Restoring American Gardens

An Encyclopedia of Heirloom Ornamental Plants, 1640-1940


By Denise Wiles Adams

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$32.99 CAD


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Trade Paperback $24.99 $32.99 CAD

Today's gardeners have more plants and design ideas to choose from than ever before. But is there something missing in their gardens if they ignore their ties to the past? Denise Wiles Adams has written a remarkable book of history and horticulture that documents the changing plant palette of American gardens. From the colonial era to the pre-World War II period, no region of the country is neglected and no major plant group unrepresented. From a database of more than 25,000 plants and hundreds of antique nursery catalogs, she has distilled a unique survey of American ornamental gardens. Nobody concerned with historic homes and properties can afford to be without it. An important resource that will be consulted for generations, Restoring American Gardens is a vital link between gardeners and their predecessors throughout history.

This book is only available through print on demand. All interior art is black and white. 

  • “Reassuringly domestic. . . . a valuable resource.” —The New York Times

    “Home gardeners will discover untried plants and rediscover familiar ones from a rich historical perspective, while professional and amateur designers alike will find a wealth of practical information on how to approach the historic landscape, document key features, develop a list of appropriate plants and pursue investigations. . . . Adams’s enthusiasm in infectious. . . . Destined to become an indispensable reference for anyone interested in heirloom ornamentals and their history.” —Publishers Weekly

    “Adams’s engaging writing and the abundance of both contemporary and historic photographs and plans make this reference book both a pleasure to use and one that fills a gap in the literature. Recommended for all gardening and historic preservation collections.” —Library Journal

    “The home gardener, professional landscape designer, bed-and-breakfast proprietor, and all those who have taken to heart the task of re-creating plantings that are in keeping with a mode of yesteryear will love delving into this satisfying, well-organized, and beautifully produced resource.” —Booklist

    “This work is packed with information that the history-minded gardener will appreciate.” —Bloomsbury Review

    Restoring American Gardens is a useful addition to a growing body of historic landscape resources and is particularly important for its methodical focus on heirloom plants and their appropriate use.” —Landscape Architecture

    Restoring American Gardens: An Encyclopedia of Heirloom Ornamental Plants 1640-1940, by Denise Wiles Adams, has masterfully catalogued, documented, illustrated, and separated by region historic,”heirloom”, ornamental plants. This is one of the most complete reference books on ornamental heirlooms, which are gaining in popularity.” —The Washington Post

    “Gardeners who enjoy a healthy dose of gardening history in their guides will find Denise Wiles Adams’ Restoring American Gardens a treasure trove of information on heirloom ornamentals from 1640-1940.” —Bookwatch

    “While pursuing her doctorate on the cultivation of 19th century ornamental plants in the Northeast, Adams decided to write a book. Her effort, Restoring American Gardens, . . . covers trees, shrubs, vines, perennials, annual and bulbs.” —Rocky Mountain News

    “Adams provides an intensely helpful look at the history and horticulture of American gardens across the centuries.” —Santa Fe New Mexican

    Restoring American Gardens is a wonder to have and to behold, a sure-to-be classic resource connecting and bonding present-day gardeners with their founding forefather kin.” —Boox Review

    “Distinguished.” —Avant Gardener

On Sale
Mar 27, 2009
Page Count
420 pages
Timber Press

Denise Wiles Adams

About the Author

Denise Wiles Adams is a highly respected historian of ornamental plants and American garden design. She has a Ph.D. in horticulture from The Ohio State University and is a prolific writer and lecturer on topics related to the history of American gardens. She is the author of Restoring American Gardens.

Laura L. S. Burchfield teaches residential design, plant selection, and landscape management at The Ohio State University. She has Master’s degrees in both landscape architecture and horticulture from The Ohio State University and lectures and writes on many aspects of horticulture and landscape design. In addition she designs and installs residential landscapes for private clients.

Learn more about this author