Cover image for The looking-glass garden : plants and gardens of the Southern Hemisphere
The looking-glass garden : plants and gardens of the Southern Hemisphere
Thompson, Peter, 1931-2008.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Portland, Or. : Timber Press, 2001.
Physical Description:
451 pages : color illustrations, color maps ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
SB408.3.S645 T56 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Peter Thompson's "looking-glass garden" offers readers a glimpse of a world of new plants and possibilities by crossing the equator. The floras of countries as diverse as South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and Chile offer adventurous gardeners palettes, forms, and textures that have no parallel in the garden offerings of the north.

Author Notes

Peter Thompson, Ph.D., has been the Sydney Mayer Lecturer in Early American History at Oxford University since January 1993. He earned his doctorate at the University of Pennsylvania and spent four years as Lecturer in American History at Princeton University. He resides in England.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Given the rare opportunity to visit hundreds of gardens and wild habitats, Thompson has produced an exciting survey of exotic flora found south of the equator. The exhilarating writing promises to tantalize and educate garden enthusiasts by communicating the sensational, surreal allure of the region's plant life. In touring gardens of the Southern Hemisphere and the U.S., Thompson introduces readers to an eye-opening procession of species and to the innovative designs created by plantsmen and -women who utilize unusual plant material to create stunning landscapes. Among a panoply of floral wonders exist the exuberant bulbs of South Africa, Australia's unusual winter-flowering grevilleas (deer-resistant and drought-tolerant shrubs, trees, and ground covers), and the strange, textural inflorescences of banksias. Thompson's insightful commentary points out abundant specimens that promise to inspire daring home gardeners, who can then consult the listing of hardiness zones to assist in planting unorthodox alternatives in their own gardens. Consider this one an essential addition to gardening collections. --Alice Joyce

Choice Review

Thompson, a British botanist and horticulturist, introduces European and North American gardeners to native plants from the Southern Hemisphere, particularly species from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and southern South America. Because many of these plants may be unfamiliar to gardeners north of the Equator, the metaphor of the book's title is a look into an unusual new world of plants. The author's approach is part travelogue, recounting his journeys to native habitats and to gardens in both hemispheres), and part practical guide to the 1,500 or so plants covered in the book, complemented by numerous full- and part-page color photos nicely scattered throughout the text (rather than separated into awkward color fascicles). Chapters focus on plants suited for sun, shade, and containers and then offer examples of actual gardens in the western US and in Europe that feature Southern Hemisphere plants. For those interested in broadening the spectrum of cultivated plants in their gardens, particularly in areas without severe winters, this book will provide plenty of candidates and numerous alternatives to traditional formal gardens. General readers; professionals. P. E. Berry University of Wisconsin--Madison

Table of Contents

Acknowledgementsp. 9
Chapter 1 Through the Looking-Glassp. 13
Chapter 2 Reflections of Naturep. 21
Part I Gardens in Sunshinep. 47
Chapter 3 Oases with Treesp. 53
Chapter 4 Shrubs for Sunlit Spacesp. 75
Chapter 5 Flowers of Veld and Bushp. 119
Chapter 6 Plants with Attitudep. 147
Chapter 7 Gardens by the Seasidep. 173
Chapter 8 Particularly Perennialsp. 193
Part II Gardens in Shadowp. 217
Chapter 9 Trees for Cool Gardensp. 221
Chapter 10 Flowers of the Forestp. 241
Chapter 11 Gardens Without Flowersp. 261
Chapter 12 Tropical Dramap. 283
Part III Gardens in Containersp. 305
Chapter 13 Plants for the Patiop. 311
Chapter 14 Gardens Under Glassp. 329
Part IV Through the Looking-Glass in the Northern Hemisphere: Case Studiesp. 349
Chapter 15 Through the Looking-Glass in California and Mediterranean Europep. 351
Chapter 16 Through the Looking-Glass in the Pacific Northwest and Britainp. 376
Hardiness Zones of Looking-Glass Plantsp. 403
Maps of South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and Chilep. 415
Bibliographyp. 419
Indexp. 423