By the Editor
A preliminary examination of Marie Luise Gothein's Geschichte der Garten-
kunst revealed a work not only remarkably erudite but also of so distinct
a type and so strongly individual in spirit and execution as to merit deep>
respect and undeviating loyalty. In considering an English edition, it was
obvious that there was but one course to pursue: namely, to cling as closely
as the exigencies of different languages would permit to the genius of the
original. Translation of words—yes. "Translation" of spirit—no.
The History of Garden Art is a work of supreme ability. To those who
have made a lifelong study of gardening—and the number is probably greater
than is commonly supposed—it must make an irresistible appeal, for its pages
present a panorama beginning in that dim past in which history itself took birth,,
and extending through ages crowded with vital events and heroic figures. It
is at once significant and enthralling to realise how closely gardening has been
interwoven with those decisive occurrences and those momentous personalities
which have affected human destinies the most profoundly.
To others—to the uncounted thousands who approach gardening books
in no spirit of virtuosity, but rather under the simple though praiseworthy
impulse of a love of flowers—the work will impress from another angle, por-
traying as it does the means and methods by which in all ages and in all climes
garden-lovers have sought beauty. Thus, while the History of Garden Art is
in soul and structure a record of gardens and not a manual on gardening, it
nevertheless combines instruction with inspiration, for in description and in
picture it conveys lessons which no discriminating reader can overlook.
The History of Garden Art easily takes its place as a garden classic—one
might almost say, so all-embracing is its scope, as a historical and social classic.
Mighty imperial, political, clerical, literary and artistic figures pass through
its pages. We hear the proud and autocratic monarch Louis XIV. smilingly
speaking of kisses from his gardener. We walk with a contemplative Wolsey
through the grounds of Hampton Court. We listen sympathetically to the im-
passioned outbursts of the youthful Goethe, intoxicated as he is with beauty.
Powerful women like Elisabeth and Maria Theresa display their softer sides.
Unhappy Mary Tudor presents a crown-piece to the humble gardener who