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“I want to put the mystery back into the heart of garden design, where it needs to be. It’s what lures you in through the gate, keeps you moving through the landscape, and fills you with excitement along the way. The sense of mystery is what turns a mere display of plants, paths, and ornaments into an adventure.” —James van Sweden Guided by world-renowned landscape architect James van Sweden and horticulture expert Tom Christopher, any gardener can learn the secrets of the gardener’s art and absorb the essence of inspired garden design. In their gifted hands, creating your own perfect garden, with its own alluring mysteries, turns out to be not only easy but a delight. Whether it’s a ten-foot-square city terrace or a ten-acre expanse, the same principles apply: the intelligent use of positive and negative space, of form and scale, of light and shadow, of rough and smooth textures. Do you want a garden you can immerse yourself in? A garden you can smell and listen to as well as observe? An exuberant garden or a contemplative garden? In this elegantly written and visually stunning book, van Sweden reveals the secrets of famous gardens around the world and encourages you to find inspiration in the arts—in painting (from America’s classic regional artists to the abstract expressionists), music (from classical to jazz), sculpture, even dance. He introduces you to famous artists who share how their art has influenced the design of their own gardens, and teaches you to think not in terms of borders and beds or even paths and meadows but of a tapestry woven from sky, trees, rocks, vines, flowers, grasses, and space. Richly illustrated throughout with magnificent photographs, The Artful Garden both tells and shows, sharing with beginning and experienced gardeners a wealth of inspiration and practical help. “What’s my message?” van Sweden asks in conclusion. The wise answer: “Don’t squander the potential for surprise and wonder.” This beautiful book guarantees everyone who reads it a priceless store of gardening wisdom. From the Hardcover edition.
The Artful Species explores the idea that our aesthetic responses and art behaviors are connected to our evolved human nature. Our humanoid forerunners displayed aesthetic sensibilities hundreds of thousands of years ago and the art standing of prehistoric cave paintings is virtually uncontested. In Part One, Stephen Davies analyses the key concepts of the aesthetic, art, and evolution, and explores how they might be related. He considers a range of issues, including whether animals have aesthetic tastes and whether art is not only universal but cross-culturally comprehensible. Part Two examines the many aesthetic interests humans take in animals and how these reflect our biological interests, and the idea that our environmental and landscape preferences are rooted in the experiences of our distant ancestors. In considering the controversial subject of human beauty, evolutionary psychologists have traditionally focused on female physical attractiveness in the context of mate selection, but Davies presents a broader view which decouples human beauty from mate choice and explains why it goes more with social performance and self-presentation. Part Three asks if the arts, together or singly, are biological adaptations, incidental byproducts of nonart adaptations, or so removed from biology that they rate as purely cultural technologies. Davies does not conclusively support any one of the many positions considered here, but argues that there are grounds, nevertheless, for seeing art as part of human nature. Art serves as a powerful and complex signal of human fitness, and so cannot be incidental to biology. Indeed, aesthetic responses and art behaviors are the touchstones of our humanity.
INTRODUCTION: Lanfranco's Camerino degli Eremiti; 1. Architecture, Decoration and Typology of the Palazzetto Farnese: Camerino and Palazzetto: a reconstruction; Decoration of the Palazzetto; The giardino segreto as 'theatre of nature'; The tradition of studioli; Pliny's diaeta and its Cinquecento imitations; Studiolo, garden, and the genre of landscape-painting; The typology of the Palazzetto Farnese; Camerino and Palazzetto - decorative or functional relations?; 2. THE CARDINAL'S RETREAT: Palazzo Farnese at Caprarola; The Stanza della Solitudine; The Stanza della Penitenza; Rome: the Casa Professa-apartment; Iconography of the Cappellina Farnese; Ignatius' exemplarity; Jesuit devotional retreats; Caprarola: the Palazzina Farnese; Grottaferrata: the Palazzo Abbaziale; Camaldoli; 3. PATRONAGE, PROTECTORATE AND REGULAR REFORMS: Orazione e Morte; The Arciconfraternita and its cardinal protectors; The Quarant'Ore and the Camerino; Sixteenth-century concepts of protectorate; Impending abolition and renewal of the protectorate in 1606; Between regular reform and curial changes; Odoardo Farnese's protectorates; Discalced Carmelites and the mission; The Camerino's Eucharistic message; Saints, protectorates and paintings; 4. GARDENS FOR THE SOUL: Cardinals retreating: Sfondrato, Borromeo and Bellarmino; Bellarmino's urban retreat; Funeral monuments as models of devotion; Bellarmino's 'Ladder of Nature'; The garden of Sant'Andrea al Quirinale; Spiritual Paintings of the Universe; Scenes of martyrdom in San Vitale; Functions of the Sant'Andrea complex; Christian Doctrine and the argument of nature; Pilgrimage and the real world; Missionary theory and natural philosophy; Allegorical gardens in Seicento Rome; The Palazzetto as metaphorical Scala; 6. THE IMAGINARY, THE REAL AND THE EXEMPLARY HERMITAGE: Images of hermits; Cinquecento realities of solitary life; The case of Fra Pelagio; De-historicising the hermit; Itinerant hermits in and around Rome; Sant'Onofrio: the monk redressing as hermit; Ephemeral landscapes and theatrical hermits; Giacinto da Casale in Piacenza; Casale's grotto and the Camerino degli Eremiti.
‘Disciples of Flora’ explores, through a variety of approaches, disciplines, and historical periods, the place and vitality of gardens as cultural objects, repositories of meaning, and sites for the construction of identity and subjectivity; gardens being an eminent locus where culture and nature meet. This collection of essays contributes to a revision of histories of gardens by broadening the scope of scholarly inquiry to include a long history from ancient Rome to the present, in which contesting memories delineate new apprehensions of topography and space. The contributors draw attention to alternative landscapes or gardening practices, while recalling the ways in which spaces have been invested with an affective dimension that has itself been historicized.
Annual collection of essays, this year treating works by Donne, Shakespeare, Marvell, and Spenser, among other topics.
More than 30 recipes for a wide variety of beautifully decorated cup cakes.

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