The Education of a Gardener
by Russell Page
Russell Page, one of the legendary gardeners and landscapers of the twentieth century, designed gardens great and small for clients throughout the world. His memoirs, born of a lifetime of sketching, designing, and working on site, are a mixture of engaging personal reminiscence, keen critical intelligence, and practical know-how. They are not only essential reading for today’s gardeners, but a master’s compelling reflection on the deep sources and informing principles of his art.
The Education of a Gardener offers charming, sometimes pointed anecdotes about patrons, colleagues, and, of course, gardens, together with lucid advice for the gardener. Page discusses how to plan a garden that draws on the energies of the surrounding landscape, determine which plants will do best in which setting, plant for the seasons, handle color, and combine trees, shrubs, and water features to rich and enduring effect. To read The Education of a Gardener is to wander happily through a variety of gardens in the company of a wise, witty, and knowledgeable friend. It will provide pleasure and insight not only to the dedicated gardener, but to anyone with an interest in abiding questions of design and aesthetics, or who simply enjoys an unusually well-written and thoughtful book.
Russell Page, admittedly a bit of a mystic, is pretty much out there by himself with his verdant heart and green digits.
— Michael Pollan, Second Nature: A Gardener's Education
Page has written an astonishingly beautiful book about his craft.
— Doris Lessing
I reread this book every three years. It explores both the mechanic and aesthetic side of gardening, while also including solid information for an academic balance.
— Southern Accents
Russell Page was one of the great English landscape architects of this century...His book The Education of a Gardener remains, in my view, the best combined guide to planting and designing a garden ever written, with inspiration for every sort of gardener, wherever they are placed. The last chapter on his own dream garden is brilliant.
— The Independent (London)
Whatever has happened to garden writing? By that I mean literature, books that one picks up in the same way that one would a novel or biography for a good read, confident of the quality of its prose...Going to my bookshelves, I pull down Russell Page's The Education of a Gardener or Vita Sackville—West's In Your Garden....Virtually no pictures in any of them. We recognize all of these as somehow belonging to a golden age of garden writing.
— The Times (London)
Page had a great talent and a sensitivity not only to different types of flora and to different climates, but also to the architectural requirements of gardens, both large and small...Combining a painter's eye (his only formal training was in art) with a pragmatic and encyclopedic knowledge of horticulture, he produced gardens that were—are—extraordinarily lovely.
— The New York Times