A History of Gardens and Gardening by Edward Hyams is a 345-page hardcover published by Praeger Publishers, New York, 1971. The dust jacket has minor rubbing and shelf wear. Inside, the previous owner's name is ink stamped to the font paste down. Else, the book is in excellent condition, with clean crisp pages and tight binding.
In this beautiful and unique volume, Edward Hyams presents a lively and comprehensive account of the garden from prehistoric to modern time and examines gardening as an enduring art form, one that reveals and defines man's constant preoccupation with his natural environment. He argues that gardening is a vital means of expression and that the gardener, coming even before the potter and farmer at the dawn of culture, was the real founder of civilization.
Mr. Hyams introduces his subject with the concept of the plant as artifact, an entity that is man-made through techniques of selection, segregation, and cross-breeding. He insists that the garden is, and has been since prehistoric times, a truly imaginative and creative work of art--going far beyond the simple arrangement of natural resources for decorative and aesthetic purposes.
Stressing the relationship between any aesthetic trend and the lifestyles of the artists and their patrons, the author shows how economic conditions and social customs dictated artistic fashion. Thus, the gardens of eighth century Japan were works of abstract art inspired by religious symbolism, whereas those of Renaissance Italy were among the first manifestations of humanist philosophy. In France, the garden was seen as an expression of grandeur; in Inca Peru, it reflected the wealth and rigid social stratification of a hierarchic communist society. In China and England, the gardener's art mirrored a romantic belief in nature refined by art. The work of modern gardeners reflects a growing emphasis in gardens as living space, integrating the natural materials of the garden with architectural structures and concepts.
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 70-109474