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A Clearing in the Distance, Frederick Law Olmsted and America in the 19th Century
In a brilliant collaboration between writer and subject, Witold Rybczynski, the bestselling author of Now I Sit Me Down, illuminates Frederick Law Olmsted's role as a major cultural figure at the epicenter of nineteenth-century American history.
We know Olmsted through the physical legacy of his stunning landscapes—among them, New York's Central Park, California's Stanford University campus, and Boston's Back Bay Fens. But Olmsted's contemporaries knew a man of even more extraordinarily diverse talents. Born in 1822, he traveled to China on a merchant ship at the age of twenty-one. He cofounded The Nation magazine and was an early voice against slavery. He managed California's largest gold mine and, during the Civil War, served as the executive secretary to the United States Sanitary Commission, the precursor of the Red Cross.
Rybczynski's passion for his subject and his understanding of Olmsted's immense complexity and accomplishments make his book a triumphant work. In A Clearing in the Distance, the story of a great nineteenth-century American becomes an intellectual adventure.
Biltmore Estate, The Most Distinguished Private Place
"The most distinguished private place" - that is how, in 1893, the great landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted described Biltmore Estate, perhaps the most ambitious private building project of America's Gilded Age. It was only five years earlier that George Washington Vanderbilt purchased the first parcel of what would become his 125,000-acre estate in Asheville, North Carolina. Along with Olmsted, he commissioned the preeminent architect of the day, Richard Morris Hunt, to design the estate. The house, modeled in part on the chateaux of the Loire Valley, has become one of the greatest and most important in American architectural history. Its 255 rooms, with spectacular and finely crafted interiors, opulent furnishings (some designed by Hunt), and furniture and decorative arts objects collected by Vanderbilt from all corners of the world, have made it a rich national treasure. The estate served as the cradle of the profession of forestry in America. With Olmsted's advice and expertise, it became the first working model of a scientifically managed forest and played a critical role in the creation of our national parks. This meticulously researched book accompanies an exhibition organized by The Octagon, the Museum of the American Architectural Foundation; it chronicles Biltmore from inception, development, and construction through its Christmas 1895 opening celebrations, and into the present. Original architectural drawings, sketches, plans, presentation drawings, nineteenth-century photographs, and vibrant new color photography complete this portrait of a great landmark. Today Biltmore Estate belongs to George Washington Vanderbilt's descendants, who have opened the house to the public and have made it one of the most visited in America.
Gardening Basics for Dummies
You’re now officially out of excuses for not planting the garden of your dreams. Even if you’ve never sowed a seed nor pulled a weed, Gardening Basics For Dummies contains everything you need to know about flowers, beds, borders, trees, shrubs, and lawns to create your own private paradise. This friendly and informative guide also covers all of the tools and additives available to make gardening easier. You’ll discover:
Clear definitions and descriptions of the different types of plants
Tips on choosing the type of garden you want
How to create a garden plan
Easy-to-follow instructions for soil preparation
Advice on planting, growing and caring for annuals and perennials
Step-by-step plans for organic and edible gardens
Plans for butterfly and children's gardens
Packed with helpful tips on controlling pests safely, managing weeds, and correcting common gardening problems, Gardening for Dummies turns your brown thumb green in a hurry.