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Garden Lover's Guides: Europe

The Garden Lover's Guide to Spain & Portugal, by Barbara Segall, Princeton Architectural Press The Garden Lover's Guide to Spain & Portugal, by Barbara Segall

Europe is a mecca for gardening fans. The Continent and the British Isles are dotted with magnificent gardens of every variety, from the great country estates of England to Renaissance gardens in Italy and the Moorish palace gardens of the Iberian Peninsula. The challenge for the visitor is how to find and visit those gardens. One option is a garden tour, but an even better solution--at least for those who eschew group travel--is a set of comprehensive guidebooks, such as the handsomely produced Garden Lover's Guides from Princeton Architectural Press.

The Garden Lover's Guide series includes seven European titles: Garden Lover's Guide to Britain, Garden Lover's Guide to France, Garden Lover's Guide to Germany, Garden Lover's Guide to Ireland, Garden Lover's Guide to Italy, Garden Lover's Guide to the Netherlands & Belgium, and Garden Lover's Guide to Spain & Portugal. (Guides are also available for U.S. regions and Canada.)

Every Garden Lover's Guide has profiles of more than 100 public and private gardens, "from the famous to little-known treasures." The chapters are organized by region: the Italy book, for example, is broken into "Lake Como, Lake Maggiore & the North West"; "Lake Garda, the Veneto & the North East"; "Tuscany and the Marches"; "Rome & Its Environs"; and "The South: Sicily & Nales."

Each chapter begins with an introduction that describes the region's history and geography from a gardener or landscape architect's perspective. A map shows major roads and the locations of featured gardens. Next comes a series of garden profiles, most with at least one color photograph and--in some cases--beautifully drawn three-dimensional color illustrations of garden layouts. In the margins, you'll find symbols of garden features keyed to a legend that folds out from the cover--plus hours of admission, nearby sights of interest, and where to write or call for more information.

If you can't resist visiting gardens when you travel, the Garden Lover's Guides deserve a place in your travel library and carry-on bag.

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