About this Book
A gardener "ought to have a little make-believe," the Southern California garden maven Olive Percival mused more than 80 years ago. Inspired by this principle, she devised plans for whimsical gardens that could be enjoyed by children and adults alike. Her delightful schemes included "The Garden of Aladdin," an enchanted, sunken orchard fragrant with kumquat, persimmon, and orange trees; "The Fairy Ring," a blue fairyland of forget-me-nots, larkspur, and borage; and "The Sliced Cake," a round, pink-and-white garden divided into wedges—the perfect setting for afternoon tea.
Percival’s charming illustrations and instructions for fifteen fanciful children’s gardens, all selected from her unpublished manuscript in the Huntington Library, are reproduced for the first time in this volume, designed in keeping with her own Arts & Crafts aesthetic. Described by Percival as "a potpourri of flowery facts and garden lore," The Children’s Garden Book shows children that the pleasures of one’s own garden may be achieved through planning, patience, dedication, and imagination.
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About the Author
Olive Percival (1869–1945) was a multi-talented writer, photographer,
gardener, artist, and bibliophile who lived in the Arroyo Seco artists’
enclave near Los Angeles. She was the author of several books on
gardening and garden lore, including Our Old-Fashioned Flowers
(1947), Yellowing Ivy
(1946), and Leaf-Shadows and Rose-Drift, Being Little Songs from a Los Angeles Garden
(1911). The Huntington Library owns Percival’s diaries, more than 700 of her photographs, and three book manuscripts.Notes:
Reviews of The Children's Garden Book:
"The multi-talented Arts and Crafts proponent, Olive Percival, left a legacy of artful garden plans and stories for children, which have just been published for all garden lovers. The fifteen garden designs and her sketches reflect a time when young imaginations could be entranced by romantic stories of fair maidens, enchanted places, and the magic of Aladdin. . . . The book is charming and contains creative works that stand the test of time."—National Garden Clubs, Inc.
"Penned by Percival more than 80 years ago, the library has opened a window to the enchanted fairyland she hoped all children could enter. . . . Children will find advice dispensed as if from a loving grandmother . . . this book will delight and inspire. Percival's dream, it would seem, is posthumously fulfilled."—Kim Yeager, Minneapolis Star Tribune
"The text and 106 line illustrations are endearingly dated, and the philosophy of the Arts and Crafts period is timeless. . . . Percival's inspiring book is bound in beautiful sage green linen with gold lettering and violet trim - exactly as she envisioned it more than 80 years ago. The author would have been pleased."—Lili Singer, Los Angeles Times
“Author Olive Percival devised plans for whimsical gardens that could be enjoyed by children and adults alike.” –Larchmont Chronicle
“The Children’s Garden Book… contains fifteen garden plans that should delight children, ranging from The Lavender Walk to The Sliced Cake…and The Garden o Aladdin…It is a charming volume, and would no doubt be viewed as a fitting memorial by this woman who loved gardens and valued beauty in its many forms.” – Eden: Journal of the California Garden & Landscape Historical Society
"Olive Percival's The Children's Garden Book is a charming array of previously unpublished blueprints for garden design -- and an ascent into an enchanted old flax-and-sundial world."—East Bay Express
Families who love to garden may be interested in visiting The Helen and Peter Bing Children's Garden at the Huntington.