A Gardener's Labyrinth: Portraits of people, plants and places is a photographic evocation of the British garden past, present and future. Tessa Traeger presents images of 50 of our most inspirational gardeners and the glorious gardens they have created.
The book is a celebration of the characters, garden designers and explorers, practitioners and writers, who have practised, enriched and furthered the tradition of gardening in every corner of Britain. Not only does it include portraits of the people themselves, as expressed in the gardens they have produced, encompassing the spectrum from formality to wilderness and from allotment to country house. It is a sequence of images that reveals the history of gardens through the eyes of those who have shaped them. The book, designed by Visionaire in New York and published to coincide with a National Portrait Gallery exhibition, a visual and literary exploration of the British garden as seen from five distinct points of view.
The Garden Proposed examines the attitudes and inspirations that inform contemporary garden design, from the gardens of Dan Pearson and Penelope Hobhouse to the new developments in British land art and the work of Ian Hamilton Finlay and Andy Goldsworthy.
The Garden Described features leading garden historians and writers, including Anna Pavord, Robin Lane Fox and Roy Strong.
The Garden Planted explores the different worlds of plant husbandry, from nurserymen to specialist rose growers, the Chelsea Flower Show expert and the organic gardener, and includes Beth Chatto, Valerie Finnis, Bob Flowerdew and Christopher Lloyd.
The Garden Preserved reveals a particularly British aspect, - the living heritage of great gardens in all their diversity. Portraits of gardens and their owners, head gardeners and garden pioneers, including Angelika Cawdor (Cawdor Castle) and John Sales (Stourhead) chart both the grandest restorations and the most dramatic transformations.
The Garden Explored deals with the extraordinary tradition and continuing British excellence in plant scholarship, expedition and exploration which, since the eighteenth century, has been a remarkable aspect of the British garden. Christopher Brickell of the Royal Horticultural Society and Tim Smit of the Eden Project feature, amongst others, in this section.
Alongside each portrait will be a photograph of the garden most closely associated with the sitter, including Kew Gardens (Ghillean Prance), The Garden of Cosmic Speculation (Charles Jencks), Gresgarth Hall (Arabella Lennox-Boyd) as well as Sissinghurst (Ann Scott-James), Waddesdon Manor (Beth Rothschild), Mottisfont Rose Garden (Graham Stuart Thomas), Bodnant (Martin Puddle HG) and Helmingham Hall (Xa Tollemache).
While the book takes us visually through the seasons from low winter to high summer and provides a testament to both the creativity of garden designers and to horticultural expertise, Traeger's collaborator, artistic director and writer Patrick Kinmonth provides a fascinating narrative that unravels the principles and philosophies that have informed these gardeners' work.
Biographies of each of the 50 gardeners complete the book.