Drawing on the rich printed and manuscript resources of the Fisher Library, this exhibition approaches horticultural history from the particular viewpoint of how people learn to cultivate plants – both historically and as individual gardeners today – and is divided into three main sections:
(1) learning from the written word, beginning with the teachings of antiquity and moving on through five centuries of printed knowledge as recorded in books, periodicals and now online sources
(2) learning from observing plants, in the wild, in public and private gardens and in botanical gardens and commercial nurseries
(3) learning from our own experience as gardeners, as documented in the personal records of individual gardeners in their own plant lists, diaries and garden journals, and blogs.
While the main focus is on historical material each of these sections will also make reference to modern examples, both British and Canadian, thereby demonstrating that all these modes of learning are as relevant today as they were in the past, and all have as their basis the love of plants and the universal human pleasure we take from them.
Exhibition and accompanying catalogue by Anne Dondertman, Acting Director of the Fisher Library.