top of page




Penelope Hobhouse’s magisterial global account of gardening had been a fixture on my bookshelf since 2002, telling the story of how gardens and gardening have evolved over thousands of years. To be invited to work with her on an update was the most astonishing privilege – but also a challenge. It was not just a question of adding a new chapter, detailing worldwide developments in gardening over the last 20 years.  There was two decades’ worth of new scholarship to be incorporated, ranging from Babylon and Song China to new understandings of English Tudor gardens.  Since the last edition, Penelope’s interest in Islamic gardens had blossomed, providing a wealth of new material.  We especially wished to introduce new and more varied visual material.  And all this without making what was a doorstep of a book any heavier.  It was hard work – but we loved it! 


'Garden books are blooming, but none so splendidly as this.'

The Independent

'The Story of Gardening might sit (heavily) on a coffee table, but it transports the reader out into the yard or the park with some new perspectives and ambitions.'

Washington Post


'Deservedly claims its position on the bookshelf.'

The English Garden


'It charts the history [of gardens] from the earliest civilisations, through ancient Greece and Rome, Islamic gardens, Medieval gardens, Renaissance gardens, through to English, Chinese, and Japanese styles and then, of course, the Americas. Yet this is more than a reworked chronology, it is far richer and more holistic, covering botany, planting styles, herbalism, technologies, parks and even tales on the extraordinary way plants were transported by Victorian plant hunters.'



'A dazzlingly informative labour of love’.

bottom of page