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Sun-Drenched Gardens: The Mediterranean Style Hardcover – October 2, 2002


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Sun-Drenched Gardens: The Mediterranean Style + Gardening the Mediterranean Way: How to Create a Waterwise, Drought-Tolerant Garden + Mediterranean Landscape Design: Vernacular Contemporary
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N. Abrams; 1ST edition (October 2, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810932903
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810932906
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 9.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #72,973 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Imagine journeying to the Mediterranean region, with the scent of crushed thyme underfoot, the silhouettes of Italian cypress trees towering against an azure sky, and structures like rose-draped arbors and stone pavilions providing respite from the afternoon sun. As a style of gardening, Mediterranean landscaping is more popular and widely emulated than ever. By way of illustrating the desirable features associated with the sun-drenched gardenscape, Smithen and Lewis focus on 25 exemplary settings in California, the South of France, Italy, and Spain. Along with widely photographed garden estates of great repute, images of less grand private homes should suggest design ideas for do-it-yourself types. This is a marvelous sourcebook of possibilities for hardscaping, ornamentation, and planting schemes that readers can share with their professional designers or that they themselves can use to create or enhance their gardens. With Smithen's narration and Lewis' sublime photographs, garden lovers can look forward to enjoying a conceptual journey where the light is piercing and fragrance hangs heavy on the air. Alice Joyce
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Review

With the increasing global warming and warmer, wetter winters, a study of mediterranean style gardening has more pertinence than ever before. Acclaimed US garden writer Jan Smith, accompanied by the talented photographer Lucinda Lewis, present a stunning discourse on mediterranean gardening. Interpreting "mediterranean" more as a type of climate, flora and garden style than geographically, they also encompass Californian gardens where the drought tolerant planting of Southern Europe is emulated in their similar weather pattern. From the Moorish splendours of Spain with its Islamic overtones to Renaissance villas in Italy and the formal French parterres, the author and photographer travel through these sun-drenched oasis', capturing the hazy, heat-covered vistas of arid yet still green countryside and coast which provide the backdrop to the hidden jewels of private gardens they discover. Punctuated with the silver leaves of olives, cistus and other drought-resistant shrubs and trees, the landscape is awash with scent, warmth and softness. Gardens are formalised with spires of cypress and toparied box, pergolas and arbours drip with bougainvillea and wisteria, epitomising what is commonly regarded as the mediterranean style. Steeped in history and ancient architectural features, the gardens offer shade from the blazing sun, water features adding a coolness to these verdant havens. A truly inspirational book for gardeners in the UK with planting ideas, landscaping suggestions and pictures to dream and aspire to. - Lucy Watson

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on December 8, 2002
Format: Hardcover
An informative and intrinsically interesting text by Jan Smithen (who teaches the art and science of gardening at the Los Angeles County Arboretum) comprises Sun-Drenched Gardens: The Mediterranean Style. This is a remarkable work which is superbly enhanced with memorably stunning full color images by professional photographer Lucinda Lewis showcasing lush, cultivated, verdant gardens flourishing through the mild winters and dry summers of the Mediterranean climate. Sculpted foliage, antique pots, majestic gazebos and much more fill this captivating, memorably visual tour which is enthusiastically recommended for gardeners, horticulturalists, and the non-specialist general reader.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Alain Moreau on February 25, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This an important work for those concerned with garden design. There are many examples of the Mediterranean Style, with emphasis on French, Italian, and Californian interpretations. The volume is light on text and heavy on pictures (and they are of exceptional quality). At times, the captions neglect to inform the reader of the dominant plant's identity. This is a good introductory volume for the hobbyist and would be a valuable tool for designers to use with clients to clarify and illustrate the style. Great advocacy for use of drought tolerant plants.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Cynthia S. Froning on March 8, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Living in Colorado, sun-drenched, low-water gardens are pretty much required (at least in my yard: I have about 10 sq. ft. of shade). This book provides an attractive overview of the Mediterranean garden style using some textual descriptions and many photos, with an emphasis on pics of Italian and southern California gardens. Even though many of the classic Mediterranean garden plants are not hardy for me, this book is still useful for studying the structure and design elements of a Mediterranean garden. My only complaint is that the photos appear washed out. I'm sure this was deliberate --- these are "sun-drenched" gardens, after all --- but it makes the detailed structure and the individual plants difficult to discern.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Southern Review on May 25, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Sunshine is the most defining element of a mediterranean garden. Pliny the Younger (AD 61-113) wrote of the detached room in his own garden with its cool marble floors. It was open on all sides and covered with vines. He loved to rest in the airy green shade.

In a bright and arid climate, the contrasts provide a breathtaking visual and sensory experience that this book passionately and successfully conveys.

It features ideas such as those based on a French tese with a shady tunnel of green clipped shrubs that function as doorways to sequential rooms, - Italian gardens sliced out of terracing and covered with alluring ancient pietra dura, - niches with terra-cotta figures, grottos, and Southern Californian water features.

The lavishly, and skillfully photographed book is divided into chapters that demonstrate how to achieve the mediterranean look in plantings, introduce shade and water features, create structure with various types of enclosures, design with clipped and pruned greenery, and adroitly use gravel, stone, and other paving materials instead of lawns.

The book is an inspiration and sensory delight.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Mary Jane on November 2, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is serving as a good reference material for me. Living in the a sub-tropical region, where water is short and the hot/dry season is similar to a mediterrean climate I have been successfully using some of the garden ideas to landscape my own garden. I would recommend this book for the garden enthusiast who wants to start a garden where the soil is not idea and water is scarce, or just for some

one who wishes to grow plants which will thrive in subtropical regions.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on March 4, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was looking for inspirations for a remodel of my So-Cal 1980 house's backyard... I've learned that Mediterranean plants thrive really well in San Diego, and the description of the book mentioned an example of a Californian garden, so I thought I would be able to learn something from this book. While the pictures in this book was extraordinary and awe-inspiring, I find it hard to apply the designs in the book. They are elegant and extravagant, and would be more fitting to a garden of an expensive European-style mansion, than to my oh-so middle class home. If I had a Roman fountain, water lily pond or Greek statues in my backyard, maybe this would be the book for me.
In summary, great book, sadly I'm not the right audience.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By vivian on April 27, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When I had to return this to the library I couldn't let some of the ideas and pictures go so made 10 Kinko's color copies of great ideas to show the landscaper. Then I realized that for the price of the few copies I could buy the used book from Amazon. A dreamy romp through gorgeous gardens that will give pleasure and inspiration for years to come.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Peggy Aasheim on January 24, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Beautiful and inspiring to any gardener. I have especially enjoyed it during these cold Winter months. I'd love to see these gardens up close.
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