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From the Library

The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables

Posted in From the Library on March 27 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.


Anne of Green GablesAnne Shirley, protagonist of Anne of Green Gables, has been a beloved literary favorite since the book was first published in 1908. In The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables: the Enchanting Island that Inspired L. M. Montgomery, author Catherine Reid takes readers on a journey through Prince Edward Island (PEI), Canada, the home of both Anne and Montgomery. A creative writer by trade, Reid at times focuses on Anne and her story, and at other points turns attention to Montgomery and her life. In many ways, Montgomery’s life was similar to Anne’s, although Anne of Green Gables is a work of fiction. Still, both the author and the character were immersed in the landscapes of PEI, as Reid illustrates. The journey that The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables takes readers on through the island, including both outdoor and indoor spaces, is reminiscent of Marta McDowell’s works, such as her recent book The World of Laura Ingalls Wilder : The Frontier Landscapes That Inspired the Little House Books.

In Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables, noteworthy plants are detailed alongside historic photos and select archival documents, and the overall design of the work is quite compelling. The photographs, in particular, are very evocative. Ultimately, The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables is a sweet book appropriate for those who wish to take a visual journey through PEI or learn more about a beloved childhood book.

Discover the Lives of Birds, Bats, & More from Arbordale

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

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


Bat CountNew titles from Arbordale Publishing have joined the children’s collection in the LuEsther T. Mertz Library! The titles featured below offer a perfect balance of education and entertainment with colorful illustrations, engaging storylines, and learning activities. All new titles are available for check out for library cardholders.

Bat Count: A Citizen Science Story by Anna Forrester / Illustrated by Susan Detwiler

Jojo and her family have always welcomed bats into their barn. It was not until a newspaper published a story about a disease that effected bats called white-nose syndrome that Jojo and her family decide to become citizen scientists and conduct a bat count. Throughout the years, they have noticed a drop in the number of bats they spot flying around their barn. Bat Count: A Citizen Science Story invites readers for an evening bat count with Jojo and her family. Read about bat facts, white-nose syndrome, and how to become a citizen scientist in the additional pages toward the end of the story! Bat Count is one of the selections for the National Science Teachers Association 2018 Outstanding Science Trade Books, as it is a wonderful way to encourage middle grade readers to explore and engage in science for fun.

If you do not have the opportunity to observe bats near your home consider taking a bat walk! Last autumn, staff at the NYBG Everett Children’s Adventure Garden hosted bat walks in collaboration with the Organization for Bat Conservation. Join us at future events! In the meantime, check your local bat or wildlife organization to find bat walks in your area.

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Interactive Reads from Charlesbridge

Posted in From the Library on March 9 2018, by Samantha D’Acunto

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


Plant Eat CookWinter is ending and warmer days are ahead of us. It’s time to spring out of your winter reading habits and practice being an active reader! The titles below from Charlesbridge publishing will inspire you to get up and get out with a book in hand.

With all the excitement going around about the opening of the Edible Academy, the LuEsther T. Mertz Library was very happy to receive a first look at Plant, Cook, Eat! by Joe Archer and Caroline Craig. Expect to see this book hit the shelves this month!

For all aspiring young chefs, Plant, Cook, Eat! is a wonderful invitation to explore the farm-to-table movement in a DIY fashion. Authors Joe Archer and Caroline Craig set readers up for success! Sections cover everything from seeds to harvest. Learn about composting, necessary tools to have handy, garden maintenance, including pest and daily chores, and finally harvesting your vegetables for meals. Additional growing information is provided about select vegetables such as carrots, lettuce, tomatoes, and more. Plant, Cook, Eat! offers guidance for growing vegetables in all spaces—whether you are growing indoors or outdoors, in a backyard or in a container, you will have the information and confidence you need to yield results.

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“Worms Eat My Garbage” Turns 35

Posted in From the Library on February 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.


Worms Eat My GarbageWorms Eat My Garbage: How to Set Up and Maintain a Worm Composting System is a classic book about home composting written more than 35 years ago and now in its third edition. For this new edition, author Joanne Olszewski remains true to the style of the original author Mary Appelhof, but adds new scientific data and contemporary research about vermicomposting—or composting with worms.

Worms Eat My Garbage is an informative book that includes the most practical, accessible information about how to set up and care for a home worm bin. At just under 200 pages and written in the first person, it’s a friendly yet powerful reference resource for those who are thinking about starting a worm bin, trying to figure out how best to care for an existing bin, or just want to learn more about the practice of vermicomposting. Because the book is written in simple language and contains many helpful diagrams it is accessible to children and adults, and would also be very valuable for teachers.

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The Less is More Garden

Posted in From the Library on January 18 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 Less is More GardenThe Less is More Garden: Big Ideas for Designing Your Small Yard by Susan Morrison for Timber Press delivers what it promises—big ideas!

Very few of us have the perfect backyard or garden. In fact, most people who have outdoor spaces to garden are probably “tormented” to various extents by peculiarities of their yards. If part of the problem is related to space—too little of it, say, or an oddly-shaped plot—Morrison’s designs might be just what you need to find a solution.

Morrison’s designs are, as Steve Aitken notes in his foreword, enviable. They are tasteful, practical, and beautiful. How does she accomplish these spaces? Although site analysis is a crucial part of garden design, Morrison starts with three simple questions. What will you be doing in the garden? When will you be outside? Who will be with you? With user experience in mind, Morrison crafts spaces readers can easily imagine themselves entering.

For readers new to garden design, Morrison mostly offers inspiration. More experienced designers will be able to learn from Morrison’s designs and gain practical ideas about how to use space—not just small or oddly-shaped areas but all shapes and sizes—to best effect in a garden.

In design, constraints such as limited space often inspire creative solutions and great ideas. Morrison’s work is evidence of this premise, although I suspect she would shine in any setting.

