Written by a well known landscape architect, this book describes gardens and their functions in various countries. The author is as humorously appreciative of the peoples who create and use the gardens as of the gardens themselves. is style is personal, with an autobiographical flavor that describes but rarely explains and turns to personification in a manner that at times confounds. Still, . Steele is obviously informed and totally immersed in his subject, and a good deal of his enthusiasm and viewpoint come through successfully. His remarks about the use of water, stairs and foliage in gardens are thought-provoking, and his descriptions of gardens in Spain, Italy, France, China and England are observant, poetic, engaging. A connoisseur's notebook en passant.