Live Oak Splendor

John Feltwell, Author Taylor Publishing Company (TX) $35 (182p) ISBN 978-0-87833-807-8
Woodenly written, this book about the green Deep South is full of repetition, most noticeably in a chapter on allees. The prose is dull, and it is not helped by the dry historical quotations that open each chapter. These grand, imposing gardens--from the well-known Rosedown and Dunleith to less familiar homes, like The Cottage and Houmas House--obviously deserve livelier, more inspiring descriptions. Other questionable elements come into play: Feltwell and Odenwald tend to dismiss the slave labor on which most of the establishments depended (comparing it to the management of estates of Europe). Still, the area along the Mississippi between Natchez and New Orleans is indeed a treasure trove of living history. The authors do place the gardens in historical perspective, tracing structures and designs--whether gazebos or greenhouses--back to Europe origins. Odenwald ( Southern Plants ) is a professor of landscape architecture at Louisiana State University; Feltwell ( The Naturalist's Garden ) is a lecturer on garden design at the University of Kent in England. Photos not seen by PW . (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 09/28/1992
Release date: 10/01/1992
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