"The Making of the English Gardener" by Margaret Willes

The Making of the English Gardener Plants, Books and Inspiration, 1560-1660 Margaret Willes

Publication date:
20 Jul 2013
Yale University Press
312 pages: 197 x 127mm
80 b-w +24 pp. color illus.
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The people and publications at the root of a national obsession

In the century between the accession of Elizabeth I and the restoration of Charles II, a horticultural revolution took place in England, making it a leading player in the European horticultural game. Ideas were exchanged across networks of gardeners, botanists, scholars, and courtiers, and the burgeoning vernacular book trade spread this new knowledge still further—reaching even the growing number of gardeners furnishing their more modest plots across the verdant nation and its young colonies in the Americas.

Margaret Willes introduces a plethora of garden enthusiasts, from the renowned to the legions of anonymous workers who created and tended the great estates. Packed with illustrations from the herbals, design treatises, and practical manuals that inspired these men—and occasionally women—Willes's book enthrallingly charts how England's garden grew.

Margaret Willes, the former Publisher for the National Trust, has written and illustrated numerous books. She lives in London.

“Willes, who was a publisher for the National Trust, is a true bibliophile who has undertaken an ambitious piece of research that will be invaluable to students of gardens and their history.”—Rosie Atkins, History Today

“…..all can enjoy the illuminating way Willes puts gardens into context.”—Gardens Illustrated

“Avoid the glut of picture books that blossom at this time of year for this serious study of the social life of the English garden. It will fascinate serious horticulturalists with its explanation of the how the country had already undergone a radical revolution in gardening before the 18th century, which so many thought was its heyday.”—Country and Town House Magazine