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Gardens of the Sun

Trevor Nottle



10.5×7.5in • 26.7×19cm

208 pages

113 color plates

index included

ISBNs: 0881923656 • 9780881923650

Timber Press • 1997

I greatly enjoyed this book for its exuberant rambling style, written more in the 'stream of consciousness' manner that other recent books on Mediterranean climate gardening.   Trevor Nottle inspires the reader to analyze the whole approach to our garden making, starting with the important emotional response to our environment.   He encourages our ingenuity in finding appropriate solution that relate to our local situation.   The unique conditions of the Mediterranean climate are explored as is our folly in copying gardens from other climates.   The concept of 'pride of place' is held up again and again, helping us to see the advantages avialable within our gardening challenges.   I must admit that, at first, I found this a somewhat challenging read, only because I had expectations of a more typical, informational text.   But as I abandoned myself to Mr. Nottle's unusual, prosaic course, I enjoyed the ride very much!

Seán A. O'Hara

Discovering fresh approaches and new perspectives to garden making calls for a conscious decision to move away from horticultural styles and fashionable plants that are not well suited to warm, dry climates. This is not such an easy matter for many gardeners to contemplate with confidence. Understanding the need for change and acting to step outside the conventional ideas of gardening excellence are two distinct things. We may all know that water for gardening is getting more expensive and increasingly restricted in supply by the increasing demands for it for agriculture, industry, and domestic consumption. But how do we break free of gardening traditions founded in cooler, wetter climates? How to set aside the cultural baggage we carry with us about what gardens should look like, what they should contain, and what they celebrate of our sense of place and lifestyle?

Within the pages of Gardens of the Sun these matters are presented as challenges and opportunities for exciting, creative approaches to solving the 'problems' of gardening in warm, dry climates. Historical garden styles from those developed in Spain and India by the Moors and Mughals to those developed in Renaissance Italy are surveyed, not so that they might be copied but so that we may develop some sense of what was valued about those gardens. The masterpieces of English flower gardening are considered from the same angle with the intention that we may undestand why we cannot copy styles from other places and other climates and obtain happy, satisfying results. At the same time we can learn from gardens such as Hidcote Manor and Sissinghurst Castle. We can even learn something about gardening from the Royal Pavilion at Brighton!

There are chapters on using water wisely, developing soils and coping with difficult sites, and discovering plants that flower and thrive in Mediterranean climates, and there are encouraging words on what to do when plants fail and enthusiasm flags. With excellent appendices on seeds, sources and societies and a wide ranging bibliography this book will give readers many avenues to explore in search of ideas to spark creative garden-making.

As in his previous books, Trevor Nottle writes with flair and a touch of wry humour, drawing on his own experiences and those of his gardening friends world-wide to share information and expertise and bring enjoyment to all who make their gardens in the sun.

Timber Press

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