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Books about Garden Restoration

Posted by Redthistle Texas, Zone 8b (My Page) on
Sun, Jan 18, 04 at 13:30

I'd like to hear suggestions of books written about garden restoration in general. I've not seen books in Borders, Book People, etc. in the gardening section on this subject. Are they even out there?

Also, aside from large historic estates, I get the feeling most American homeowners give little thought to restoring their old gardens when they own an old home and generally tear everything out and start new. How do you feel about this? Is there an art to keeping the old and adding some new for an era appropriate garden?--I'm looking for a book on this subject.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Books about Garden Restoration

Fairly diverse subject .... if you had wood structures in your landscape ... bridges ... Gazebo's ect .. and wanted to restore them I think wood working would be the area to look in not gardening ?? ...and I am sure there are plent of books in that area.

So I guess what area of restoration are you interested in ?? ... I can't see one book that would cover it all ?? .. So you would have to search in areas other then gardening ... Let me know what areas maybe i can help out ??

By the way forget searching the book stores I can never find much in stock at these places search online book stores ...

Good Luck ....

RE: Books about Garden Restoration

  • Posted by spectre z10 Sunset 24CA (My Page) on
    Sun, Jan 18, 04 at 15:21


I go with Mohave online bookstores because you're not going to get the depth of titles at a traditional bookseller. has a newer search engine which not only looks for books by title, author, etc., but it also searches the text in the book. They've been working non-stop to get permission from the publishers to permit this kind of search.

There is a good chance they haven't yet scanned the type of books you're looking for, but you're only a few keystrokes away to find out.


Here is a link that might be useful:

RE: Books about Garden Restoration

There are many, many pertinent books on the market as you'll no doubt see once this thread gets going. Many homeowners are interested in keeping some sort of "historical correctness" to their gardens--they want the gardens to compliment the era of the home. This is especially true here in New England, the oldest part of our country. Others feel a connectedness to the former gardener(s) and his/her handiwork and want to restore a garden based on that sentiment. So, yes, I believe and my work with clients bears this out, that many homeowners are not just interested in ripping everything out and starting anew.

In another forum recently, one poster suggested this book:

"Try the last chapter of "Reading the Landscape of America"
by May Theilgaard Watts called 'The Stylish House' it traces a typical American landscape from the mid 1800s until the 1960s complete with plants and how they were used. It's a great book."

Another recommended book that I've not read is Kenneth Helphand's "Leaping the Property Line": Observations on Recent American Garden History. Maybe someone else can comment in some detail.

Three books that I use frequently are:

"The New Traditional Garden: A Practical Guide to Creating and Restoring Authentic American Gardens for Homes of All Ages" by Michael Weishan. New, comprehensive, good overview.

"For Every House A Garden" by Rudy and Joy Favretti
About New England gardens 1600-1900 and for the average DYI homeowner making the effort to reproduce something of a period garden. Interestingly, they recommend finding out as much as you can about the former owners of your home and garden as a place to start the restoration research.

"Rejuvenating a Garden" by Stephen Anderton This is not a book about restoration or historical aspects of garden renewal. This is the nuts and bolts "how to do it" aspect of renewing or renovating any and all gardens -- takes you thru the whole process of re-designing, budgeting, formulating the steps to change and in what order, immediate "first aid" for plants, excellent chapter on pruning in the older, mature and/or overgrown garden, assessing and timing:when to wait and when to move -- I love this book. Very practical and well-written British gardening lore and practices.

The New England Garden History Society is a great place to begin studies on this subject:

Web Page URL:

I belonged for some time but have let my membership lapse. They have an excellent bookstore, newsletter, journal, workshop offerings and the like. For your area of the country there is the Southern Garden History Society:

There are many original writings of the garden and landscape designers who shaped the history of gardens in England and America that are well worth reading. . . but that is another thread.


RE: Books about Garden Restoration

Thanks all. Ginger, your list is exactly what I'm looking for. I plan to print out the post and do a Google search for these books.--Maybe check out the prices at Amazon or Half-Priced Books on-line.

I know more than I ever wanted to know about house restoration, but my knowledge of garden restoration is basically zilch.

Thanks again!

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