The Wild Garden, Expanded Edition, William Robinson and Rick Darke, original edition 1870, new edition 2009

Darke has done all gardeners a favor by issuing this new edition of William Robinson’s classic 19th C garden book.  By adding a new chapter, occasional footnote comments, and some wonderful color photographs to Robinson’s groundbreaking work that ran to seven editions in his lifetime, he’s enhanced a still impressive original.  Unhappy with the classic Victorian bedding annual flower beds that dominated parks and country estates, Robinson embraced a new approach using both English and foreign plants that ‘give bold effects and are very hard to kill’. Bravo, I’ll vote for that.  He sought to expand the plant list and expand the areas for gardening to hedges, copses, woods, grassy meadows, and pond and brook-sides where plants won’t need to be coddled and tended but will make it on their own.  The original had lovely woodcuts and pen and ink drawings and the new edition has beautiful color photographs, many of them of Robinson’s country home, Gravetye.  This is a worthwhile book for any avid gardener, but especially one who, like me, enjoys the spontaneous wildness of the crowded and active perennial bed.