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THE ENGLISH FLOWER GARDEN by William Robinson, was first published in 1883 and republished a number of times afterward. The current version available from Amazon is a reprint of the 15th Edition Robinson edited shortly before he died in the 1930s. This new reprint of the 15th Edition contains the "Botanical Revisions" prepared by Graham Stuart Thomas for the 1984 Edition, as well as a Forward by Henry Mitchell, and an introduction by Deborah Nevins. The book is set in old style type and contains numerous black and white illustrations--etchings of photos and prints of sketches. Some of them are a bit grainy, but many are not, and even the grainy ones have their good points. The content of each photo is quite interesting, and the sketches provide the "personal" touch one seldom sees in text books these days. In one print, taken at Gravetye Manor over 100 years ago, a climbing tea rose clings to a bamboo split-rail post fence surrounded by bush roses. The sunlight reflects from the walkway and warms the flowers and a huge clay pot sitting in a corner. In another photo, pots of 'Chimney Campanula' guard an old Jacobin chest sitting in a hall at Staunton Court. Sketches and photos are used to illustrate flowers all through the last half of the book--a flower dictionary with anectdotal and literary "blurbs" written by Robinson himself. Mitchell says Robinson "for all practical purposes invented gardening as we know it." Robinson's garden, 'Gravetye Manor' is a hop, skip and a jump from Sissinghurst, but few know of it's existence. Yet, Robinson is the "grandfather" of Sissinghurst, because Gertrude Jekyll who helped Mrs. Nichols design Sissinghurst, was Robinson's disciple.Read more ›
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