Hidcote is a very interesting book in a variety of ways. Hidcote Garden is located in the Cotswolds of England but was created by the expatriate American Lawrence Johnston. The first edition of this work was published in 1989; this revised edition includes new research by author Ethne Clarke.
The book is a biography of Lawrence Johnston, a man who left little behind for his biographer’s use. It is also the story of how the garden became the first garden taken on by the National Trust, and for me, this was the intriguing part of the book. Clarke recounts the prolonged negotiations between Johnston, the National Trust and other interested parties; how the Trust’s staff have managed the gardens through the years, including their decision to return the garden to its 1930′s appearance when they believed it to be in its prime; and the conundrum of preserving a garden designed for one person’s enjoyment while providing access to crowds of paying tourists. A favorite fact from the garden’s history: it provided four hospitals with fresh produce during World War II.
While not a heavily illustrated garden book, there are lovely color photos of the contemporary garden, as well as historical photos of Johnston and the early garden.