California Eden: Heritage Landscapes of the Golden State
California Eden: Heritage Landscapes of the Golden State

California Eden: Heritage Landscapes of the Golden State

By Christine Edstrom O'Hara


Publication Date: June 11, 2024

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A striking and elegant coffee-table book highlighting heritage landscape design in California.

California’s diverse vernacular and designed landscapes have roots in the late 1700s Spanish colonization of what was then called Alta California. The state also has a unique endemic flora and rich botanical history from both the Indigenous people’s “protoagriculture” and plant introductions that continue to this day. For many people, however, the concept of landscape is associated with gardens, especially estate gardens. Yet landscape design reaches far beyond the elite circles of private estates; California Eden: Heritage Landscapes of the Golden State showcases a wide range of landscapes from the professional to the vernacular through exceptional essays by distinguished landscape historians. Entries highlight famous and beloved estate gardens but also more frequently overlooked landscapes such as shopping malls, streetscapes, sports venues, and vernacular sites. From a military installation on the California-Mexico border to the campus of Stanford University and the Japanese American gardens of San Diego, the essays speak to design as well as the challenges of historic preservation of these-often ephemeral places. As elegant as it is informative, California Eden is an essential book for anyone who is passionate about plants.

About the Author

Christine Edstrom O’Hara is an associate professor of landscape at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. She received her Bachelor’s degree in English and Art History from Stanford University, Master’s degree from University of Washington in Landscape Architecture and Preservation Planning, and PhD in Landscape Architecture from University of Edinburgh. In addition to teaching, Prof. O'Hara has had a landscape design practice for over 20 years. Within that practice, she consults on the restoration and preservation of historic landscapes by writing National Register nominations, Cultural Landscape Reports, as well as restoration and rehabilitation plans. She is the president of the California Garden & Landscape History Society, trustee for the National Association for Olmsted Parks and is passionate about education and conservation of historic places.

Susan Chamberlin is a landscape historian and a licensed landscape architect with a master’s degree in architectural history from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is a founding member of the California Garden & Landscape History Society and a former adjunct faculty member of Santa Barbara City College where she taught landscape history. In addition to contributions to Shaping the American Landscape, Eden: The Journal of the California Garden & Landscape History Society, Arts and Architecture magazine, Site Lines, historic structures reports, and other publications, she is the author of Hedges, Screens & Espaliers and was a contributing editor for several horticulture books.

Format: Hardcover

Length: 256 pages

Publisher: Angel City Press

Publication Date: June 11, 2024

ISBN: 9781626401150

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