Opening Gardenlust by Christopher Woods, I was uncertain the purpose of the book but I love looking at pretty gardens (inspiration!) so I was game! The book gave so much more than pretty though, it is intellectually challenging and mindset-shifting. Gardening and landscaping has the power to shape the human world and experience and this exploration of these 55 gardens highlights just that!

I thoroughly enjoyed the range of gardens from extreme modernism, with glass sculptures forming part of the garden, to the traditional wilds of China and everything in between. I learnt about plants, structure and form but mostly, the importance of having a clear purpose for the garden. This line summarises the book best:“What makes modern landscape design different from most other forms of contemporary art is our growing understanding of the effects of deforestation and climate change, the lessons to be learned by studying ethnobotany, the importance of an urban forest, and the impulse to use what we hope are ecologically appropriate or native plants.”

My favourite gardens include:

  • Sunnylands Center and Gardens – amazing use of yellows, greens and blues!
  • Chihuly Garden and Glass – glass is integrated into the design, like plants, amazing!
  • Mordecai Children’s Garden – designed to get children to spend more time outdoors
  • Parque Explorador Quilapilún – an environmental remediation project in Chile
  • The Tree Museum – a collection of rescued trees

The end of the book left me feeling I needed to visit each of these gardens, highly enjoyable (five out of five) and recommended!

From the back cover:

A steep hillside oasis in Singapore, a garden distinguished by shape and light in Marrakech, a haunting tree museum in Switzerland—these are just a few of the extraordinary outdoor havens visited in Gardenlust. In this sumptuous global tour of modern gardens, intrepid plant expert Christopher Woods spotlights 50 modern gardens that push boundaries and define natural beauty in significant ways. Featuring both private and public gardens, this journey makes its way from the Americas and Europe to Australia and New Zealand, with stops in Asia, Africa, and the Arabian Peninsula. Along the way, you’ll learn about the people, plants, and stories that make these iconic gardens so lust-worthy. As inspiring as it is insightful, Gardenlust will delight your passion for garden inspiration—and the many places it grows.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Timber Press through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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