There is a wild and romantic image associated with cottage gardens and English Cottage Gardening for American Gardeners gives us page after page of incredible photos that inspire us to create one of these intimate spaces of our very own. Opening photos of Tasha Tudor's Vermont garden draw us into the continuous flow of picturesque gardens that range from photos of simple doorway gardens to massive perennial borders.

Credit is given to the architectural elements in the garden such as an ornate gate or a brightly painted arbor. These aspects are important in establishing the depth of the garden and are often overlooked. Straight lines and hard surfaces help to add dimension to overflowing and seemingly out of control plants. There are lots of examples of this throughout the book and they are defined not only by the gorgeous photos but by Ms. Hensel's thorough treatment.

Of course, the plants are the main focus and there are plenty shown and discussed. Roses take a whole chapter and it is not by chance that many of the plants are herbs. These have always been the carefree backbone of most cottage gardens. The emphasis, though, is not on becoming an expert with plants, but rather to start with a single idea and a few cherished plants and let the garden begin. 

Margaret Hensel set out to create an interesting little book with photos of picturesque thatched cottages and became intoxicated with the gardens she found. The beauty she discovered as she explored country lanes and city streets led to the creation of this extraordinary book that showers us with the loving creations of many gardeners, both amateur and professional.

English Cottage Gardening
for American Gardeners

by Margaret Hensel
256 pages
July 2000

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