Book Review: Two Books on Landscapes

Gardens of the Hudson Valley
Photographs by Steve Gross & Susan Daley
Text by Susan Lowry and Nancy Berner, Forward by Gregory Long
The Monacelli Press, 2010 $50.00 (Amazon)
ISBN 978-1-58093-277-6

Gardens of the Hudson Valley published by the Monacelli Press highlights the exquisite gardens of the National Heritage Area known as the Hudson Valley, as well as the landscape architects that contributed to the cultural and artistic development of this region. Masters of landscape design like Alexander Jackson Downing, Frederick Law Olmsted, and Fletcher Steele have all left their imprints upon the landscape of the Hudson Valley.

This coffee table book recounts the stories of twenty five famous gardens including the estate garden of the Vanderbilt Mansion in Hyde Park, Lyndhurst in Tarrytown and the Federal style Boscobel in Coldspring, NY. These historic landscapes are not only stunningly photographed by Steve Gross and Susan Daley, but also beautifully narrated by Susan Lowry and Nancy Berner.  The Hudson River Valley is considered to be one of America’s most significant and culturally richest regions in the nation. The authors do a tremendous job at highlighting the historically significant beauty of these landscapes and hint at the impact of these gardens on the development of American landscape architecture.

In case you would like to visit many of the gardens featured in the book ( trust me, you will want to visit them after indulging in all the beautiful photographs), a list of gardens open to the public is included.

Private Gardens of Connecticut
Photography by John M. Hall
Text by Jane Garmey
The Monacelli Press, 2010 $65.00 (Amazon)
ISBN 978-1-58093-241-7

From the Hudson Valley we head to the state of Connecticut to explore the private gardens of prominent members of the fashion, design, arts and business communities. Even though some of the gardens featured in the Private Gardens of Connecticut are not as historic as those featured in the Gardens of the Hudson Valley, they are excellent examples of gardens that incorporate the beauty of the Connecticut landscape.

Among the gardens  featured in this book are those of fashion designer Oscar de La Renta as well as Agne Gund, the former president of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.  Many of these gardens  reflect their owner’s passions such as Agne Gund love for contemporary sculpture.  Both of these books are excellent sources of inspiration for those looking to create a sanctuary of their own this coming Spring.

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