Love Every Leaf: The Life of Landscape Architect Cornelia Hahn Oberlander.


90 pages
Contains Photos, Illustrations
ISBN 978-0-88776-804-0
DDC j712.092





Reviewed by Janet Collins

Janet Collins is a freelance writer in Sechelt, British Columbia.


Landscape architects are the unsung heroes of the design world. While architects and engineers are widely praised for their creative achievements, few openly acknowledge the efforts of landscape architects. As with women working in other design fields, the female landscape architect garners even less recognition.


Cornelia Hahn Oberlander is a Canadian landscape architect who, while not exactly a household name, is the creator of some of this country’s most notable landscape designs. Her work can be seen in such high-profile projects as the National Gallery of Canada, the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, the New York Times Building in New York, and the rooftop garden on the Canadian Embassy in Berlin, among other designs.


Love Every Leaf traces the remarkable life story of this talented landscape architect from her early childhood in Germany (the family left in the wake of Hitler’s persecution of the Jews) to her teenage years in America, and the struggles she faced while pursuing a career in a male-dominated profession. A glimpse of life with her husband, noted urban planner Peter Oberlander, and children is also included, as are descriptions of many of her projects including the children’s playgrounds she so enjoyed designing.


While biographies such as this are often dry and uninteresting to young (and many older) readers, Stinson has penned the text with a style that makes for easy reading. The photos and illustrations add further interest, not only in breaking up the text but also in creating an interactive relationship between reader and words (e.g., a photo accompanying the description of Oberlander’s school years challenges readers to identify the future landscape architect in the group of young faces). Oberlander’s desire to instill a love of plants in the younger generation also comes through. Recommended.


Stinson, Kathy., “Love Every Leaf: The Life of Landscape Architect Cornelia Hahn Oberlander.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 14, 2024,