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Gardens of Persiaby Penelope Hobhouse
Synopses & Reviews
Gardens of Persia demonstrates world-renowned author Penelope Hobhouse's rare ability to combine meticulous research and a practical knowledge of gardens and plants with a love of garden history and travel. By telling the story of the development of gardens throughout the Persian culture's 5,000-year-old history, she imparts a passionate view of the Persian paradise garden as a model for today's gardeners.
Buildings, water, and plants combine to give the gardens of Persia a beautiful spiritual quality that has served to inspire garden design across time and diverse cultures. Indeed, Ms. Hobhouse begins with the oldest living garden, Pasargadae, created by Cyrus the Great in 550 BC. It represented paradise on earth and spawned other gardens to be seen as settings for sacred contemplation and spiritual nourishment. In later centuries, these gardens evolved further around the world as representations for romance, power, prestige, and symbols of the afterlife.
Gardens of Persia is beautifully illustrated with Jerry Harpur's specially commissioned photographs of Persian gardens as well as with similarly inspired ones from around the world, and with lovely images of sumptuous carpets and Persian miniatures.
"The basic design of the Persian garden can be traced back to the sixth century B.C. and was seminal to the development of Islamic, Indian and Western European styles. Noted garden writer, designer, historian and lecturer Hobhouse traces the evolution of the Persian garden and its impact, combining impressive scholarship with a gardener's practical insights. Her portrait of life in and around what is now Iran viewed through the prism of its gardens spans two and a half millennia and touches on virtually every major civilization. In this mostly arid region, gardening was synonymous with water. It was so important that Cyrus the Younger ranked the management of that resource one of 'the noblest and most necessary pursuits.' Hobhouse explores the interplay among architecture, trade, religion, warfare, government and horticulture with text that is meticulously researched but comfortably conversational. Numerous photographs, diagrams and reproductions illuminate her descriptions, and the time line of the Royal Houses of Persia, glossary of Persian terms, listing of Persian plants and exhaustive bibliography will be helpful for casual readers, garden designers and scholars alike. Curiously, despite Hobhouse's acute sense of the region's geography, the only two maps included are inadequate; a detailed topographic view of the area would have been welcome. Still, this is a dazzling look at the evolution of a beautiful and peaceful tradition. (Feb.) Forecast: An eight-city author tour (tied in with Hobhouse's keynote speeches at symposiums sponsored by Horticulture magazine) and an NPR segment on the book will energize sales. It should be a hit not only with gardeners but also with the Mideast-American community." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
A distinguished chronicle of the Persian garden that explores its profound spiritual, historical, and virtually unacknowledged influence on the development of Western garden design in the 21st century.
About the Author
Penelope Hobhouse is a best-selling author as well as a garden designer whose acclaimed landscapings are found throughout The United States and Europe. Her designs include a garden for the Queen Mother. For fourteen years, with her husband, she was in charge of the National Trust Gardens in England. Her many accolades include the Royal Horticultural Society's Victoria Medal of Honour and the Garden Writers' Lifetime Achievement Award.Jerry Harpur's award-winning photographs have been published in House & Garden, Architectural Digest, Gardens Illustrated, and a host of books.
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