Mediterranean-climate regions, characterized as "winter-wet and summer-dry" within a narrow set of specialized conditions, make up only a tiny percentage of the Earth's surface, including the Mediterranean basin and small areas of southern Australia, California, central Chile and the Cape of South Africa. The aesthetic, however, is ubiquitous: "all things Mediterranean have become fashionable." Gildemeister, an author, lecturer and founding member and past president of the Mediterranean Garden Society, writes with evident enthusiasm for pursuing that aesthetic in the face of "hot, dry summers and strong light" or "devastating winds, destructive fires, and erosion." Her exuberant text takes readers on a whirlwind tour of "Mediterranean Dream Gardens" from olive groves and sheep parks to city courtyards. Two brief initial chapters cover basic horticultural and design issues specific to this style of gardening. The remainder is devoted to "inspirational garden projects" that tackle a wide range of objectives, sites and challenges. These chapters are well researched, informative and practical, each concluding with a thorough listing of appropriate plants. Unfortunately, the lists themselves aren't illustrated, and almost none of the recommended plants are identified in captions for the 207 lush color photographs. This is doubly frustrating, since Gildemeister tempts readers from all climates with the timeless beauty, environmental prudence and rich history of Mediterranean gardening. (Sept.)n Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.