James Shirley Hibberd (1825–90) was a journalist and writer on gardening, whose popular works had great influence on middle-class taste. Although not a trained horticulturalist, his many books were based on practical experience. He developed a succession of gardens in North London, concentrating on particular types of plants, and his books reflected this work, with this book of 1864 and The Fern Garden (1869) being particularly successful. He also wrote on garden design, flower arrangement, garden furniture and architecture, and his Rustic Adornments of 1856 (reissued in this series, together with The Fern Garden), is an interesting document of social history. He edited the magazine Floral World until 1875 and later The Gardener’s Magazine, and was even consulted by the government about potato blight. His engaging and very personal style made him a popular forerunner of modern celebrity gardeners, and set a fashion for highly decorative and ornamental gardens.
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