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The Most Beautiful Gardens in the World
Synopses & Reviews
Gardens are unique creations, reflecting not only the landscape, flora, and climate of their environments but also the heritage-the history, architectural styles, and influences-of the cultures that made them. From the fountain gardens of the Iranian desert to the whimsical "Garden of Cosmic Speculation" in Scotland, from the Zen gardens of Buddhist temples to the Impressionist gardens in Giverny, the huge variety of gardens around the globe is a testament to our age-old desire to tame and refashion nature.
In The Most Beautiful Gardens in the World photographer Alain Le Toquin celebrates the diversity of these manmade landscapes, capturing 31 of the greatest public and private gardens on five continents, including Majorelle in Morocco, the Versailles gardens outside Paris, the Keukenhof flower show park in The Netherlands, and the Huntington Gardens in California. With more than 150 images and 12 gatefolds featuring spectacular panoramic photographs, this gorgeous book will captivate travelers and garden admirers alike, and will inspire gardeners themselves with fresh ideas for design, horticulture, and use.
"*Gorgeous photographs by French luminary le Toquin render this impressive coffee-table tome one of the most awe-inspiring garden books in years, and lively text by Bosser only heightens its appeal. The book's scope is grand-encompassing such exotic locales as Morocco, Singapore and New Zealand-but perhaps the most breathtaking photographs are of the unexpected garden havens in Iran. 'The Persian garden was not designed for strolling. The prince was carried in his sedan chair to an open pavilion or to the edge of a pool to mediate, hear music, write verse or listen to recitations,' Bosser writes when describing the ancient water garden of Bagh-e Fin. Fold-out sections provide panoramic views of such escapes as the jewel-toned gardens of Yves Saint Laurent's labyrinthine Marrakech oasis and a kitchen garden in Loire Valley, France, in which vibrant green, leafy cabbages take on the beauty of blossoms. Le Toquin displays his love of the more playful side of garden architecture in a stop at the Nymphaeum of Villa Visconti Borromeo Litta outside Milan, a stone pavilion built over a spring and decorated heavily with (what else?) stone nymphs, and makes the unusual choice of capturing the gardens of Versailles in winter; snow blankets the nude statuary and offers a unique view of the gardens' 'bones.' With its sumptuous full-color photographs, this visual tour is a necessary indulgence for armchair gardeners. A detailed section providing the location and contact information for nearly all the public gardens featured also makes it a handy reference for readers whose ambitions-and resources-equal le Toquin's own." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Book News Annotation:
Photographer Le Toquin spent three years traveling to 16 countries to create images of extraordinary gardens, among them: an Iranian walled garden--a startling contrast of controlled trees in a desolate plain surrounded by crags; a Moroccan enclave--preserving historical palms and buildings together; irises and water lilies irrationally waiting for Monet's return to Giverny; massive stones with Latin letters inscribed waiting for reassembly by some massive hand in Little Sparta. In this oversize volume (11.5x11.5") the photos are presented full page, or bigger, accompanied by historical and descriptive narrative. The gardens, which defy narrow definitions, are located in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Russia, the US, Asia and New Zealand. The book was first published in French (2004: Editions de La Martinière, Paris).
Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Water lilies, reflecting ponds, a Japanese footbridge, and blankets of glorious flowers: Nothing evokes Claude Monetand#8217;s Impressionist paintings quite like images from his gardens at Giverny, about 50 miles northwest of Paris. Monet discovered a profound source of artistic renewal in these gardens, a motif that appears in hundreds of his works. In Claude Monetand#8217;s Gardens at Giverny, Dominique Lobsteinand#8217;s dynamic text introduces us to the many personalities that have strolled through these gardens and the role this setting played in Monetand#8217;s life, while Jean-Pierre Gilsonand#8217;s lush four-season photographs offer a tour through the literally thousands of flowersand#8212;daffodils, irises, poppies, tulips, and moreand#8212; winding pathways, arching trellises, cherry trees heavily laden with blossoms, and, of course, the iconic water garden. This book brings to life critical moments in Monetand#8217;s biography, presenting a vivid glimpse into the beloved artistand#8217;s personal experiences and creative universe.
In Secret Gardens, readers experience the magic of discovering beautiful, intricately planned, and meticulously cultivated hidden worlds. More than 200 spectacular images showcase 13 private gardens, extraordinary examples of landscape design that are usually inaccessible to the public, and which have neverandmdash;or very rarelyandmdash;been featured in any publication. From France, Spain, Germany, the Caribbean, Australia, New Zealand, and more, these gardens o ffer a dizzying range of horticultural and conceptual diversity. The designers reflect on the steps that went into bringing the garden to life, and the book concludes with biographies of landscape architects whose work is featured within, explaining the creative vision of some of the most respected design professionals working today.
About the Author
Alain Le Toquin has photographed gardens around the world for the last ten years. To date, he has visited more than 300 gardens in 23 countries on 5 continents. His photographs can be seen in Gardens in Time, The Most Beautiful Gardens in the World, and Flowers in the Worldand#39;s Most Beautiful Gardens.
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