Wordsworth's Gardens

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Readers of the poems of William Wordsworth have likely encountered at least in some small way his love of the garden and gardening. And those who’ve visited the Great Britain’s Lake District know well that Wordsworth was master of more than one craft. Each year, thousands of visitors from throughout the world treat themselves to an enchanting taste of Wordsworthian England on the grounds of Dove Cottage and Rydal Mount. There they find themselves awed by the aesthetic of the poet who designed the functional and ...

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Overview

Readers of the poems of William Wordsworth have likely encountered at least in some small way his love of the garden and gardening. And those who’ve visited the Great Britain’s Lake District know well that Wordsworth was master of more than one craft. Each year, thousands of visitors from throughout the world treat themselves to an enchanting taste of Wordsworthian England on the grounds of Dove Cottage and Rydal Mount. There they find themselves awed by the aesthetic of the poet who designed the functional and pleasure grounds of the Wordsworth family gardens. Whether you’ve ever had the fortune to stroll the very terraces on which Wordsworth paced out his lines for posterity, you can do so again and again in this elegant full-color photo study by Carol and Richard Buchanan. In all of Wordsworth scholarship, no one has so definitively connected the themes of Wordsworth’s poetry to his philosophy of gardening or has truly in one work demonstrated how nature in the raw and rocky Lake District became the soul and backbone of a poet and gardener who would not be enslaved by the tastes of his day. Counterposing poems of the garden and the letters and journals of Wordsworth and his eloquent sister Dorothy, Carol Buchanan, in her quiet and sensitive manner, manages to picture the whole Wordsworth: poet, gardener, and devoted and longsuffering family man. Illuminating Buchanan’s perspective on Wordsworth’s gardens, and on the Lake District that shaped Wordsworth’s sensibilities, are three never-before-published garden plans and more than one hundred breathtaking photographs by Richard Buchanan. The general layout and functional economy of the argument and explanations are very satisfying—like walking through a well ordered garden; and the authority of Buchanan’s discussions of the gardening work and thoughts of the Master is worn so unassumingly that no reader will be intimidated, yet scholarly readers will recognize the thoroughness of her study and be delighted at their own level.—Mark L. Reed

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Buchanan describes the philosophy and spirituality in which Wordsworth's landscaping and gardening plans were rooted. A brief history of landscape design and the concept of nature in the 18th century is followed by a careful description of the connections between his poetry and the many features of the gardens at Dove Cottage and Rydal Mount. Illustrations include garden plans and abundant, although sometimes a bit dark or fuzzy, color photographs of structures, plants, and the natural landscape which inspired him. 11x9<">. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From The Critics
Anyone who has studies the writings and William Wordsworth is aware of the poet's admiration and enjoyment for gardens and gardening. In Wordsworth's Gardens, Carole Buchanan showcases Wordsworth's perspectives on the gardens and on the Lake District that shaped his perceptions and attitudes. Included are three previously unpublished garden plans. The informative text is wonderfully enhanced with more than a hundred splendid photographs by Richard Buchanan. Wordsworth's Gardens is further enhanced with a "Portfolio of Lake District Scenes"; and appendices: "Wordsworth's Gardens in His Poetry"; "The Plants"; "Description of the Garden by Christopher Wordsworth, Jr."; Rhododendrons introduced into British Cultivation"; as well as an extensive "Notes" section, a bibliography and an exhaustive six page index. Wordsworth's Gardens is very highly recommended for all William Wordsworth enthusiasts and gardening buffs.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780896724457
  • Publisher: Texas Tech University Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/2001
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 8.80 (w) x 11.30 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword
Preface
Acknowledgments
A Note on Vocabulary
Prelude to Wordsworth: Landscape Design and the Concept of Nature in the Eighteenth Century 3
Design and Discovery 4
The Era of Inspired Discovery 10
The Leasowes 14
The Picturesque 16
The Ode and the Dung 23
The Love of Flowers: Dove Cottage 55
A Gardening Partnership 60
The Garden's Structure 64
The Love of Gardening 72
The Plants 74
Life in the Garden 81
The Garden Today 83
The Garden as Poem: The Winter Garden at Coleorton 89
A Gift of Friendship 90
Beginning of the Winter Garden 94
The Design 95
The Winter Garden Today 109
Rock of Ages: The Rydal Mount Garden 115
The Situation of the Property 118
The Traumatic Years 120
Poetry of the Rydal Mount Years 123
Spiritual Shift 125
The Symblism of Stone 129
Dora's Rock 130
The Healing Garden 134
Building the Garden 135
The Terraces 138
The Voice of Waters 154
The Plantings 159
The Kitchen Garden 172
The Garden Today 173
Wordsworth's Garden Legacy 177
Portfolio of Lake District Scenes 183
App. A Wordsworth's Gardens in His Poetry 195
App. B The Plants 199
App. C Description of the Garden by Christopher Wordsworth, Jr. 205
App. D Rhododendrons Introduced into British Cultivation 207
Notes 209
Selected Bibliography 213
Index 219
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