Plants and gardens have always been a cornerstone of all major world religions and belief systems. The Fields of Reeds in Ancient Egypt, Eden in Christianity, the Isles of the Immortals in China and the Pure Land in Buddhist Japan are just some of the divine gardens promised to the faithful or earthly paradises imbued with symbolism and ritual. And in all religions plants have their own religious meanings and associations, ceremonial or ritualistic purpose and use.
Taking a global perspective and with a chronology of over 5000 years, Paradise Gardens examines, explores and interprets seventeen belief systems grouped into five themed sections. Each chapter will feature an especially significant earthly paradise and through this one garden will explore the wider religio-symbolic use of gardens and plants within the belief system. Dr Musgrave is able to explore and explain these gardens both within their religious framework but also within the wider contexts of garden history and the prevailing zeitgeist.
“painstakingly researched, beautifully illustrated...an absorbing and educational read and a refreshing and insightful way to look at gardens - and human history, too.”
"scholarly and beautiful... An intelligent new way to look at beautiful gardens. Five stars"
“This is a fluently written, intellectually stimulating and informative book. ...a serious book for readers interested in how and why gardens play such an important role in our spiritual lives”