Garden History: A Very Short Introduction

ISBN : 9780199689873

Gordon Campbell
176 Pages
111 x 174 mm
Pub date
Feb 2019
Very Short Introductions


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  • A celebration of gardens' many practical and aesthetic functions
  • Discusses iconic gardens from history, including the gardens of Suzhou, the temple garden of Nikko, the Medici gardens around Florence, the Escorial, and the Tudor gardens at Hampton Court Palace
  • Pinpoints cultural signposts and landmarks in gardens on a global scale
  • Discusses the future of the garden in terms of innovation and climate change

Gardens take many forms, and have a variety of functions. They can serve as spaces of peace and tranquility, a way to cultivate wildlife, or as places to develop agricultural resources. Globally, gardens have inspired, comforted, and sustained people from all walks of life, and since the Garden of Eden many iconic gardens have inspired great artists, poets, musicians, and writers. 
In this Very Short Introduction, Gordon Campbell embraces gardens in all their splendour, from parks, and fruit and vegetable gardens to ornamental gardens, and takes the reader on a globe-trotting historical journey through iconic and cultural signposts of gardens from different regions and traditions. Ranging from the gardens of ancient Persia to modern day allotments, he concludes by looking to the future of the garden in the age of global warming, and the adaptive spirit of human innovation. 


1. The ancient and medieval garden
2. The Islamic garden
3. The east Asian garden
4. Italy
5. France
6. Spain and Portugal
7. Northern Europe
8. Britain
9. America, Africa, and Australia
Postscript: the future history of the garden
Further reading
Index of people and places

About the author: 

Gordon Campbell is Fellow in Renaissance Studies at University of Leicester, and is a Fellow of the British Academy. In January 2012, he was presented with the Longman History Today Trustees Award for his life time contribution to history. He has authored and edited several books on literature, art, history, and biography, including the Bible: The Story of the King James Version (OUP, 2010) and The Hermit in the Garden: From Imperial Rome to Ornamental Gnome (OUP, 2013). He has travelled widely in scores of countries, visiting gardens all over the world.

"As informative as it is accessible, this compact and expertly researched historical chronicle surprises and delights." -- Garden Design Journal

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