A compelling inquiry of the meaning of wilderness follows the author's exploration of local landscapes such as a hedge maze and town parks in search of that essential contact with nature.
This is the ironic story of how Italian Renaissance and Baroque gardens encouraged the preservation of the American wilderness and ultimately fostered the creation of the world’s first national park system. Told via Mitchell’s sometimes disastrous and humorous travels--from the gardens of southern Italy up through Tuscany and the lake island gardens--the book is filled with history, folklore, myths, and legends of Western Europe, including a detailed history of the labyrinth, a common element in Renaissance gardens. In his attempt to understand the Italian garden in detail, Mitchell set out to create one on his own property--with a labyrinth.
About the Author
John Hanson Mitchell's work is focused on a square mile tract of land known as Scratch Flat, located about thirty-five miles north-west of Boston. Mitchell has used this anomalous landscape of rolling hills, farms, forests and encroaching suburbs to explore his continuing interest in natural and human history and the whole question of place in human cultures, both native and European. Best known of this series of books is the first, Ceremonial Time: Fifteen Thousand Years on One Square Mile, a New York Times Editors' Choice. The latest book in the group is An Eden of Sorts: The Natural History of My Feral Garden. All of these books have been collected together in a series known as The Scratch Flat Chronicles.