Inside The New York Botanical Garden

From the Library

Small Treasures in the Mertz Library: Signature of the Revolution

Posted in From the Library on July 3 2018, by Jane Lloyd

Jane Lloyd is a volunteer in the LuEsther T. Mertz Library of The New York Botanical Garden.


Craik
Dr. James Craik (1730–1814)

William Craik (1703–1798), a former owner of a book in the Rare Book Room of the LuEsther T. Mertz Library, was not a famous person, but he had an important influence on the founding of the United States. Craik signed his name and the year “1764” on the fly leaf of Statical Essays; Containing Vegetable Staticks; or an Account of some Statical Experiments on the Sap in Vegetables…, the third edition of which was published in 1738 by Stephen Hales (1677–1761).

Craik was the eldest son of a landowner in Arbigland, Scotland. When he inherited his father’s run-down estate in 1736, he set out to improve it by using new agricultural techniques and machinery, and Hales’s book would have been essential reading for him.

Craik had at least one illegitimate child—a son—before he married. That boy, James Craik (1730–1814), studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh, then joined the British Army and served in the West Indies. In 1754 he joined the Virginia Provincial Regiment as a surgeon and saw action in the French and Indian War, serving with and becoming a close friend of George Washington, who eventually commanded the regiment.

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Fifth Annual Humanities Institute Symposium: Plant Intelligence

Posted in Humanities Institute on June 13 2018, by Vanessa Sellers

Humanities
Janet Brown and Peter Wohlleben standing in the snow at the Tulip Tree Allée.

This year’s Humanities Institute Symposium again brought together a large body of students, scholars, horticulturists, foresters, environmental specialists, tree-lovers, and other researchers and professionals to explore a topic vital to this day and age. While last year’s symposium looked at the challenge of climate change, this year’s symposium, Plant Intelligence, was focused on an equally challenging question: Do plants have intelligence? Using the latest biological evidence, several renowned scientists explored this key question by sharing new discoveries in forest and lab, offering new insights into the inner life of plants. Their findings—including astonishing examples of plant signaling and information processing—challenged the audience’s common perception of plants and presented new paradigms for the understanding of nature.

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Nonfiction Titles for Children from Firefly Books

Posted in From the Library on May 30 2018, by Samantha D’Acunto

Samantha D’Acunto is the Reference Librarian at The New York Botanical Garden‘s LuEsther T. Mertz Library.


A Wasp Builds A NestThe LuEsther T. Mertz Library is happy to introduce new nonfiction titles from Firefly Books that have been added to our children’s circulating collection. Firefly Books has been an expert in nonfiction books for adults and children since 1977. The titles below are fun, colorful, and engaging reads for all reading levels. New readers will feel comfortable easing into these nonfiction narratives and confident readers will enjoy learning about insects, birds, and jungles!

In A Wasp Builds a Nest by Kate Scarborough & Martin Camm, readers are invited to experience the construction of a wasp’s nest. Each shingled page reveals an inside look at the step-by-step progress of building the nest from start to finish—both the nest and the pages grow together. Readers will learn about wasp anatomy, reproduction, life cycle, and nest structure. From early spring to late summer, wasps keep busy building and foraging for food until it’s time to find a winter home; then the cycle repeats. This book is a great option for readers who are comfortable learning new vocabulary, as it provides so much information about wasps and their behavior.

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The Know Maintenance Perennial Garden

Posted in From the Library on May 17 2018, by Esther Jackson

Esther Jackson is the Public Services Librarian at NYBG’s LuEsther T. Mertz Library where she manages Reference and Circulation services and oversees the Plant Information Office. She spends much of her time assisting researchers, providing instruction related to library resources, and collaborating with NYBG staff on various projects related to Garden initiatives and events.


