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A gardener ought to have a little make-believe, the Southern California garden maven Olive Percival mused more than eighty years ago. Inspired by this principle, she devised plans for whimsical gardens that could be created 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-ts, larkspur, and borage; and The Sliced Cake, a round, pink-and-white garden divided into wedges - the perfect setting for afteron 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 Percival's charming illustrations and instructions for fifteen fanciful children's gardens, all selected from her unpublished manuscript in the Huntington Library, are reproduced for the first time in this volume, designed in keeping with her own arts and crafts aesthetic.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.
Olive Percival (1869-1945) was a multitalented 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.