Heirloom Bulbs & Garden History  •  So Much More Than New
December 2016
Dec
14
2016

600 Years of Flowers:
Bunny Mellon’s Art at the NYBG

If you’re lucky enough to be anywhere near New York City this winter, treat yourself to the New York Botanical Garden’s small but impressive exhibit of botanical art from the vast collection of the late Bunny Mellon.

Some 80 works from the 16,000 Mellon collected are on display, ranging from a hand-painted book illustration from 1350 to a lively 1958 lithograph by Picasso.

As you may remember from previous posts here, Mellon redesigned the White House Rose Garden for President Kennedy, filling it in spring with masses of tulips. The Dutch Tulipomania in the 1630s was a special interest of hers, and several works in the NYBG exhibit feature tulips, including one that could very well be ‘Zomerschoon’.

“Redoute to Warhol: The Botanical Art of Bunny Mellon” runs through February 12, and even if you can’t get there in person you can enjoy several of its highlights online.

Dec
7
2016

New Garden Books for Giving and Getting

Although the cold, short days of winter aren’t the best for gardening, they’re perfect for garden reading – and books make great holiday gifts. Here are five new ones I’m hoping to enjoy before spring returns.

New Garden Books for Giving and Getting – www.OldHouseGardens.com

Rescuing Eden: Preserving America’s Historic Gardens, by Curtice Taylor and Caroline Seebohm: “Most gardens do not survive their creators, being sold off, dug out, or, if not utterly destroyed, then so drastically changed as to be sadly unrecognizable. The 28 remarkable properties in this book” – ranging from Middleton Place plantation to the gardens of Alcatraz – “are happy exceptions to that rule. . . . Some are still in the process of renovation, and others will never be fully restored, but all offer rare glimpses into this country's horticultural history.” (reviewed by Adam Levine in Country Gardens)

New Garden Books for Giving and Getting – www.OldHouseGardens.com

Garden Flora: The Natural and Cultural History of the Plants in Your Garden, by Noel Kingsbury: “This must be the most beautiful book of the publishing season, with an oversize format rich in botanical art and historic and contemporary photos. Every page is stunning, a revelation in art and text of flora’s long and curious history. Kingsbury’s writing is a lively backstory to what we grow in our gardens” – including most of the bulbs we offer – and “it’s also right up to the minute with insight on current plant breeding and a poignant look at the plants we’ve lost.” (reviewed by Val Easton in the Seattle Times)

Garden Books for Giving and Getting – www.OldHouseGardens.com

The Botanical Treasury, by Christopher Mills: “The excitement of discovering a new plant is almost tangible in this lavish collection of plant histories. A delightful compendium of 40 plants from around the world, The Botanical Treasury tells the story of each one through a fascinating mix of botanical illustrations, letters sent to Kew from plant hunters, and reprinted extracts from botanical periodicals. . . . The book also includes forty reproduced prints of featured plants which can be framed – the icing on the cake of this tremendous and fascinating collection.” (reviewed in The English Garden)

New Garden Books for Giving and Getting – www.OldHouseGardens.com

A Garden for the President: A History of the White House Grounds, by Jonathan Pliska: “The White House grounds are the oldest continually maintained ornamental landscape in the United States. Handsomely illustrated with historical images and newly commissioned photography, A Garden for the President explores not only the relationship between the White House and its landscape but also the evolution of its design; the public and private uses . . . ; and the cultivation of the grounds with a focus on the specimen trees, vegetable and ornamental gardens, and conservatories. (reviewed by the White House Historical Association)

Garden Books for Giving and Getting – www.OldHouseGardens.com

Bliss Irises: Family and Flowers, The Journey to a National Collection, by Anne Milner: “Anne Milner blends personal history with gardening in this beautifully illustrated book. Her story starts with the discovery that her grandfather's cousin was . . . Arthur J. Bliss, who introduced 'Dominion', a ground-breaking purple iris that made him world famous. . . . The book’s second half focuses on the [more than 175 iris Bliss introduced], with detailed information about the plants, accompanied by photographs, watercolors, and line drawings.” (reviewed in Plant Heritage)

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