The Know Maintenance Perennial GardenThis week’s book review is a #ThrowBackThursday to the popular classic The Know Maintenance Perennial Garden. Written in 2014 by Roy Diblik for Timber Press, the text is a favorite of gardeners who love perennials. Diblik, who worked closely with designer Piet Oudolf on the Lurie Garden in Chicago, has brought his wisdom and knowledge to the public with Know Maintenance. Each of the 62 plans in this work are based on a 10’x14′ grid that is modular in design, offering home gardeners many combinations and plants to suit their landscape and needs, regardless of whether their space is larger or smaller than the example grid. The plans are inspired by works of art as well as existing gardens (for example, Monet, Great Dixter, and Swarthmore College), and are divided into two sections for areas with sun and shade. In addition, plant profiles for 74 plants offer readers suggestions for different plants to use in existing gardens or as a part of new plantings.

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Art and Gardens in Children’s Books

Posted in From the Library on May 15 2018, by Samantha D’Acunto

Samantha D’Acunto is the Reference Librarian at The New York Botanical Garden‘s LuEsther T. Mertz Library.


Meet GeorgiaWith the new Georgia O’Keeffe: Visions of Hawai‘i exhibition opening May 19, the LuEsther T. Mertz Library thought it would be fun to break out some of our existing titles and introduce some new titles that explore art, artists, and plants.

New to our collection is Meet Georgia. Author Marina Muun explores the life and works of American artist Georgia O’Keeffe in an activity book. The book invites readers to travel from New York to New Mexico with Georgia, all the while learning about the art that was inspired by the landscapes she visited. Readers are prompted to get creative with various activities. Fill out skyscrapers in the New York City skyline, illustrate the sound of music, and paint the colors of a New Mexico sunset.

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Healing in the Garden

Posted in From the Library on May 8 2018, by Esther Jackson

Esther Jackson is the Public Services Librarian at NYBG’s LuEsther T. Mertz Library where she manages Reference and Circulation services and oversees the Plant Information Office. She spends much of her time assisting researchers, providing instruction related to library resources, and collaborating with NYBG staff on various projects related to Garden initiatives and events.


Therapeutic GardensTherapeutic Gardens: Design for Healing Spaces is a 2015 book by Daniel Winterbottom and Amy Wagenfeld for Timber Press. The authors draw on a body of research that suggests nature and gardens can be healing spaces for people with disabilities and illnesses. However, they also pose the question—is every garden a therapeutic garden? The authors follow this question with a quote from Rodale: “Gardens are where people and the land come together in the most inspiring way.” This is the guiding sentiment throughout the book, making it a useful resource for horticultural therapists, those who would like to design gardens with accessibility in mind, and those who are interested in learning more about the health benefits of many different kinds of gardens.

Starting with a historical sketch about therapeutic gardens, proceeding chapter titles include “Collaborative Design,” “Gardens for Movement and Physical Rehabilitation,” “Gardens for Solace and Comfort,” “Learning Gardens,” “Sensory Gardens,” and “Community Gardens,” ending with a section about garden maintenance. Throughout the text, the authors highlight different successful therapeutic gardens within each category, including gardens for children with cancer, gardens for homeless populations, and peace gardens. For those who believe in the healing power of nature, or those who are interested in the history of therapeutic garden design and philosophies, Therapeutic Gardens is a great resource and a fascinating book.

In the Great Dixter Kitchen

Posted in From the Library on May 1 2018, by Esther Jackson

Esther Jackson is the Public Services Librarian at NYBG’s LuEsther T. Mertz Library where she manages Reference and Circulation services and oversees the Plant Information Office. She spends much of her time assisting researchers, providing instruction related to library resources, and collaborating with NYBG staff on various projects related to Garden initiatives and events.


The Great Dixter CookbookGreat Dixter is known for its bountiful and beautiful vegetable garden. The garden has been the subject of a blog by gardener Aaron Bertelsen since 2013, and now it is the centerpiece of The Great Dixter Cookbook: Recipes from an English Garden by Bertelsen with photographs by Andrew Montgomery for Phaidon. On gardening and cooking, the author writes: “Both cooking and gardening require a willingness to learn from experience and to adapt what you are doing … both cooking and gardening offer tremendous scope for creativity … as with everything at Great Dixter, neither the vegetable garden nor the kitchen ever stands still.”

