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Book Review: Gardenlust: A Botanical Tour of the World’s Best New Gardens

Gardenlust, by garden designer, Christopher Woods, is a virtual tour of 50 unique 21st century gardens around the world. From the Chihyly Garden and Glass in Seattle, Washington, and the cantilevered house and garden of Juan Grim on the coast of Chile, to the golden wall of pothos in Chian Mai, Thailand, and the petunia laden garden in Dubai, Woods’ travels provides a visual feast accompanied by detailed information on the history, design, and inspiration behind each garden. The result is a book that takes the reader on an inspiring journey that is sure to spark the desire to visit gardens and experience their potential for adding beauty to the world.

The book is divided into chapters devoted to a specific garden and arranged by their location in one of 8 major regions progressing from the Americas, and Europe to Australia and New Zealand, with stops in Asia, Africa, and the Arabian Peninsula. The gardens were selected to illustrate the diverse range of thinking and expression that defines contemporary design. Woods includes botanical gardens, public parks, private residential gardens, and corporate landscapes, and considers their forms, the needs they must fulfill, and the indicators of how garden design will progress as time goes on.

The description of each garden includes an abundance of very beautiful photographs to show the ambiance of the gardens as well as the plants themselves. Many of the photographs were taken by the author and all have captions he added that illuminate the design considerations in the plant selection process such as form, color and texture. Descriptions of plants include horticultural tips as well historical background, and numerous stories and anecdotes give a sense of the people who created the gardens and the way they approached the challenges of garden design.

Every page of this stunning book is filled with Woods’ enthusiasm and love for all things plant-related. It is very readable but can be enjoyed for its visual beauty and is both aesthetically and intellectually challenging and awe-inspiring. If I could only have one book on gardens, this would be it.

To buy Gardenlust from Amazon, click here.