This book will provide a new perspective on the way we garden, why we garden and what it means for us.
Full of fascinating characters and vignettes - from ancient Greeks to suffragettes, from eccentric military men to Catholics in hiding from persecution - The Pursuit of Paradise looks into how society's changes have altered our views of gardening, who does it, and how we do it. What drives people to risk their lives in search of a rare Himalayan flower? Why are so many gardeners homosexual? How did gardening become a respectable career for women? When did looking at other people's gardens become a national British pastime?
Using particular gardens to lead into themes like power, refuge, female emancipation, distribution of wealth and fashion, Jane Brown presents a history of the nation through its most popular national pursuit. It will be essential reading for the horticulturally impassioned for years to come.
`A fresh and beautifully illustrated account of gardeners'
ideals and their realisations... Open it at any page and one is hooked'
Natasha Spender, Daily Mail
`The most enchanting, erudite and thought-provoking book on the subject to be published for many years'
Amanda Craig, Independent on Sunday
Peter Parker, Daily Telegraph
`A series of idiosyncratic, delightfully informative and elegantly written essays...
`This year's ideal Christmas present for the literate gardener'
Sir Roy Strong, Sunday Express
`A genuinely important contribution, not just to understanding gardens of the past, but to how we might get the most pleasure from the gardens of the future'
Montagu Don, Observer
`If you want to be impressively well-informed about why every self-respecting home must have a patio, or why delphiniums, gladioli and larkspur are distinctly passe, then latch on to this illuminating book'
Penelope Lively, Mail on Sunday
`Be warned. This is a rich brew, not to be taken in one gulp. Gardening in this book encompasses science and history, philosophy and art, literature and the military, politics and sex... it is all tremendous fun'
Ruth Gorb, Guardian
Jane Brown is the author of Gardens of a Golden Afternoon, Eminent Gardens, a biography of Lutyens, and The Pursuit of Paradise: A Social History of Gardens and Gardening.