Part cookbook and part gardening book, The Great Dixter Cookbook is filled with beautiful photographs of food, plants, and gardening. Approximately 70 pages address gardening topics while 136 pages are devoted to recipes. Gardening sections include chapters on growing fruits and vegetables as well as a garden diary with suggested garden chores for each of the four seasons. The recipes section includes breakfast, soups, mains, salads and side dishes, biscuits, cakes and desserts, preserves, and basic recipes for foods like stock and pastries.

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Kicking Off Children’s Book Week!

Posted in From the Library on May 1 2018, by Samantha D’Acunto

Samantha D’Acunto is the Reference Librarian at The New York Botanical Garden‘s LuEsther T. Mertz Library.


Children's Book WeekIt’s the 99th anniversary of the Children’s Book Council – Children’s Book Week! Children’s Book Week is a national event that first started in 1919 to promote literacy among the nation’s youth. Each year readers are invited to celebrate this week in various ways. To join in on the fun, the LuEsther T. Mertz Library would love to share exciting new titles that have recently been added to our children’s circulating collection. Visit us in the library to see fantastic titles on display April 30th to May 6th!

To kick off the celebration we would like to highlight…

Floris Books is reintroducing the works of Sibylle von Olfers and Signe Aspelin to delight a new generation! Originally, the Story of the Root Children was printed in 1906 in German. It is now in its eighth printing in English. For readers not familiar with the story, it’s a celebration of the wonders that spring and summer offer each year. Winter is over and it is time for Mother Earth to wake up the Root Children. As they wake from their sleepy slumber, the Root Children begin to prepare to emerge for spring. In their bright colors, the Root Children— Snowdrop, Forget-me-not, Daisy, Buttercup, Poppy, and their insect friends—make their way above ground. Under the warmth of the sun, they all explore forests and meadows. As spring turns to summer, and summer to autumn, the Root children are ready for bed again.

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Sustainable Landscapes from East to West

Posted in From the Library on April 24 2018, by Esther Jackson

Esther Jackson is the Public Services Librarian at NYBG’s LuEsther T. Mertz Library where she manages Reference and Circulation services and oversees the Plant Information Office. She spends much of her time assisting researchers, providing instruction related to library resources, and collaborating with NYBG staff on various projects related to Garden initiatives and events.


Northwest Garden ManifestoI have a soft spot for gardening books from the Northwest, and so although I live on the East Coast, The Northwest Garden Manifesto: Create, Restore, and Maintain a Sustainable Yard by John J. Albers, Ph.D. (photography by David E. Perry), for Mountaineers Books/Skipstone, is right up my alley. In Northwest, Albers has provided a book that is part instructional and part manifesto. The basics of garden (or “yard”) design are addressed, but the focus is on ecology and sustainable land management. While not explicitly a permaculture guide, Northwest includes useful information about topics such as composting, solar energy, and wildlife habitats. Although the plant recommendations are most appropriate for the Northwest, gardeners throughout the United States will find Albers’s book useful and informative. It is an especially appropriate book for someone who is considering becoming more hands-on with garden or yard care, and wants to understand how a person or community can affect positive ecological change.

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Pass it on… Preservation Week with the LuEsther T. Mertz Library!

Posted in From the Library on April 23 2018, by Samantha D’Acunto

Samantha D’Acunto is the Reference Librarian at The New York Botanical Garden‘s LuEsther T. Mertz Library.


Map during treatment - lining 2
A map being treated in the LuEsther T. Mertz Library

This Preservation Week, we would like to highlight the wonderful work our conservation team does to ensure the longevity and care of the library collections. Caring for a collection as extensive as the LuEsther T. Mertz Library’s requires focus, consistency, precision, and passion. But first, you are probably wondering—what is Preservation Week? The American Library Association says it best:

“ALA encourages libraries and other institutions to use Preservation Week to connect our communities through events, activities, and resources that highlight what we can do, individually and together, to preserve our personal and shared collections.”

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