In 1967, while doing some shoring up of the outer walls surrounding the Pallazo Vaj, gorgeous frescoes from the 1400's were found hidden inside the wall (one assumes it was a double wall sort of thing). This became the later inspiration for Monash University's restoration of the Pallazo's car park, back to the Renaissance garden it originally was. This book is a chronicle, of sorts, of that "restoration". Explanation of the quotes later.
First, let me say this book is gorgeous. Beautiful in its construction, photography - all of it. The writing was ... adequate. Mostly written like University professors submitting committee reports, but on a subject so rich and interesting that, with the exception of one section, it's still easy reading. (Not sure who Luke Morgan is, and I'm willing to bet he's a delightful, engaging person when he's at home, but his writing is nothing but pretentious gibberish. I've read articles about quantum physicals that were less opaque and obscure.)
So, this book would make a lovely gift - but maybe not for a gardener. The thing is, and this is my biggest disappointment, that while the book is beautiful, the garden is most decidedly not. I realise beauty is entirely subjective, and I realise too that this garden needed to serve as a public space.
But 80% of it is GRAVEL. Hand to god, 80%. According to the book, there were only 4 types of plants used in the entire space: box (so. much. box), jasmine, magnolia and lemon. Lovely plants, beautifully scented, but nothing else and EVERYTHING clipped to within an inch of its life. Even the magnolias are forced into a Christmas tree shape.
This is the "restored" garden:
I'm pretty sure you could still use that as a car park, just sayin'.
So, thus my rating. Great book, decent writing, horrific garden. Sorry Monash Uni, that's not a garden.