The Wild Garden

The Wild Garden Cover

The Wild Garden

By William Robinson; Charles Nelson (Photographer)

Collins Press, Hardcover, 9781848890350, 205pp.

Publication Date: March 7, 2011

Few people have owned a copy of The Wild Garden, yet it is one of the most influential books published in the history of gardening. Published in 1870, it was revised many times during Robinson's long life. It challenged the prevailing formal bedding style, advocating a naturalistic approach, using hardy perennials and annuals to provide long-lasting, self-perpetuating displays in the same way as they do in the wild.

About the Author
William Robinson (1838-1935) emigrated from Ireland at a young age and was rapidly welcomed into the top echelons of British horticulture and botany. By 1866 he was a Fellow in the Linnean Society, sponsored by his friend Charles Darwin. Already an expert on the flora of the British Isles, he traveled the breadth of North America by train in 1870, observing regional habitats and forging lasting connections with Charles Sargent, Asa Gray, Frederick Law Olmsted, and others of their stature. Robinson was just thirty-two when he first published "The Wild Garden," which has proved to be the most insightful, influential, and enduring of his many books and journals. Robinson's brilliance and enormous personal energy enabled him to become one of the most accomplished gardeners, editors, and publishers of his era, and he is often referred to as the Father of the English Flower Garden. Gravetye Manor, a sixteenth-century house which survives on over one-thousand acres in West Sussex, became his home and laboratory for developing and refining the wild garden concept.

Charles Nelson joined the Marine Corps in 1934 and learned hand-to-hand combat, bayonet fighting and jiu-jitsu from, among others, Colonel Anthony J. Drexel Biddle. From Sergeant Kelly, who had been attached to the International Police in Shanghai, China, in the 1930s, he learned a unique fighting method based on Mongolian wrestling techniques intended to maim or cripple, which no one else in the United States was teaching at the time.