“’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.

Do Love Apples Count, Too?

Iowa Seed Co., 36th Annual Catalogue, 1906. Back Cover. October is National Apple Month. The Libraries has an abundance of beautiful images of fruits and the like in its seed catalog collection, which is part of the trade literature collection in the National Museum of American History Library. I have to admit that as delicious as the depicted Wealthy Apple looks, and as intrigued as I might be about the Transparent Apple, what really strikes my fancy is that Majestic Tomato, front and center, for fifteen cents. Yum. —Elizabeth Periale

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