Faced with her sister Jane’s eager inquiries about when her initial coldness towards Mr. Darcy gave way to more tender feelings in Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennet mulls it over for a moment before answering: “It has been coming on so gradually, that I hardly know when it began. But I believe I must date it from my first seeing his beautiful grounds at Pemberley.” The grounds, the reader infers, were a reflection of their owner’s character.

As one would expect, Jane Austen’s figures show up repeatedly in the gentle landscapes examined in Kate Felus’s charming The Secret Life of the Georgian Garden, as does Austen herself whom we find picnicking neat and businesslike in Godmersham Park in Kent “with a basket of Bread and Cheese & a bottle of Water, some books...