Royal Gardens of the World: 25 Celebrated Gardens from the Alhambra to Highgrove and Beyond

Mark Lane. Kyle, $45 (240p) ISBN 978-0-85783-801-8
Lane, a host of the BBC television series Gardeners’ World, conducts a “Grand Tour” of “some of the most iconic royal gardens” around the world in his tasteful if buttoned-up guide. Writing that these spaces, at their best, “leave a living legacy, a natural work of art, which adapts, morphs and reinvents itself,” Lane chooses sites for their impact on garden design and history, as well as accessibility (all gardens included are open to the public). Highlights include the fountains of Versailles, picked to demonstrate the importance of water features in French gardens, and Austria’s Shönbrunn, with its 10,000 varieties of daffodils. Lane also explores the gardens surrounding India’s Taj Mahal, designed to evoke “the four gardens of paradise mentioned in the Qur’an,” and the U.K.’s Highgrove, which reveals its owner, Prince Charles, as a “devoted environmentalist.” Lane’s somewhat staid account, however, fails to provide a feeling of being on the ground or to viscerally evoke a garden’s sights and sounds, though the beautiful color photographs compensate a little. This survey is akin to a comfortable guided bus tour: pleasant but otherwise unremarkable. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 09/08/2020
Release date: 09/01/2020
Genre: Lifestyle
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