"Gardens can become our personalized icons," writes gardener, photographer, and author Elizabeth Murray in this gloriously sensuous paean to these sacred places that draw us close to the earth and enable us to express our faith, love, hope, and vision. Organized around the garden's cycles of gestation (winter), regeneration (spring), expansion (summer), and fruition (autumn), the book contains an 80-item section on the many archetypal shapes and symbols which can give our gardens soul — arches, bells, still pools of water, stones, shrines, bird feeders, prayer flags, latticework, benches, etc. Murray also shows how various aesthetic traditions (China's Feng Shui and Japan's principles of Wabi, Sabi and Suki) can bring harmony and balance to the sacred spaces we create outdoors.

The author takes us on an enlightening tour of "twelve gardens of transformation" including the Kokedera (Moss) Temple in Kyoto, Japan; Monet's Water Lily Garden in Giverny, France; the Esalen Institute Meditation Gardens in Big Sur, California, and Mary Holmes's Gardens in Santa Cruz, California. The 80 full-color photographs and illustrations make this a beautiful and bountiful meditation on gardening for the soul.