Sunday, September 1, 2013

Gardens of Persia by Penelope Hobhouse.

Gardens of Persia by Penelope Hobhouse, photography by Jerry Harpur.  Hardcover book published by Florilegium 2003, 192 pages with colour photographs and some colour and black and white illustrations.

“GARDENS OF PERSIA is the first book to explore the evolution of the Persian paradise garden from ancient beginnings to today’s modern Islamic designs.”

Some of you may remember my distinct lack of gardening mojo.  Whilst not being a green thumb, I am an admirer of the garden… but not my garden.  This book has some lovely examples of Persian gardens from the dawn of history (… this is a very old part of the world, so dawn is a long time ago), to some more recent designs.  Sure there’s nothing quite like Derek Jarman’s garden in this book, but still, there are a lot of beautiful examples of other sorts of gardens.

I’ve never been to Persia, they wouldn’t give me a Visa*, so I’ve not been able to appreciate their gardens up close and personal.  I have been to Kashmir (it was a while ago) and have seen the Mughal gardens there.  These beautiful spots are heavily influenced by Persian gardens and were built by the Mughal’s who were originally… surprise, surprise… from Persia.  So I find a book about the Gardens of Persia and I am immediately reminded of hot afternoons leisurely wandering around Kashmiri gardens.  I had fun.  I think I had ridden to the gardens on a bicycle and was staying on a houseboat at the time.  The food on the houseboat was awesome.  Breakfast and dinner were included in the price, and the accommodation was outstanding.

Sorry. Back to Persian Gardens and less of my Kashmiri adventures.

A friend was helping me a few years ago with my garden (remember, gardening and me don’t mix) and he came up with a wonderful design based on Persian gardens.  When I write based, it was loosely based, not a copy… actually it was probably more a vague influence, but I haven’t forgotten that some of the Persian principals of garden design were vaguely in my backyard at some stage.  This is probably the nicest garden I have ever been associated with.  Saying that, there’s nothing like that garden in this book.

I sort of figure that others may be interested in incorporating some Persian garden design into their backyard, so a book like this may be of some use to someone... somewhere.   I can recommend it.

*True. The Iranian embassy rejected my Visa application without really giving me a reason.  (They also kept my Visa fee.) It might have been my Australian passport.

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