Burpee Foundation: Cultivating America’s Gardens

For as long as he can remember, George Ball, Chairman and CEO of W. Atlee Burpee and Chairman of the Board of the Burpee Foundation, has been gardening. As a young boy, his grandmother would send him to the yard to weed, watching him from her rocking chair on the porch. As George recalls, at the beginning of one spring, tulips popped up and he was enraptured by their beauty – he’d never seen anything like them. Curious, he put his nose into a tulip; he was so small that the flower engulfed his entire face. George remembers feeling absorbed by the wonder of the tulip; it was like a little world, with the petals enveloping his cheeks and an ant crawling around inside. A fascination, love, and reverence for flowers was born, as the tulip encounter tickled his senses of sight, smell, and touch. George was hooked, and gardening eventually became his lifelong work and passion.

“’Tis A Gift To Be Simple” But to Have a Splendid Garden Buy Shaker Seeds

In honor of Earth Day and National Garden Month, we take a look at one of the lesser known influences in the seed and garden business – the Shaker community.

Garden Stories Twitterchat with the Biodiversity Heritage Library

“Garden Stories” is a week long social media event for garden lovers from the Biodiversity Heritage Library. The campaign will explore the fascinating world of gardening, from the rise of agriculture to the home garden and the mail order gardening phenomenon. Celebrating the history, science, and art of gardening, content will be published via the BHL Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, and Pinterest, with additional posts through the Smithsonian Libraries’ Tumblr.

Ephemeral Thoughts during the Waning Days of Summer

This post was written by rare books cataloger Julia Blakely. It originally appeared on the Smithsonian Collections Blog. The spectacular display of the capital cherry trees of this year is but a happy, distant memory and the gardens of Washington have that hot, exhausted look of August, escaping into a rare gardening book is in order. The Cullman Library has a survivor of an ephemeral form of publication—nursery trade catalogs—that are valuable not more »

Welcome, 2014!

The Year of the Salamander. The Year of Family Farming. The Year of the Horse (starting January 31st, of course). Whatever you choose to call it and however you celebrate, we wish you a very Happy New Year!

Support the Libraries with your holiday shopping!

Throughout the year, the Smithsonian Libraries works with brand managers at the Smithsonian Enterprises to develop products based on unique items in our collection. From sleigh beds to weather vanes, our books have inspired a variety of merchandise! Not only are they neat items, but a portion of the proceeds comes back to the Libraries for the care and maintenance of our collection. Below is a list of perfectly giftable items just more »

Happy Independence Day!

In honor of the patriotic spirit of the Fourth of July, plus the gardening season that is upon us, we take a special look at victory gardens! Though more known for their place in the Second World War, victory gardens (or war gardens as they were initially called) were first advocated during World War I. In addition to rationing other goods, citizens were urged to do their patriotic duty and grow their own vegetables, fruits and herbs at home in order to free up resources for the military. It was hoped that with more resources, the U.S. forces would have better success on the warfront.

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