The Education of a Gardener

Front Cover
New York Review of Books, 2007 - Architecture - 381 pages
7 Reviews
Russell Page, one of the legendary gardeners and landscapers of the twentieth century, designed gardens great and small for clients throughout the world. His memoirs, born of a lifetime of sketching, designing, and working on site, are a mixture of engaging personal reminiscence, keen critical intelligence, and practical know-how. They are not only essential reading for today’s gardeners, but a master’s compelling reflection on the deep sources and informing principles of his art. 

The Education of a Gardener offers charming, sometimes pointed anecdotes about patrons, colleagues, and, of course, gardens, together with lucid advice for the gardener. Page discusses how to plan a garden that draws on the energies of the surrounding landscape, determine which plants will do best in which setting, plant for the seasons, handle color, and combine trees, shrubs, and water features to rich and enduring effect. To read The Education of a Gardener is to wander happily through a variety of gardens in the company of a wise, witty, and knowledgeable friend. It will provide pleasure and insight not only to the dedicated gardener, but to anyone with an interest in abiding questions of design and aesthetics, or who simply enjoys an unusually well-written and thoughtful book.

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Review: The Education Of A Gardener

User Review  - Karen Tripson - Goodreads

He was a wonderful writer. I learned a lot about the history of garden design and horticulture as well as got ideas for my own tiny urban plot. Read full review

Review: The Education of a Gardener

User Review  - Barbara Drufovka - Goodreads

*love* More a reference than a narrative, I pick it up and re-read parts of it again and again through the years for inspiration. A good companion is The Gardens of Russell Page by Marina Schinz & Gabrielle van Zuylen, a coffee table book of photographs of his gardens that survive. Read full review

Selected pages


In search of style
Notes on composition and design
Sites and themes
Near the house
On planting trees
On planting shrubs
On planting flowers
Water in the garden
Town gardens and others
Switzerland and Italy
The South of France
For the public eye
My garden

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Popular passages

Page 5 - I am making a landscape ot a garden or arranging a window box I first address the problem as an artist composing a picture; my pre-occupation is with the relationships between objects whether I am dealing with woods, fields or water, rocks or trees, shrubs and plants or groups of plants.

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About the author (2007)

Russell Page (1906–1985) became a professional garden designer in 1928 after studying painting at the Slade School of Art in London and in Paris. In 1935 he entered into a brief partnership with the landscapist and architect Geoffrey Jellicoe. He designed a great variety of gardens throughout Europe, the Middle East, and North and South America, ranging from windowboxes and small cottage gardens to those meant for large estates, public parks, and housing developments for industrial workers. Among his best-known projects are the gardens at the PepsiCo headquarters, the courtyard of the Frick Collection, and the Festival Gardens at Battersea Park. Page was one of only three Englishmen to have received a medal from the French Academy of Architecture and was an Officer of the British Empire.

Robin Lane Fox is a fellow at New College, Oxford, and the gardening correspondent for the Financial Times.

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