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1001 Gardens You Must See Before You Die Paperback – April 12, 2007

3.8 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This gorgeous volume is like porn for horticulturists. Gardens from all around the world in every possible climate, style and size fill this book to bursting. Here are public spaces everyone knows—like Central Park in New York City, Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens in Canada and Les Jardins des Tuileries in Paris—as well as gardens only the most well-traveled ever get to see; such as Bagh-e Eram in Iran or Jargu Jui Sculpture Park in Romania. Many privately owned, rarely viewed gardens are featured as well, such as Brook Cottage Garden in Oxfordshire, England; Vico Morcote in Ticino, Switzerland; and Rustenberg Farm Gardens in Western Cape, South Africa. Whether one prefers modern sculpture gardens, formal flower gardens or Japanese Zen landscapes, Spencer-Jones's impressive team of 70 photographers, writers and horticulturists have captured them all in concise detail. While some readers might have preferred more and bigger photos (sadly, some entries don't come with pictures at all), most garden lovers will appreciate the comprehensive history, design and climate information that accompanies each entry. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

This beautifully designed if hefty resource serves as the ultimate garden-based vacation-planning guide for lovers of paradise landscapes and flourishing green spaces. Editor Spencer-Jones, along with dozens of contributors, describes 1,001 world gardens in brief essays providing insights into the gardens' engaging history, enchanting stylistic elements, and seasonal spectacles, as well as profiling garden makers and designers from Indian rajahs and Moroccan sultans to Edith Wharton and Claude Monet. Organized by region, the survey brims with vivid anecdotes, useful information, and alluring images. The worldwide panoply of gardens encompasses every style and type of habitat from wet tropical to temperate to arid in naturalistic settings, formal estates, private havens, and botanical wonderlands, as well as examples of such innovations as France's fantastical Les Jardins de L'Imaginaire. Surely the best compendium to date for both the botanically inclined armchair traveler who likes to dream and the intrepid sojourner preparing for a tour. Alice Joyce
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 960 pages
  • Publisher: Cassell Illustrated (April 12, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844034984
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844034987
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 2.2 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,616,509 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAME on July 4, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Before evaluating this book, I must say I'm stunned by the amount of work that must have gone on to identify 1001 excellent gardens around the world and to describe and illustrate them. Thank you, Rae Spencer-Jones, and your 70 contributors for this incredible effort.

If you are like me, you'll be overwhelmed by the sheer number of gardens. As I looked in every area of the world I've ever visited, I saw or read about gardens that I wished I had known about on prior trips. As an example, the book describes a garden within 10 miles of my home that I've never visited because people have told me that it was nothing special. Since the book has both a fine description and an excellent photograph, I can see that I've been misinformed. I would undoubtedly love this garden and plan to visit it over the weekend.

If you love gardens, you would be foolish not to buy and treasure this book as a resource if you ever travel. Why? You can start with the list of gardens in the areas where you are going and do more research from there to see which ones will be most satisfying to you. I don't know of another alternative place to start for those who want to take garden tours on their own while traveling.

That said, any book that attempts to describe 1001 gardens is going to have a big drawback . . . not much detail about any one garden. In fact, although there are hundreds of images in the book, most gardens don't have any images.

That weakness is compounded by the book being produced in a small page size that resembles Petit Larousse.

Did they miss any good gardens? I don't know, but every garden I've ever visited and enjoyed was in the book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am puzzled by the previous one-star negative review - did the reviewer understand the intent of this book? It is a directory of beautiful gardens throughout the world, not necessarily meant to "inspire" although I am sure that would happen if you actually visited the gardens. As for the photos, I thought they were wonderful. Sure, some are smaller, but they are still outstanding and correctly illustrate the type of garden that it is. And there are plenty of full page photos, usually every 5 pages or so features one. True, not all gardens have photos but the majority of them do.

Each garden profile features a three or four paragraph narrative description accompanied by an info box that identifies the garden designer, owner, garden style, size, climate and location. The gardens featured in this book are arranged geographically from west to east and north to south beginning with North America and ending with Austrailia and New Zealand.
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Format: Hardcover
I'm quite surprised that no earlier reviews mention the fact that this is a very unfortunately organized book! Unlike the "Garden Lovers Guide to ...." series, no introductory annotated maps! There is a Garden Names Index which is useful only if you already know the name of the garden you'd like to learn about! (In which case you probably wouldn't need this book!) You can start looking at European gardens, for instance, (as noted in the Contents) on page 136. As you begin to flip through the section, you'll find a few gardens in Russia, followed by one in Norway, one in Finland and then some in Sweden. If you want to find gardens in France or Germany, keep flipping, keep flipping, keep flipping.... through 220 pages on England .... Altogether more than 600 pages, unindexed, of European gardens.

With locator maps and a region-by-region index, this book might have been useful. To be truly useful, it would have included contact information for the garden visitor.

Unfortunately, it has none of the above. The book's editors must have all been asleep when this one came across the desk!
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Whoever decided on the exact order in which the articles in this book are organized, must have had some strange considerations and rules. It is not arranged alphabetically, it is not grouped by continent, and not even by country - so what policy has been followed by the creators of this book? When you have 1001 different items to describe and depict, then you must have a method of organizing the material. What is with the chaos and randomness? Also, the awfully small-sized photos do not serve any particular purpose, other than to further infuriate and irritate the reader. And the proportion (or rather "disproportion") of European versus other gardens is also inexplicable. And, certain countries are over-represented, while other countries don't even make it into this book whatsoever, despite the ambitious "1001 Gardens" title. Overall, not such a good book.
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Format: Hardcover
For garden-lovers a 1,000 page book crammed chockfull with gardens the world over is an enticing prospect - though the suggestion you must all see them before you die is a bit fanciful, and symptomatic of the depersonalized, random consumerism of today's "must-see", "must-have" and "must-do" lists. Unfortunately, the book itself is not quite what it could have been. Quantity decidedly triumphed over quality. Photographs are mostly small, often quite crude and grainy, and as often unnaturally, even luridly colored. Many hardly give an impression of a garden at all, but instead focus on detail or architecture. Descriptive entries are brief and superficial. Entries are arranged geographically, from north to south and from west to east, with remarkably confusing results. The accent is very strongly on Europe, the whole of China being despatched in less pages than the Netherlands. If you are looking for a gazetteer to guide you to interesting gardens while planning a travel itinerary, this book might just give you a useful handle. If you are looking for pleasing garden images or indepth information, look elsewhere.
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