Is Gloucestershire the richest county in Britain for great gardens of almost every period? Tim Mowl makes that claim and supports it, taking readers around the evidence to judge for themselves, garden by garden.

The gardens range from the double-decker cloister enclosure of a Plantagenet duke who lost his head because he competed horticulturally with Henry VIII, to a late twentieth-century abstract garden where metal flowers nine feet high weep tears into their own reflections and stone paviours lead to a green islet in a black pool.

There is a Metaphysical poetry garden at Campden House. At Westbury Court a Dutch formal garden has miraculously survived with seventeenth-century apples and yew-lined canals. Painswick Rococo Garden has relics of Pan worship, Warmley a towering clinker giant, Blaise a Picturesque carriage drive by Humphry Repton and Sezincote an Indian stream garden. Finally the homely richness and warm human scale of the Arts and Crafts gardens of Snowshill, Rodmarton and Hidcote lead to a complex of imaginative brilliance which Prince Charles is even now creating at Highgrove.

This 192pp book is copiously illustrated with 80 black-and-white photographs and twenty-eight colour plates

Tempus Publishing, 2002 (Reprinted 2005)  Paperback £17.99

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