cloth, 126 pp., $34.95
Liu Fang Yuan, the Garden of Flowing Fragrance, consists of approximately 12 acres on the grounds of the Huntington Library in San Marino, California, and is the most recent addition to the Huntington Botanical Gardens. Reportedly among the largest gardens designed in the classical Chinese tradition outside of China, the site offers visitors the opportunity to view the distinctive character of a seventeenth-century Suzhou garden with its charming views and exceptional architecture. The text relates the history of the site and of the garden’s development, including the cooperative efforts by Chinese gardening authorities. The editor of the collection of essays and current curator of the garden, June Li, traces different aspects of the California site to its historic and poetical sources, providing special meaning to the garden’s design, structures, and signage calligraphy. The narrative includes a review of the botanical elements on the grounds and their Chinese origins. This handsome volume provides the reader, whether a visitor to the site or not, with insight into the symbolism and design of all gardens in the Chinese classical tradition.
— Marilyn K. Alaimo, garden writer and volunteer, Chicago Botanic Garden