Much has been written about London's terraced houses with their simple dignity, their economical use of space, and their sense of comfort and human scale. Yet the small gardens that lie before or behind the houses in this great city have until now been overlooked. In this groundbreaking account of the development of the private garden in London, eminent garden historian Todd Longstaffe-Gowan provides a delightful remedy to the oversight. Recognizing the contribution of modest domestic gardens to the texture of eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century London, Longstaffe-Gowan explores in full detail the small gardens, their owners, and their significance to the development of the metropolis. Some two hundred illustrations enhance this rich and fascinating discussion.
Town gardening was conventionally maligned as a trifling pursuit conducted within inhospitable and infertile enclosures. This view changed during the eighteenth century as middle class Londoners found in gardening activities an outlet for personal enjoyment and expression. This book describes how gardening affected the lives of many, becoming part of the ritual of the daily round and gratifying material aspirations.
Todd Longstaffe-Gowan is a landscape architect in private practice in London. He is gardens adviser to Hampton Court Palace and has worked as a landscape architect on the conservation of historic parks and gardens and the design of new landscapes in Britain, on the Continent, and in the West Indies.