Period Gardens

Author: Myles Baldwin

Publisher: Murdoch Books

ISBN: 978 1 74045 906 8

This sumptuous large format book is subtitled “Landscapes for Houses With History” which perhaps limits its appeal in an area like Taranaki which is still pretty close to its raw colonial past with too few period houses of much architectural note. However, the author is a young Australian who is remarkably well anchored in horticulture as well as being passionate about architecture, history and design and his analysis of house and garden history goes beyond those lucky few who have a grand period house and wish to create an appropriate garden. Chapters use case study gardens from around the world to illustrate the Renaissance period, Jacobean, Georgian, Victorian, Edwardian (Arts and Crafts), Spanish Mission, Homestead (which is where many Australian and New Zealand gardens sit) through to Art Deco and Modernist.

What sets this book apart is that it is a young antipodean’s well researched take on mostly European garden history and how it all fits together in the so-called New World that we garden in today. The final chapter entitled “Details” has some excellent advice on matters ranging from lawns and tennis courts, through driveways and pools to hedging and fencing.

If you have grand visions for your garden, this is a good book to read. It may save some bad decisions. It is also a splendidly produced, large format hardback with excellent photos that should stand the test of time on the garden bookshelf.