Flora's Empire: British Gardens in India

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Penguin Books Limited, Jan 15, 2013 - Literary Collections - 382 pages
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The British created gardens in India not just out of simple nostalgia or homesickness, but also to put a visible stamp of ‘civilization’ on an alien, untamed land. Colonial gardens changed over time, from the ‘garden houses’ of the East India Company’s nabobs modelled on English country estates, and hill station cottages where English flowers could be coaxed into bloom, to the neat flowerbeds, gravel walks, well-trimmed lawns and hedges of the Victorian sahibs. Every Government House, Civil Lines bungalow and cantonment was carefully landscaped to reflect current ideals of an ordered society. The British also made India part of the global network of botanical exploration and plant-collecting, and developed tea gardens and opium-poppy plantations to fill the coffers of the Empire. More than sixty years after the British left, their garden legacy still lives on, reflected in the design of municipal parks and IT campuses, and in the tastes and practices of countless Indian home gardeners who take pride in their green lawns and flowerbeds full of English flowers.

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User Review  - RajivC - LibraryThing

This is a very well-researched book, and quite well written indeed. The writing style is brisk and easy to read. It does not give a hint of deep erudition, which is good in that it makes the book ... Read full review

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