This book will provide a new perspective on the way we garden, why we garden and what it means for us. Full of fascinating characters and vignettes - from ancient Greeks to suffragettes, from eccentric military men to Catholics in hiding from persecution - The Pursuit of Paradise looks into how society's changes have altered our views of gardening, who does it, and how we do it. What drives people to risk their lives in search of a rare Himalayan flower? Why are so many gardeners homosexual? How did gardening become a respectable career for women? When did looking at other people's gardens become a national British pastime? Using particular gardens to lead into themes like power, refuge, female emancipation, distribution of wealth and fashion, Jane Brown presents a history of the nation through its most popular national pursuit. It will be essential reading for the horticulturally impassioned for years to come.