The Garden: Elements and Styles

Phaidon. Feb. 2023. 304p. ISBN 9781838666163. $49.95. REF
From allée to zeitgeist, Musgrave’s (The British Garden) compendium is an open invitation to explore gardens through a highly accessible lens. While students and professionals can use the dictionary to look up an auricula theater or learn about carpet bedding, generalists can simply read the book, dipping in and out as interest guides them, delighting in the images and text. The more than 200 entries are brief but packed with detail. Rather than solely defining a term, Musgrove places it into context and uses photos to expand upon concepts. For example, the entry on xeriscape gardens defines the Greek source of the word, explains it, details how such gardens have developed, outlines the impacts of climate change on their necessity, provides several notable examples, and includes three images to highlight their range, all while pointing readers to a related term, gravel gardens, discussed earlier in the work. Although addressing garden history, Musgrove does not include entries that reflect the work of enslaved people, and listings of colonial gardens focus largely on design.
VERDICT The reference use of the title will be high, but consider buying it for the circulating collection too, for this is a work that readers will pore over.
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