Book Review: In and Out of Paris: Gardens of Secret Delight
For gardeners and lovers of gardens, this coffee table book is like a great big scrumptious hot fudge sundae. Or, if you want to switch the metaphor from food to sex, this book is garden porn at its absolute finest.
In and Out of Paris: Gardens of Secret Delight is mainly about private gardens and lesser known but notable public parks.
For reasons that are not completely clear, there is also a section that includes some of the most famous Paris gardens. But who is complaining? A few more gorgeous pictures of Giverney and Versailles never hurt anyone. Plus I did learn from this section that I really do want to visit the Rodin Sculpture Garden, despite the likelihood that it is full of sculpture.
The author is Zahid Sardar, who writes on design, gardens, and architecture. Photographs are by Marion Brenner, and what magnificent photographs they are! In fact, In and Out of Paris is mostly photographs, and they are so glorious that one sometimes forgets that there’s text going along with them.
But I recommend that you do read the text, it contains a lot of fascinating nuggets.
Almost all the private gardens are located on terraces and rooftops, often terraces and rooftops with views of things like Sacre-Couer or the Eiffel Tower. The profusion of plant life stuffed into these spaces, in containers and raised beds, is astounding: roses and vines, fruit trees, shrubs, and grasses.
Public gardens covered include the Promenade Plantee, which came years before New York City’s High Line. There is also the eccentric Parc Monceau, a 20 acre plaything of a garden filled with grottoes, Corinthian columns, a Venetian bridge, and a miniature pyramid.
Full disclosure: I did receive a copy of this book for free, and it is undoubtedly the best freebie I have yet received as a result of my blog. Keep’em coming!