17.99 US · $24.99 CAN · 256 pages · Hardcover Book

ISBN: 9781782406037

Ivy Press, an imprint of The Quarto Group

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