A superb companion volume to Great Houses of Europe by Sacheverell Sitwell, this offers a text that is as fascinating as its sumptuous illustrations -- 40 plates in full color and 350 in monochrome, along with documentary drawings and engravings. The author, Harold Nicholson tells the reader, is the one time presiding genius of the Lutyens garden at Delhi, and now on call, goes from Peterhof to the Villa Taranto, from Winterthur to Bodnant. From the formal gardens of the 16th- 18th centuries in France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Russia, Portugal, Switzerland, he goes to the more appealing blends of natural and formal in England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Holland and the United States. High-spotting his historical research with these examples of famous gardens (given in intimate detail) he traces the history of garden design, something of the people who made them, occasional anecdotes that liven the factual text. He gives full credit to the majesty of the formal gardens, the great contribution made by men such as Le Notre, but he makes equally exciting the story of such American gardens as Winterthur and the three he has chosen in Charleston. A book gardeners will delight to own- even if their reach is beyond their means, for here is gardening in the grand manner.