England's Magnificent Gardens How a Billion-Dollar Industry Transformed a Nation, from Charles II to Today

Format: Hardcover
Pub. Date: 2021-06-15
Publisher(s): Pantheon
List Price: $40.00

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An altogether different kind of book on English gardens--the first of its kind--a look at the history of England's magnificent gardens as a history of Britain itself, from the 17th century gardens of Charles II to those of Prince Charles' today; how gardens transformed England; what they cost in their time and the billion dollar industry they created.

"One of the most important books on garden history in the last half century--and for anyone serious about the subject, Floud's book is a must buy."--Historic Gardens

In this rich, revelatory history, Sir Roderick Floud, one of Britain's pre-eminent economic historians, writes that gardens have been created in Britain since Roman times, but their true growth began in the 17th century and by the 18th century, nurseries in London were 100 acres with ten million (!) plants, worth more than all of the nurseries in France combined.

Floud's book takes us through more than three centuries of English history as he writes of the kings, queens and princes whose garden obsession, changed the landscape of England itself, through Stuart, Georgian, and Victorian England up through today's Windsors.

We see the designers of royal estates--among them, Henry Wise, William Kent, Humphrey Repton and England's greatest of all gardeners, "Capability" Brown, who created the 150 acre lake of Blenheim Palace (it took six years to excavate and two years to fill with water) who earned millions annually, and who designed more than 170 parks, many still in existence today.

And we see how gardening became a major catalyst for innovation (central heating came from experiments to heat greenhouses with hot-water pipes); how the new iron industry of industrializing Britain, supplied a myriad of tools (mowers, pumps and the boilers that heated the greenhouses); how gardens came to influence architecture (the Crystal Palace) and finally, Floud explores how gardening became a billion dollar industry as well as an art form and by the 19th century, was unrivalled anywhere in the world.

Author Biography

Sir RODERICK FLOUD was born in Barnes, England, and was educated at Oxford in economic history. He holds honorary fellowships from Cambridge, Oxford, and the Historical Association, as well as honorary degrees from City University London and the University of Westminster. Floud is a Fellow of the British Academy and of the Academia Europaea and received a knighthood for services to higher education.

Table of Contents

Introduction · 3
1 The English Garden in 1660 and 2020 · 7
2 Gardens and the State · 23
3 The Great Gardens · 55
4 Designers · 118
5 The Nursery Trade · 162
6 The Working Gardener · 197
7 Technology · 224
8 The People’s Gardens · 276
9 Kitchen Gardens · 312
10 Conclusion · 344
Acknowledgements · 351
List of Gardens · 353
Notes · 359
Selected Bibliography · 389
Index · 401

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