William Robinson (1838–1935) and Gertrude Jekyll were almost exact contemporaries and each made enormous contributions to the English garden – and so to the gardens of the whole English-speaking and Anglophile world – but in rather different ways. Robinson, more than any other gardener, was responsible for sweeping away the carpet bedding of the Victorians and promoting a more relaxed style using hardy plants. His voluminous writings have been hugely influential. The English Flower Garden (1883) has been described as 'the most widely read and influential gardening book ever written'. The Wild Garden(1870) runs it close. As a man he was something of a paradox – an Irish bachelor who is widely regarded as the father of the English flower garden, a theorist who scorned theorizing and an author who wrote with passion – and simultaneously – about the technicalities of mushroom cultivation and the picturesque treatment of a thousand-acre estate.
Illustrations include engravings from Robinson's books and contemporary watercolours, as well as photographs of Robinsonian gardens – especially his own garden at Gravetye Manor.