Author(s): Stephen Harris
This beautifully illustrated book charts the role of the garden from the beginning of the sixteenth century to the end of the nineteenth century. In this age of discovery, when the world was being explored as never before, gardening took on new dimensions. Gardens had long been associated with Paradise and while this notion persisted, the Renaissance belief in direct observation of nature offered an alternative way of thinking and cleared the way for the scientific approach of the Enlightenment. Whatever people's fundamental beliefs were, plants proved an endless source of fascination and this was a time when the basic pattern of plant diversity was mapped. In the nineteenth century the evolutionary biologist Alfred Russell Wallace enthused about the perfection of the Durian fruit, 'It produces no nausea or other bad effect, and the more you eat of it, the less inclined you feel to stop'. Sensations such as this motivated plant collectors, and soon European gardens became enriched with plants imported from all over the world. Gardens were not only places of beauty but became laboratories for scientific investigation and storehouses for an ever increasing range of novelty plants. While the botanic gardens of early modern Europe had been largely a means of supplying surgeons with medicines, by the seventeenth and eighteenth century the interest in gardens had spread to all levels of society. Gardens became a tapestry of many diverse botanical histories: some plants were native, some were introduced and others evolved in the garden. This book shows how the garden became a symbol of human interactions within the botanical world.
About the author:
Stephen Harris is Druce Curator of the Oxford University Herbaria, and University Research Lecturer at Green College.
"This beautifully illustrated book examines the role of the garden in Britain, from the sixteenth to the twentieth centuries. In doing so, the whole world is involved as plants are discovered and brought into use for medicinal and commercial purposes. The discovery of seed development, Darwin's influence, the removal of mysticism, and the development of glass houses brought an understanding of how plants grow. . . . The book includes wonderful lithographs and reproductions of early rare manuscripts. "Planting paradise" is worthy of study."--Adele Kleine "Chicago Botanic Garden "
Stephen Harris is Druce Curator of the Oxford University Herbaria, and University Research Lecturer at Green College