My City Highrise Garden

Posted in From the Library on January 11 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.


My City Highrise GardenMy City Highrise Garden by Susan Brownmiller is a slim, attractive volume—a gardening book that is part memoir and part advice, very firmly set in New York City. Her highrise garden is located on the top floor of a Greenwich Village apartment building, and, chapter by chapter, readers learn about the history of the garden space and Brownmiller’s experiences as a gardener.

There is a certain brutality and unpredictability to rooftop or balcony gardening as gardeners work within a very small area and are subject to different hazards, such as high winds and the threat that their plants will drop leaves, fruit, or even full plants to the balconies and street below. Some such challenges are detailed by Brownmiller, such as when she had to remove her 20-year-old birches to renovate the garden space, or when downstairs neighbors complained about peaches falling onto their balconies. In spite of these challenges, or maybe, in part, because of them, Brownmiller’s love for her garden overlooking the Hudson is infectious. 

For those who enjoy garden journals, My City Highrise Garden is an wonderful journey and escape. For those who want to learn more about balcony gardening, check out the new balcony gardening guide from the NYBG Plant Information Office.

New Year, New Children’s Books!

Posted in From the Library on January 11 2018, by Samantha D’Acunto

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


Temple GrandinAs we embark on 2018, consider revising your reading lists to incorporate these new and exciting titles from the circulating Children’s collection at the LuEsther T. Mertz Library! The National Science Teachers Association recently listed two of the titles in this post on Outstanding Science Trade Books 2018. The library will continue to feature more titles from this list in future posts.

Innovation Press celebrates innovative authors and illustrators, and the Library has welcomed three of their new titles into our collection. Kicking off this post is The Girl Who Thought in Pictures: The Story of Dr. Temple Grandin by Julia Finley Mosca, which introduces extraordinary visual thinker Dr. Temple Grandin, who harnessed her autism to visualize modern farming techniques that have been implemented by farms across the globe. This book has received high praise from both critics and readers! The illustrations by Daniel Rieley help readers see what Dr. Grandin was thinking. The combination of text and detailed visuals will excite readers of all needs, and Dr. Temple Grandin is an inspiration to innovators of all ages.

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The Factory in a Garden

Posted in From the Library on January 5 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 Factory in a Garden: A History of Corporate Landscapes from the Industrial Age to the Digital Age by Helena Chance is a detailed history of gardens and greenspace in corporate culture, from real landscapes to suggested bucolic scenes used to seduce would-be employees and home consumers alike.

Chance’s book treats gardens and landscapes as designed artifacts and explores the ideologies and values that shaped their design. Chance also assesses the depiction and mediation of these spaces in photographs, illustrations, film, and text.

The Factory in a Garden is a theory-heavy book that includes information about labor history, industrialization, and, of course, garden design in Great Britain and the United States. Chapter one addresses the origin of the factory garden movement, from the early Industrial Revolution to the period between WWI and WWII. Chapter two details links between corporate landscapes and social and health reform, including urban planning and public greenspaces during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

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The Language of Plants

Posted in From the Library on December 28 2017, 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 Language of PlantsThe Language of Plants: Science, Philosophy, Literature is a collection of essays edited by Monica Gaglioano, John C. Ryan, and Patricia Vieira published by the University of Minnesota Press.

On her website, Gaglioano writes, “This book commences a dialogue between philosophy, science, literature, and cinema dealing with plants. The aim of the edited collection is to develop a better understanding of plant life through critical awareness, conceptual rigor, and interdisciplinary thinking.” Indeed, the essays in The Language of Plants run the gamut between more scientific essays about volatile organic compounds produced by plants as a self-defense mechanism, to more humanities- and theory-based essays on the language of flowers in art and literature. 

As a whole, the collection is eclectic and thoughtful; readers of different backgrounds may be drawn to different essays, and the collection offers room for exploration between disciplines and paradigms both. For those interested in the topic of plant intelligence, The Language of Plants deserves a look.

For those based locally, the NYBG Humanities Institute (part of the LuEsther T. Mertz Library) will be hosting a symposium on Plant Intelligence on March 22, 2018, with speakers Peter Wohleben (author of The Hidden Life of Trees) and Stefano Mancuso (author of Plant Revolution). See the upcoming NYBG Adult Education Spring-Summer course catalog for more information.

Nature in the City: Good Reads to Help You Explore Your Natural Surroundings

Posted in From the Library on December 26 2017, by Samantha D’Acunto

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


It's a JungleLiving in a city can pose various challenges for families who are looking for educational opportunities that balance city and nature. When most of our day is spent commuting shoulder to shoulder in a vastly overpopulated city, who has time to create well-balanced activities that invite exploration and nurture education? The LuEsther T. Mertz Library is here to help. Below you will find our new favorite titles for the entire family from Roost Books, exploring nature and environmental awareness in cities!

It’s a Jungle Out There! 52 nature Adventure for City Kids by Jennifer Ward invites parents and children to explore the nature behind and below all the traffic and the noise. The 52 fun and educational activities listed in the book are conveniently categorized by season. Ward makes it easy for families to hunt for worms in the spring, observe colonies of sidewalk ants during the summer, identify trees by their bark in the fall, and locate birds’ nests in the winter. There are even indoor activities to enjoy during inclement weather! Invite your child to a window and spend time observing what you see from it, or plant something together indoors. At the end of each activity, Ward provides an explanation of the lessons being taught during the activity. Sprinkled throughout the book are Plant the Seed prompts which encourage additional reading or actions that will enhance the activity’s lesson. The narrative throughout the book assumes an adult reader is the target audience but the context is simply written so that a reader of any age can enjoy Ward’s book. The book itself is thin and compact, making it easy to bring along as you discover parts of your city.

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