Daffodil Days: A Reading List

Tue, 04/10/2018 - 11:21am -- baglio

In honor of this year's Daffodil Days here in Newport, Redwood has compiled a reading list to get you thinking about whimsical days spent enjoying your garden, and other botanical delights. Come take out one of our many horticultural books from our Hamilton collection, and be inspired to start planning your next floral heaven!

 

Daffodil: Biography of a Flower

By, Helen O'Neill

A beautifully illustrated, visually lush and intriguing book about the world's most popular and most powerful flower. The daffodil is the beautiful first flower of spring, the inspiration of poets, a treasure-trove to scientists and a symbol of everything from unrequited love, rebirth, eternal life and misfortune. Over centuries, the daffodil has been so many things to so many people: it was called 'Narcissus' by the Greeks and prized by the Romans as guarantee of passage to the Underworld; it was used by medieval Arabs and ancient Chinese for its medicinal properties and it has inspired poets, lovers, artists and scientists down the ages. But in telling the story of the daffodil, what award-winning, best-selling writer Helen O'Neill is really telling is the story of humanity. It's a narrative of progress from superstition and myth, taking in politics, greed, religion, science, chance, redemption and love. But, appropriately enough for a flower that is now used on a worldwide basis to raise funds for cancer research, it is, above all, a story of hope. Moving, fascinating, eloquent, and also beautiful. 'O'Neill manages to make a biography of a flower feel like something of a detective novel, love story, historical drama and horticultural research paper rolled into one' Sydney Morning Herald.

 

American Gardens in the EIghteenth Century "For Use and Delight"

By, Ann Leighton

American Gardens in the Eighteenth Century is the second of three authoritative volumes of garden history by Ann Leighton. This entertaining book focuses on eightenth-century gardens and gardening. Leighton's material for the book was drawn from letters, journals, invoices, and books of men and women who were interested in the plants of the New and Old World. Throughout the book are illustrations and descriptive listings of native and new plants that were cultivated during the eighteenth century.

 
By, Christopher Brickell
 
The American Horticultural Society Encyclopedia of Gardening is the one and only practical guide to gardening you'll ever need. The comprehensive, authoritative, and up-to-date text -- supported by more than 3,000 specially commissioned color photographs -- guides you expertly through the entire range of gardening techniques. The first section of the book, Creating the Garden, opens with detailed information on garden planning and design. Other chapters focus on the major plant groups, including trees, shrubs, and perennials, as well as special areas such as the fruit garden and indoor garden. Each chapter presents detailed. Each chapter presents detailed, in-depth coverage of soil preparation, planting, routine care, pruning and propagation with step-by-step photographs and artwork. Important plant groups, such as hostas, daylillies, an peonies, are highlighted. The second section of the book, Maintaining the Garden, covers tools and materials as well as soil an climate in different regions of the United States. Construction projects, from putting up fencing to building a pergola, are covered with easy-to-follow photographic sequences. A gallery of pests and diseases aids in quick identification and control. There is also a gardener's calendar with seasonal reminders and an extensive glossary. Written by Experts: Endorsed by the American Horticultural Society, the Encyclopedia of Gardening has been expertly researched and written by a team of more than 50 distinguished international gardening specialists. Four years in the making, painstakingly photographed and carefully written, The American Horticultural Society Encyclopedia of Gardening is truly the ultimate gardening reference book.
 
 
By, Sam Watters
 
Edited and with an introduction by Sam Watters, American Gardens has more than 250 archival photographs and plans and an invaluable biography section profiling the schooling and projects of the landscape designers whose work is featured in the book. In a large landscape format, American Gardens captures estate gardens as they existed for one generation, a time when people had the land, the time, and the skill to fulfill the grandest gardening fantasies.
 
 
By, Stephen Anderton
 
Throughout history, great gardeners have risen from all walks of life. Some have been aristocratic amateur gardeners, others professional designers with an international practice. Some have come to garden-making from sculpture or painting; some have been hands-on nurserymen or botanists. What they all have in common is the ability to take an idea and develop it to meet the needs and aesthetics of their times.
The book is organized into four thematic sections. Gardens of Ideas moves from the politically allusive gardens of eighteenth-century England to Charles Jencks’s Scottish garden inspired by twenty-first-century cosmography. Gardens of Straight Lines explores the lives of the great formalist gardeners, from Le Nôtre at Versailles to the rational English minimalism of contemporary designer Christopher Bradley-Hole. Gardens of Curves opens with that great exponent of the English landscape garden, “Capability” Brown, and moves on to the extraordinary Brazilian designer Roberto Burle Marx. Finally, Gardens of Plantsmanship arcs from the father of naturalistic planting, William Robinson, to the sweeping prairie-style of Piet Oudolf.
With images of gardens as they were originally seen, together with portraits of their makers and an outstanding text by the award-winning gardens writer for The Times, this book will appeal to garden lovers everywhere.
230 color illustrations
 
