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IN BRIEF

Fiction

July 24, 1994|Susan Heeger

CALIFORNIA GARDENS: Creating a New Eden by David C. Streatfield (Abbeville Press: $55; 271 pp., color and b&w photos). Garden books offer great imaginary journeys as well as inspiration for the Green Thumb. Streatfield's is a garden tour par excellence--not only of private spreads such as Las Tejas in Montecito out of California's landscape history--a saga of railroad barons, movie moguls and visionary designers. From mission courtyards to Victorian follies to contemporary experiments in color and form, Streatfield, who chairs the Landscape Architecture Department at the University of Washington, interprets a complex tradition with the aid of exhaustive research. The photos, from a number of sources, are uneven but successful in showing the many shapes our Eden has taken in the hands of expired gardeners.

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