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Book review: A deep dive into an inspirational public garden


I’m coming to the conclusion that public gardens may be among the most under appreciated spaces on the planet. That’s not to say that they are not appreciated, just that they are not appreciated enough. 

I’m delighted every time I go to a public garden and I always enjoy it more than I expected to. I’ve particularly loved visiting Huntington Botanical Gardens and Chanticleer. Nothing would bring me more joy  than to visit every public garden I could find during multiple seasons. And yet I’ve seen the tiniest handful.

One of the gardens that’s at the top of my must-see list is Wave Hill in New York. Although I’ve read about it and seen photos from for years, the person who really piqued my interest about Wave Hill is Margaret Roach. She has referred to the garden and their experts for inspiration and education time and again.

This post may include affiliate links. See my complete disclosure here.

Nature into ArtAfter reading Thomas Christopher’s book Nature in to Art, which features stunning photos by Ngoc Minh Ngo, I can see why Margaret keeps going back to Wave Hill. 

A lot of books about specific gardens either provide excellent photos or good information, but achieving a balance of both is rare. Christopher’s book, however, does just that, providing not just information about the history and design of the garden, but also its inner workings; the things only those who work behind th scenes would know.

Chapters cover each part of the garden, with particular attention paid to how it changes through the seasons. There is also information such as the garden’s potting soil recipe, seed-starting procedures and pruning methods, making this book a great reference beyond just information specific to Wave Hill.

The photos are reproduced expertly on glossy paper. Matte paper seems to be in vogue lately, but it does no favors to saturated photos of gardens, so this detail was a refreshing change.

Wave Hill is still on my short list for gardens I need to visit. But Nature in Art is tiding me over in the meantime. And when I do get there, I think I’ll enjoy it all the more for having read this book. 

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3 Responses

  1. You are right about public gardens being so overlooked. Right in your area are a few that I love visiting and spending time in. The Rotary Garden at Janesville , WI is one of my favorites. The Chicago Botanic Garden and even the gardens at Millennium Park are awe inspiring. Olbrich Garden in Madison, WI is another enchanting place. I haven’t been to Boerner Botanical Garden at Hales Corners, WI, but definitely want to go. It gets great reviews. I love going to these places to get ideas for my gardens and even more for the wonderful, serene feeling they fill me with. The worries of the world are lifted away.

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