In a county of iconic landscape gardens such as Wilton, Stourhead and Longleat there might appear to be few other gardens worth writing about. Yet this countrywide series is proof that the more we search in the archives and in the hidden corners of each shire, the more rewarding are the surprises.

Charles Bridgeman's geometric amphitheatres in the thickly wooded slopes at Amesbury and at Trafalgar House, Alderman Beckford's almost underwater grottoes at Fonthill and the grotto of the setting sun at Bowden Park are waiting to be discovered. And there are rare watercolours by Humphry Repton of projected improvements for New Park, Roundway, near Devizes.

At Iford, Harold Peto brought Tuscany to Wiltshire with the most evocative Italian garden on English soil. But the county's modern gardens are equally impressive. Naked girls gesture from the waters of Chisenbury, giant nutmegs stud the grounds at Belcombe Court and I M Pei's Millennium Pavilion at Oare House looks like a spaceship just landed in the fields - a modern day equivalent of the Temple of Hercules at Stourhead.

This 192pp book is lavishly illustrated with 90 black-and-white photographs and twenty-four colour plates.

Tempus Publishing, 2004  Paperback £17.99

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