By,  Filippo Pizzoni 
 
Drawing on his experience as a landscape architect and historian, Pizzoni traces the history of garden design, recounting the international styles and aesthetic ideals of 400 years. From the mystery of secluded Islamic gardens and hidden Italian sanctuaries to the grandeur of the Renaissance complexities and Baroque extravaganzas; from Arcadian naturalism to structured 20th-century Modernism--all aspects of our relationship with nature are discussed, albeit with broad strokes and generalizations and very few new insights. Although the illustrations are excellent and the presentation visually pleasing, the author has little to add to the currently extensive literature on garden design as an art form or as a reflection of social change. A worthwhile purchase only for large general collections or those with an extensive holding of garden literature.
 
 
By, R. William Thomas
 
Discover a world of beauty and creativity! Chanticleer has been called the most romantic, imaginative, and exciting public garden in America. It is a place of pleasure and learning, relaxing yet filled with ideas to take home. And now those lessons are available for everyone in this stunning book! You’ll learn techniques specific to different conditions and plant palettes; how to use hardscape materials in a fresh way; and how to achieve the perfect union between plant and site. And Rob Cardillo’s exquisite photographs of exciting combinations will be sure to stimulate your own creativity. Whether you’re already under Chanticleer’s spell or have yet to visit, The Art of Gardening will enable you to bring the special magic that pervades this most artful of gardens into your own home landscape.
 
 
By, Jennifer Potter
 
The lotus. The lily. The sunflower. The opium poppy. The rose. The tulip. The orchid.
 
Seven flowers, each with its own story full of surprises and secrets, each affecting the world around us in subtle but powerful ways. But what is the nature of their power and how did it develop? Why have these particular plants become the focus of gardens, literature, art―even billion dollar industries?
The answers to these questions and more are what drove journalist and author Jennifer Potter to write Seven Flowers. Drawing on sources both ancient and modern, and featuring lush full-color illustrations and gorgeous line art throughout, Potter examines our changing relationship with these potent plants and the effects they had on civilizations through the ages. The opium poppy, for example, returned to haunt its progenitors in the West, becoming the source of an enormously profitable drug trade in Asia. In the seventeenth century, the irrational exuberance of the Dutch for rare tulips led to a nationwide financial collapse. Potter also explores how different cultures came to view the same flowers in totally different lights. While Confucius saw virtue and modesty in his native orchids, the ancient Greeks saw only lust and sex.
In the eye of each beholder, these are flowers of life and death; of purity and passion; of greed, envy and virtue; of hope and consolation; of the beauty that drives men wild. All seven demonstrate the enduring ability of flowers to speak metaphorically―if we could only decode what they have to say.
 
 
By, Wade Graham
 
From Frederick Law Olmsted to Richard Neutra, Michelle Obama to our neighbors, Americans throughout history have revealed something of themselves—their personalities, desires, and beliefs—in the gardens they create. Rooted in the time and place of their making, as much as in the minds and identities of their makers, gardens mirror the struggles and energies of a changing society. Melding biography, history, and cultural commentary in a one-of-a-kind narrative, American Eden presents a dynamic, sweeping look at this country's landscapes and the visionaries behind them.
Monticello's gardens helped Jefferson reconcile his conflicted feelings about slavery—and take his mind off his increasing debt. Edith Wharton's gardens made her feel more European and superior to her wealthy but insufficiently sophisticated countrymen. Martha Stewart's how-to instructions helped bring Americans back into their gardens, while at the same time stoking and exploiting our anxieties about social class. Isamu Noguchi's and Robert Smithson's experiments reinvigorated the age-old exchange between art and the garden.
American Eden offers an inclusive definition of the garden, considering intentional landscapes that range from domestic kitchen gardens to city parks and national parks, suburban backyards and golf courses, public plazas and Manhattan's High Line park, reclaimed from freight train tracks. And it exposes the overlap between garden-making and painting, literature, and especially architecture—the garden's inseparable sibling—to reveal the deep interconnections between the arts and their most inspired practitioners.
Moving deftly through time and place across America's diverse landscapes—from Revolutionary-era Virginia to turn-of-the-century Chicago to 1960s suburban California—and featuring a diverse cast of landscape-makers—whether artists, architects, or housewives, amateurs or professionals, robber barons, politicians, reformers, or dreamers—Wade Graham vividly unfolds the larger cultural history through more personal dramas.
Beautifully illustrated with color and black-and-white images, American Eden is at once a different kind of garden book and a different kind of American history, one that offers a compelling, untold story—a saga that mirrors and illuminates our nation's invention, and constant reinvention, of itself.
 
