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The Golden Age of American Gardens: Proud Owners * Private Estates * 1890-1940 Hardcover – September 30, 1991
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From Publishers Weekly
A hybrid mix of social and horticultural history, this book captures the spirit of a largely vanished world. Gardening, as the authors tell us, has long been a favorite pastime of wealthy Americans--a way to do good and to look good. At no time was the passion more prevalent than during a 50-year period spanning the turn of the century, when the affluent embarked on extensive efforts to transform their estates into bucolic showplaces. Griswold and Weller, two writers who are both to the garden born, take the reader on a coast-to-coast tour of these green enclaves, starting in New England and ending up in the Pacific Northwest. By charting the creation, evolution and, in some cases, the demise of both legendary and lesser-known gardens, they capture the mores of an era in which gardens were the product of toil by a large and willing staff and grounds were the scene for many a social stratagem. The authors, acknowledged members of the social class they describe, strike a tone that sounds a tad smug, making much of family names and connections. However, in this book a preoccupation with provenance is perhaps not out of place. Illustrated. Garden Book Club alternate.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top customer reviews
Has many small pictures of famous private estate gardens from every region of the country, 1890 - 1940.
This book is very inspirational. It puts into context the contributions of garden architect luminary, Fredrick Law Olmsted and horticulturists,Charles Sprague Sargent and Horatio Hollis Hunnwell. The book also has an extensive bibliography, 10 pages with three columns per page!
I only wished some of the pictures had been larger.
While many of the pictures are in color; there are some in black & white that I wished had been in color too.
The fact the authoresses are from the East Coast is embarrasingly obvious; segments on the West are consilliatory at best. Considering the birth of the silver screen, I find it a gross oversight not to include photos of the great Hollywood gardens, save one distant shot of Harold Loyd's estate...a "Golden Age" with no silver screen...?!
So if you're from the West Coast or areas between east and west, you might be dissappointed, but the book is wonderful regardless.
And we already knew what they thought of our "new money", didn't we?