A Cornucopia Of The Past
November 28, 2017 8:49 AM   Subscribe

The Royal Botanical Gardens, Burlington, Ontario, has a collection of 30,000 historical seed catalogs. Once produced as ephemera, they are now of interest to historians, biologists, and others.

I couldn't find the Gardens' collections online. However you can check out beautiful examples of historical gardeners' catalogs at archive.org, and the Biodiversity Heritage Library .
posted by carter (6 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Once produced as ephemera, they are now of interest to historians, biologists, and others.

Isn't that always the case? The stuff folks don't think is worth saving they don't save, and so it's really hard to find later. The stuff folks think is or will be valuable they save, and so it's super common. Like baseball cards in the '50s vs baseball cards in the '90s.
posted by leotrotsky at 9:04 AM on November 28 [2 favorites]

The New York Botanical Garden's Mertz Library also has a collection.
posted by sciencegeek at 9:47 AM on November 28 [1 favorite]

The Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington is a nice visit - great for a picnic. If you like lilacs, when they are in bloom (late May / June) it is particularly spectacular.
posted by Ashwagandha at 10:07 AM on November 28 [4 favorites]

Nice to see my hometown and the notorious RBG get some props. The RBG was one of those places as a kid you'd get dragged to either on school trips or by parents when people visited from out of town. I was always hearing how "spectacular" or "wonderful" it was but I was just bored. One of those childhood experiences I didn't get the chance to revisit when I had had some maturity, so I could actually appreciate it.
posted by stevil at 12:27 PM on November 28 [2 favorites]

My first memory is (almost) drowning in the pond of the rose garden there. I still remeber the way the light looked coming through the water as I lay on the bottom of the pond looking up. I never really understood the attraction of botanical gardens, with their too-hot greenhouses and overly formal gardens. But that they kept the seed catalogues is neat.
posted by saucysault at 12:38 PM on November 28

So nice! I would love to do that kind of cataloging volunteer work.
posted by Mouse Army at 6:29 PM on November 28

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