My Garden Books

These full shelves are the result of my lifelong passion for garden books. Yes, they are all garden and “back to the land” books. What you see is just one part of my 40+ year collection. I can still remember the very first garden book I ever bought. It was The Vegetable Encyclopedia and Gardener’s Guide, by Victor A. Teidjens, copyright 1943. I found this book in a second- hand store (I think it might have been St. Vincent DePaul) in Lorain, Ohio in the late ’60’s. I distinctly remember pulling that book off of a dusty shelf and standing in line to pay $.50. I still use Mr. Teidjens book to find answers to my vegetable growing questions.

My first gardening book

I also have strong memories of driving to Broad Street in Elyria, Ohio and climbing up steep stairs to a used book store above a furniture store. A sweet little man always greeted me with a hand clap and a “I’m so happy you’re here!” I would wander through the warren of shelved books until I found the gardening section, pull up a step stool for a seat, and lose myself for an hour or so. I found several of my oldest garden books on his shelves. I had very little money back in those days and would often go to just fondle the books I wanted.I would drive home and save my pennies – all the while praying no one else would find my treasures – until I had enough money to go back and make those books mine. The Little Garden by Mrs. Francis King – an American gardening classic copyright 1922 -and A White Paper Garden – by Sara Andrew Shafer – published in 1910 are two treasures I found in that little shop. When I paid for my coveted books the white-haired proprietor would wrap them carefully and smile and share my joy. He was a book lover and knew how it felt to own a special book you had just found.

Two early treasures from my collection

I totally get that a lot of people think my book collection is “old fashioned. I admit I use Google just about everyday to find quick answers and expand on new ideas that pop into my head. I love Google Image. But when I need to figure out a problem and want to have a better understanding of the “how” of gardening I dig into my books. I love to pull a stack of books off the shelf and curl up in a comfy chairto compare the opinions and experiences of different authors.I find creative answers to my personal garden problems and research answers to the many questions other gardeners email to me.

I also tell myself that many of the books on my shelves cannot be found on Kindle and that I am, somehow, privy to long lost secrets. I especially love the old fashioned idea that I will never need electricity or batteries to open my books. My shelves of books can be held and read over and over – for free.

Hey from the farm,

Fran The Country Cousin

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