Restoring American Gardens: An Encyclopedia of Heirloom Ornamental Plants, 1640-1940

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Timber Press, 2004 - Gardening - 419 pages
2 Reviews
Today's gardeners have more plants and design ideas to choose from than ever before. But is there something missing in their gardens if they ignore their ties to the past? Denise Wiles Adams has written a remarkable book of history and horticulture that documents the changing plant palette of American gardens. From the colonial era to the pre-World War II period, no region of the country is neglected and no major plant group unrepresented.

From a database of more than 25,000 plants and hundreds of antique nursery catalogs, she has distilled a unique survey of American ornamental gardens. Nobody concerned with historic homes and properties can afford to be without it. An important resource that will be consulted for generations, Restoring American Gardens is a vital link between gardeners and their predecessors throughout history.

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Restoring American gardens: an encyclopedia of heirloom ornamental plants, 1640-1940

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

The bulk of this encyclopedia, compiled by a historian of ornamental plants, describes the 1000 heirloom ornamental plants most frequently mentioned in nursery catalogs and advertisements published ... Read full review

Review: Restoring American Gardens: An Encyclopedia of Heirloom Ornamental Plants, 1640-1940

User Review  - Emily - Goodreads

This book has a nice overview of historical landscaping and the encyclopedia and plant lists are great--very helpful for anyone interested in historical landscaping or historic preservation. It's only major drawback is that it ignores the Intermountain West. Read full review

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About the author (2004)

Much like researching a mystery novel of days gone by, Denise Wiles Adams is able to research old gardens and landscapes by digging through the letters, photographs, newspaper clippings, household records, and diaries of the past. She has distilled hundreds of antique nursery catalogs into a unique survey that creates a database of more than 25,000 plants - an invaluable, scientific, yet practical reference on American heirloom ornamental plants that the professional designer and home gardener alike will find indispensable. Denise's informative lectures on heirloom plants focus on perennials of the past for the present and restoring American gardens. During her lectures, Denise reminds people about the plants that are familiar to them, sometimes so familiar as to be ignored. She likes to surprise her audience with information about a plant that they thought was new, but actually has a fine history in earlier American gardens. During her talks, Denise interacts with her audience and invites them to tell about the plants they remember from childhood or those that are important to their families. It proves to be quite emotional for some and the stories are always wonderful. Denise is a frequent writer for publications such as Fine Gardening, Herbalist, Perennial Plants, and Country Gardens. Her own gardens have been featured in a number of regional and national publications. Denise Wiles Adams lives what she preaches in her home - originally a mid-nineteenth-century tavern in Buckingham County, Virginia. With her family and their 10 cats, she keeps gardens with an emphasis on heirloom plant species and cultivars. In Virginia she is known as the mistress of The Tavern at Gravel Hill. She also collects seventeenth-century English furniture and enjoys walking and reading vintage English mysteries.

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