Chasing Eden: Design Inspiration from the Gardens at Hortulus Farm

Timber. Jan. 2020. 272p. ISBN 9781604698732. $35. GARDENING
Staub (Private Gardens of South Florida, Alluring Lettuces) and Reynolds (The Art of the Party, coauthored with Staub) offer a history of their 100-acre, 18th-century farmstead, located in Bucks County, PA. Purchased in 1979, the property became an Affiliate Garden of the Garden Conservancy in 2015. This book traces how two urban transplants transformed their original 15-acre “unruly” property into a destination farm, garden, and museum that is now open to the public. The authors’ stated intention is to show the average gardener examples of how to use fundamental principles of classic garden design along with rule-bending strategies when needed. Each chapter covers how basic rules of design have been adapted to unique conditions and challenging situations. Useful lists of “Do’s and Don’ts” summarize the key points of each section. The authors humbly share their frustrations and failures along their path to success. Stunning photos add impact and appeal.
VERDICT Staub and Reynolds provide gardening inspiration, entertaining reading, and horticultural education in a title that a wide range of hobbyists, garden historians, and design professionals should enjoy.

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