The following is inscribed on page 308 of the author's copy of Bertrand Russell's A History of Western Philosophy
'During this chapter decided to write a history of landscape architecture, at 10.05am Sunday 23rd May 1958
', and 'completed at Taormina, Feb. 1975
Ten years later the idea of translating his great work The Landscape of Man
into visible form was formulated at Seattle on the evening of 19 May 1985. The sketch plan, with little future deviation, was completed in time for breakfast the following morning.
The Historical Gardens that this book describes are only part of a multi-million twenty year programme initiated by the Moody Foundation for the enrichment of Galveston, Texas - a city destroyed by inundation in 1900 and now materially recovered. The site of the gardens themselves is twenty-five acres of flat land adjoining sea marshes. This will be divided by artificial mountains into West and East. There will be fifteen cultures and the guide will take the visitor through them by water in a spectacular mile-long odyssey. First comes the western classical sequence, heralded by a succession of water trumpets: Eden, Egypt, Rome, Islam, the middle ages, 16th century Italy, 17th century France, 19th century England. Then follows a twisting tour through 18th century romantic Europe, through the awesome mountain within which lie the painted caves of universal pre-historic man. Thence through the three spheres of China: Taoism, Tao-Buddha, and pure Buddhism; and so home through Japan and primeval forest. The journey by water-bus should awaken visitors' interest to return on foot to study more closely what is in fact a cultural history of the world as seen in miniature through landscape.
While it is essential that the interpretation of the spirit of history should be academically correct, this principal and, we hope, enchanting composition of cultures (elsewhere usually in opposition one to another in time, space and philosophy) is intended to be a single deeply suggestive work of surrealist art of our own time.
Of the 200 black and white and 32 colour illustrations, over 100 are fine detailed drawings and sketches by the author.