Paradise Gardens: Spiritual Inspiration and Earthly Expression

Author(s): Toby Musgrave


Plants and gardens have always been a cornerstone of all major world religions and belief systems. The Fields of Reeds in Ancient Egypt, Eden in Christianity, the Isles of the Immortals in China and the Pure Land in Buddhist Japan are just some of the divine gardens promised to the faithful or earthly paradises imbued with symbolism and ritual. And in all religions plants have their own religious meanings and associations, ceremonial or ritualistic purpose and use. Taking a global perspective and with a chronology of over 5000 years, Paradise Gardens examines, explores and interprets seventeen belief systems grouped into five themed sections. Each chapter will feature an especially significant earthly paradise and through this one garden will explore the wider religio-symbolic use of gardens and plants within the belief system. Dr Musgrave is able to explore and explain these gardens both within their religious framework but also within the wider contexts of garden history and the prevailing zeitgeist.


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"Plants and gardens have always been a cornerstone of all the major world religions says the author, surveying the last 5,000 years, identifying significant plants, their symbolism, ritual and uses, and revealing the form, design and content of the divine garden, along with its religious purposes. Sumptuously illustrated." The Bookseller

DR TOBY MUSGRAVE is one of the UK's leading authorities on garden and plant history. With a degree in horticulture and a PhD in garden history he has for the last twenty years been an independent scholar and consultant, author, lecturer, television and radio presenter and garden designer. Toby's academic knowledge and understanding of global garden history is as broad as it is deep. His special areas of interest are European medieval gardens, Islamic gardens and Eastern gardens. Toby writes for prestigious magazines such as Gardens Illustrated and The Garden and has written eight garden history and garden design titles which have been published in ten languages. The inspiration for Paradise Gardens was an undergraduate course on 'Divine Gardens and Earthly Paradises' which he taught at the Danish Institute for Study Abroad. The author is based in Denmark. His previous books include The Plant Hunters (1998), Courtyard Gardens (2001), Cottage Gardens (2004), An Empire of Plants (2012), Heritage Fruits and Vegetables (2012) and The Gardener's Garden (2014).

General Fields

  • : 9780711236530
  • : Frances Lincoln Publishers Ltd
  • : Frances Lincoln Publishers Ltd
  • : July 2015
  • : September 2015
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Toby Musgrave
  • : Hardback
  • : 224
  • : 263 colour photographs