 
By, Peter Martin
 
Using a rich assortment of illustrations and biographical sketches, Peter Martin relates the experiences of colonial gardeners who shaped the natural beauty of Virginia's wilderness into varied displays of elegance. He shows that ornamental gardening was a scientific, aesthetic, and cultural enterprise that thoroughly engaged some of the leading figures of the period, including the British governors at Williamsburg and the great plantation owners George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, William Byrd, and John Custis. In presenting accounts of their gardening efforts, Martin reveals the intricacies of colonial garden design, plant searches, and experimentation, as well as the problems in adapting European landscaping ideas to local climate. The Pleasure Gardens of Virginia also brings to life the social and commercial interaction between Williamsburg and the plantations, and examines early American ideas about gracious living.
While placing Virginia's garden tradition within the larger context of that of the colonial South, Martin tells a very human story of how this art both influenced and reflected the quality of colonial life. As Virginia grew economically and culturally, the garden became a projection of the gardener's personal identity, as exemplified by the endeavors of Washington at Mount Vernon and Jefferson at Monticello. Martin draws upon both pictorial representations and the findings of modern archaeological excavations in order to recapture the gardens as they existed in colonial times.
 
 
By, Vicky Bamforth
 
For anyone who has ever put on a pair of gloves, picked up a shovel, and gone into a garden in search of flowers, beauty, and inspiration, just open this book. You'll soon find out why leaves change color, who invented the flame-throwing weeder, why the Victorians prevented women from owning orchids, what happened when David Niven found Greta Garbo swimming naked in a pool, what Saffron Walden is famous for, and where the practice of kissing under mistletoe originated. All that, and over 500 more gardening gobbets, botanical amusements, and horticultural ha-has make this book a must for any garden-lover.
 
 
By, David Lee
 
Though he didn’t realize it at the time, David Lee began this book twenty-five years ago as he was hiking in the mountains outside Kuala Lumpur. Surrounded by the wonders of the jungle, Lee found his attention drawn to one plant in particular, a species of fern whose electric blue leaves shimmered amidst the surrounding green. The evolutionary wonder of the fern’s extravagant beauty filled Lee with awe—and set him on a career-long journey to understand everything about plant colors.
Nature’s Palette is the fully ripened fruit of that journey—a highly illustrated, immensely entertaining exploration of the science of plant color. Beginning with potent reminders of how deeply interwoven plant colors are with human life and culture—from the shifting hues that told early humans when fruits and vegetables were edible to the indigo dyes that signified royalty for later generations—Lee moves easily through details of pigments, the evolution of color perception, the nature of light, and dozens of other topics. Through a narrative peppered with anecdotes of a life spent pursuing botanical knowledge around the world, he reveals the profound ways that efforts to understand and exploit plant color have influenced every sphere of human life, from organic chemistry to Renaissance painting to the highly lucrative orchid trade.
Lavishly illustrated and packed with remarkable details sure to delight gardeners and naturalists alike, Nature’s Palette will enchant anyone who’s ever wondered about red roses and blue violets—or green thumbs.
 
 
By, Arleyn A. Levee
 
Among the many notable gardens created by Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., and the Olmsted firm, the "Blue Garden" designed for Arthur Curtiss and Harriet Parsons James for their Newport estate, Beacon Hill House, remains a unique expression of landscape art. Seemingly forever lost, this unique garden room has been rescued from under its mantle of weeds by a dedicated and philanthropic preservationist, Dorrance H. Hamilton. At her behest, a wide-ranging team of landscape professionals thoroughly studied the history of this garden's origins, evaluated the remaining integrity of its features and has overseen the reconstruction and reinterpretation of this extraordinary space.