Picks and Pans Review: Victorian Gardens

updated 04/19/1982 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 04/19/1982 01:00AM

by John Highstone

Flower gardens were slow to cross the Atlantic because Americans concentrated on growing vegetables and fruit. The Victorian style, according to the author, "provided for a garden of seclusion and natural beauty, a created segment of nature." It's one aspect of Victorian culture that seems perfectly adaptable to our lives today. This book, timed for spring, is specific about how to plan one: "trees and shrubs in the background, an uninterrupted expanse of lawn, and...flower borders and formal shrub design." Inspiring photographs make a reader want to rush for a shovel and the nearest nursery, and there are landscaping plans for different-shaped plots. These have been adapted, Highstone says, from a book published in 1870, and the diagrams are easy to understand. An appendix describes all the home gardener needs to know about vines, annuals, perennials, bulbs, shrubs, trees and various garden pests. If Highstone can't get you out digging in the yard, nobody will. (Harper & Row, $9.95)

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