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Breaking with the idea that gardens are places of indulgence and escapism, these studies of ritualized practices reveal that gardens in Europe, Asia, the United States, and the Caribbean have in fact made significant contributions to cultural change. This book demonstrates methods and the striking results of garden reception studies. The first section explores how cultural changes occur, and devotes chapters to public landscapes in the Netherlands, seventeenth-century Parisian gardens, Freemason gardens in Tuscany, nineteenth-century Scottish kitchen gardens, and the public parks of Edo and modern Tokyo. The second part provides striking examples of construction of self in vernacular gardens in Guadeloupe and American Japanese-style gardens in California. Finally, the third section analyzes struggles for political change in gardens of Yuan China and modern Britain.