Gardens of Persia

Gardens of Persia

by Penelope Hobhouse

A distinguished chronicle of the Persian garden that explores its profound spiritual, historical, and virtually unacknowledged influence on the development of Western garden design in the 21st century.See more details below


A distinguished chronicle of the Persian garden that explores its profound spiritual, historical, and virtually unacknowledged influence on the development of Western garden design in the 21st century.

Editorial Reviews

The New Yorker
The word “paradise” comes from the ancient Persian word for an enclosed garden, and the art of landscaping is arguably Iran’s great cultural legacy; qanats, underground ducts bringing melted snow from the mountains, have artificially irrigated the arid plateau of Iran for the past two and a half millennia. Hobhouse, a veteran garden historian and designer, elegantly explains the continuity of the aesthetic ideas that govern Persian gardens, with their rills of water and tree-lined alleys underplanted with roses and violets. Her account, accompanied by Jerry Harpur’s spectacular photography, spans more than two thousand years of design, leading us from the remnants of Cyrus the Great’s capital, Pasargadae, to Persian-influenced gardens as far afield as Quebec.
Publishers Weekly
The basic design of the Persian garden can be traced back to the sixth century B.C. and was seminal to the development of Islamic, Indian and Western European styles. Noted garden writer, designer, historian and lecturer Hobhouse traces the evolution of the Persian garden and its impact, combining impressive scholarship with a gardener's practical insights. Her portrait of life in and around what is now Iran viewed through the prism of its gardens spans two and a half millennia and touches on virtually every major civilization. In this mostly arid region, gardening was synonymous with water. It was so important that Cyrus the Younger ranked the management of that resource one of "the noblest and most necessary pursuits." Hobhouse explores the interplay among architecture, trade, religion, warfare, government and horticulture with text that is meticulously researched but comfortably conversational. Numerous photographs, diagrams and reproductions illuminate her descriptions, and the time line of the Royal Houses of Persia, glossary of Persian terms, listing of Persian plants and exhaustive bibliography will be helpful for casual readers, garden designers and scholars alike. Curiously, despite Hobhouse's acute sense of the region's geography, the only two maps included are inadequate; a detailed topographic view of the area would have been welcome. Still, this is a dazzling look at the evolution of a beautiful and peaceful tradition. (Feb.) Forecast: An eight-city author tour (tied in with Hobhouse's keynote speeches at symposiums sponsored by Horticulture magazine) and an NPR segment on the book will energize sales. It should be a hit not only with gardeners but also with the Mideast-American community. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
The Greeks called it Persia, land of exotic gardens, ornate patterned tiles, and dreamlike settings: a far cry from the image conjured up of present-day Iran. An acclaimed garden expert and author, Hobhouse traces the development of Persia's gardens in terms of an ancient culture and the spirituality that played so large a part in their design and use. Facing the difficulties of an arid land and fierce winds, the garden designers from Cyrus the Great (550 B.C.E.) to the present day have managed to create bits of an earthly paradise, with a sensitivity for architectural unity and personal tranquillity. The descriptions of the plants and the garden designs are meticulous, and the text is quite lyrical, well in keeping with the images in the illustrations. The book is a fine example of a scholar's ability to convey her own enthusiasm and knowledge, extensive research, and illuminating insights. Highly recommended for art, horticultural, and academic collections. The plants and water, brick, and ornament that are basic to the gardens and palaces of Persia are the framework of Porter's work and serve as the themes for three major sections of the book. Lush greenery and intricate fountains create a climate totally unlike the indigenous one, while the brick edifices utilize the native clay to create great heights of elegance. The intricate plasterwork, the marvelously rich tiles, and the endless variations of pattern and color found in the palaces and gardens serve to create a separate world, a statement of personal and aesthetic achievement. The photographs are elegant, but the text, unfortunately, is not. It tends to be turgid and difficult to follow, and one wonders if the translation is at fault or if Porter (Iranian studies, Aix-en-Provence) has lapsed into professorial obfuscation. Not a necessary purchase, but useful for large collections for its excellent illustrations.-Paula Frosch, Metropolitan Museum of Art Lib., New York Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

Kales Press
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
9.90(w) x 11.30(h) x 1.00(d)

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