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Foreign Trends in American Gardens

A History of Exchange, Adaptation, and Reception
Raffaella Fabiani Giannetto

BUY Cloth · 288 pp. · 6.125 × 9.25 · ISBN 9780813939131 · $65.00 · Feb 2017
BUY Ebook · 288 pp. · ISBN 9780813939148 · $29.50 · Feb 2017
BUY Paper · 288 pp. · 6.125 × 9.25 · ISBN 9780813939292 · $29.50 · Feb 2017

Foreign Trends in American Gardens addresses the influence of foreign, designed landscapes on the development of their American counterparts. Including essays from an array of significant scholars in landscape studies, this collection examines topics ranging from the importation of Western and Eastern styles of design and theoretical literature to the adaptation of specific plant types. As the variety of topics and influences discussed demonstrates, the essence of American gardens defies simple definition.

Examining the translation, imitation, adaptation, and naturalization of stylistic trends and horticultural specimens into American gardens, the book also dwells on the juxtaposition of the foreign and the native. The volume’s contributors consider the experiences both of immigrants, who contributed through their writing, planting, and design efforts to enhance the character of regional gardens, and of Americans, who traveled abroad and brought back with them a passion for naturalizing exotics for scientific as well as aesthetic reasons. The complexity of American gardens—their combination of the historic and the modern, and of foreign cultures and local values—is also their most distinctive characteristic.


Despite the various sources of inspiration or influence on the American cultural landscape, what has been fashioned here is no longer ‘Italian,’ ‘English,’ ‘German,’ or ‘Japanese,’ or any of the many precedents for what has transpired here. These essays, in their different voices and topics, elucidate this process, representing a rich gathering of recent thought on this phenomenon. For those who read these essays in their entirety, the American landscape will not be the same, but a livelier, more contentious, and layered domain.

Laurie Olin, The Olin Studio, author of Across the Open Field: Essays Drawn from English Landscapes

In this period of toxic political debate around the role of immigration in American society, an anthology of papers from a conference on foreign trends in American gardens provides further evidence of the complex nature of American culture. Raffaella Fabiani Giannetto, who edited and contributed to these proceedings, convened a conference at the University of Pennyslvania in 2011 to explore "a critical consideration of the foreign" (1) in the American garden through the importation of ideas, plant materials, objects, and individuals to enrich the American landscape mix...there is rich material here that any landscpe historian will want to explore.

Keith N. Morgan, Boston University · Winterthur Portfolio

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