by Lynn Byrne
Who says you can’t judge a book by its cover?
I say why ever not, especially when it comes to the vintage gardening books in the collection of the Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum (BPMM), and on exhibition there till November 17, 2013. I am told their garden books are not especially rare, but I find them a true treasure for the beautiful design of their covers and bindings, particularly in this age of e-readers and tablets.
Many of the books are beautifully illustrated inside as well. And while I am notorious for my black thumb (and wouldn’t recognize sound gardening advice if it hit me on my head), the folks at BPMM find that these books continue to provide valuable content. This is why people have libraries!
After seeing the books, I immediately wanted my own collection, book lover that I am. Seeking instant gratification, I purchased a book being offered for sale at BPMM in connection with the exhibition entitled Gardening by the Book, Celebrating 100 Hundred Years of the Garden Club of America, by Arete Swartz Warren.
Yup, I bought it solely based on the cover and the pictures inside. I haven’t read a single word yet, and I might never. That is unless I need a sleep aid. I find that trying to read a garden book invites a fast visit from the sand man, who has me dreaming in seconds. But with this book, the pictures are plenty gorgeous enough to keep me wide awake. Take a look.
This book is hard to find–it is not available on Amazon. If you are as entranced as I am and want your own copy, please leave me a comment and I can help you buy one at BPMM (remember I am a board member there). The Garden Club of America also is offering the book through their website.
If you live in the New York metro area, you can learn more about BPMM’s stunning garden book collection tonight when guest curator Joseph Disponzio—noted author, scholar of garden history, and a preservation landscape architect with the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation— will discuss the garden book collection and the fascinating insights that he gained while curating the show. The talk begins at 7:30 pm and admission is free. For more information about the exhibition and tonight’s talk, please visit the BPMM website.
All images by Lynn Byrne for Decor Arts Now.