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Gardens in China

By Peter Valder

Authoritative and readable.


In this new companion book to The Garden Plants of China, Peter Valder describes more than 200 gardens he has visited in China. He documents temple courtyards and gardens, evocative enclosures of ancient burial grounds and imperial tombs, and public parks, botanical gardens, and arboreta, most of which have sprung up since 1949.

Gardens in China is illustrated with more than 500 color photographs, many of them depicting gardens not previously illustrated in any Western publication, as well as reproductions of illustrations of historical interest. With their distinctive characteristics, the gardens of China are among the most fascinating in the world. This book is essential reading for visitors to China with an interest in gardens, garden history, and Chinese culture.

Awards for this book: Choice Magazine Outstanding Academic Book

Media reviews

"Some people truly amaze me. Peter Vader is one of those people."

—Richard A. Brown, Pacific Horticulture

"An excellent summary of the history of Western experiences in China ... After reading The Gardens of China, I would love to return to that country ... If I do, this book will be my primary guide."

—Richard A. Brown, Pacific Horticulture

"Useful to find so many wonderful gardens, most of them photographed by the author on his frequent trips to China."

—Joanne S. Carpender, National Gardener

"Valder's illuminating compilation of more than 200 gardens promises to provide the ultimate resource for future travelers, who, before wmbarking on a trip, can study and savor images and information on diverse horticultural realms located throughout China ... A lavish record of famed Imperial gardens as well as fascinating examples of lesser-known temples, parks, and botanical arboreta ... Encompassing a treasury of plant portraits, stunning architectural details, and awe-inspiring vistas, Valder's chosen topic is rendered in such depth as to rouse armchair dreamers and act as a call to action for avid garden trekkers."


"It is essential reading for visitors to China with an interest in gardens and for those interested in garden history and Chinese culture."

Professional Gardener

"An ambitious book aimed at the general reader."

—George Fetherling, Vancouver Sun

"Valder's book makes a valuable contribution to the gardening as well as the cultural literature between China and the West. This book is highly recommended to gardeners."

—William Johnson, E-Streams

"[The author's] conversational tone and knowledgeable appreciation for his subject make it an easy read, but it is his wonderful photographs that truly take the reader into the heart and soul of the places he has visited."

—Marge Howard-Jones, California Garden

"A fabulous book which has obviously been a labour of love ... will stand for decades and will prove to be invaluable to tourists, gardeners, students and historians alike."

—Sam Youd, Tatton Park Gardener

"Gardens in China ... is lavishly illustrated with meticulously produced art."

—Patricia Jonas, Plants and Gardens News

"It is useful to find so many wonderful gardens, most of them photographed by the author on his frequent trips to China."

—Joanne S. Carpender, National Gardener

"[This book] will appeal to any gardener with an interest in Chinese culture or, better yet, a plan to journey there."

—Carol Stocker, Boston Globe

"Authoritative and readable, this title is a required reference for both landscape design and Asian studies collections."


"A perfect book ... for the armchair explorer ... to read before traveling to China."

—Joanne S. Carpender, National Gardener

"[Verder's] photographs of people enjoying the beauty of these gardens makes the reader want to join in."

—Josephine Bridges, Asian Reporter

"This is a large book in every way, easy and exciting to read; something to treasure."


"Packed full of a lifetime of information ... a pleasure to read. A great triumph!"

—Liz Banks, International Dendrology Society Yearbook

"This award-winning reference is a great addition to one's collection."

—Leonard Perry, Perry's Perennial Pages

"Mr. Valder's large–format book with excellent photographs on almost every page does justice to this most remarkable garden tradition."

American Rhododendron Society Journal

"Gardeners, history and travel buffs, and students should read this book."

—N. Thomas Strnad, Growing Concern

"Gardens in China is a glory. The photographs of gardens ... are breathtaking."

—Marilis Hornidge, Rockland Courier-Gazette

"It's another first: an expert — most likely the definitive — work on Chinese living art, written by an Australian and published, of course, by an Oregon company."

—Dan Hays, Salem Statesman Journal

"A delightful armchair tour ... [Valder] paints verbal pictures."

—Suzanne Hively, Cleveland Plain Dealer

About the author

Peter Valder

Peter Valder's become a plant pathologist and mycologist after graduating from the Universities of Sydney and Cambridge. He has made appearances on radio and television, written for magazines, and lectured to organizations concerned with plants and gardens. His interest in gardening has taken him around the world, collecting images and knowledge of international flora. To recognize his gifts of plants to and voluntary work for the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney, in 1995 he was made their first Honorary Horticultural Associate, and in 1996 was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in recognition of his contribution to botany and horticulture in that country.

Read more about Peter Valder

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