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Lessons from the Great Gardeners: Forty Gardening Icons and What They Teach Us
by Matthew Biggs
University of Chicago Press, 2016
Cloth: 978-0-226-36948-8 | eISBN: 978-0-226-36951-8
Library of Congress Classification SB451.B554 2016
Dewey Decimal Classification 635.0922

Like heirloom seeds and grafts from trees, advice from great gardeners handed down through the centuries has shaped the science and art of gardens across the globe. Spanning gardeners from fifteenth-century Japan to the contemporary United States, Lessons from the Great Gardeners profiles forty groundbreaking botanists, nurserymen, and tillers of earth, men and women whose passion, innovation, and green thumbs endure in the formal landscapes and vegetable patches of today.

Entries for each gardening great highlight their iconic plants and garden designs, revealing both the gardeners’ own influences and the seeds—sometimes literal—that they sowed for gardens yet to sprout. From André Le Nôtre in seventeenth-century France, who drew on his training as an architect and hydraulic engineer to bring the topiary form to Vaux-le-Vicomte and Versailles, to the work of High Line and Lurie Garden designer Piet Oudolf, and Thomas Jefferson’s advice on creating protected garden microclimates for help growing early crops and tender fruit like figs (with peas, a Jefferson favorite), Lessons from the Great Gardeners is a resource as rich as the soil from which it springs.

Featuring lush illustrations harvested from the archives of the Royal Horticultural Society, as well as sections on a dozen international gardens that showcase the lessons of the greats, this homage to the love of good, clean dirt is sure to inspire readers to get out in the sun and dig.

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