August 2017: Hidden Collections

Bookcases in the Sterling Morton Library Reading Room
The curved bookcases in the reading room of Sterling Morton Library.



“The only thing you absolutely have to know is the location of the library.” Albert Einstein



The Sterling Morton Library is wreathed by trees and boasts a garden of its very own. If you haven’t visited yet, then you haven’t seen the rare books on display in the Plant Hunters exhibit or the curved cherry bookcases for which the library is well-known. If you have visited the library before, you’ll be familiar with our extensive botanical and horticultural resources, but did you know that we have resources on literature, carnivorous plants, and arts and crafts? There are surprises in our collections for even our most frequent visitors. Explore some of the resources in our lesser-known or “hidden” collections with this month’s profile.



“The invention of the greenhouse in the early 1800s and its growing popularity during the Victorian era among Europe's upper classes allowed, for the first time, exotic plants from around the world to be successfully grown under controlled conditions. Commercial nurseries were developed to cater to the demand for exotic plants. Some of these firms… financed expeditions to far-off lands around the world to collect unusual plant life. Their fanciful catalogs in the 1800s boasted palms, orchids, hoyas, succulents, and carnivores.” Peter D’Amato, The Savage Garden, pages 9-10.

“A woman walks up a rise toward a farmhouse, tape measure in hand. She is small in stature, and some gray hairs are wound into her otherwise brown bun. Tiny lines around her mouth would fold into a smile, if there were one. It seems like happiness is not something she expects. She has just signed the contract for Hill Top Farm, her first property. Her blue eyes are wide, imagining the garden she will lay out, its walls and walks, and perhaps a long trellis like the one at her uncle’s homes in Wales. Beatrix Potter can picture the garden built and full of flowers: snowdrops in the winter, a spring torrent of lilacs and azaleas and daffodils, summer covered with roses, chrysanthemums for autumn.” Marta McDowell, Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life, page 17.


Library Resources


Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life: The Plants and Places that Inspired the Classic Children’s Tales by Marta McDowell

Tree Stories: A Collection of Extraordinary Encounters edited by Warren David Jacobs and Karen I. Shragg

A Writer’s Britain: Landscape in Literature by Margaret Drabble

Carnivorous Plants

The Savage Garden: Cultivating Carnivorous Plants by Peter D’Amato

Carnivorous Plants of the United States and Canada by Donald E. Schnell

The Carnivorous Plants by B.E.Juniper, R.J. Robins and D.M. Joel

Arts and Crafts

Your Own Book of Nature and Garden Fun by Ernestine Sabrina Coffey and Dorothy Fitch Minton

A Weaver’s Garden by Rita Buchanan

Creative Crafts for Campers by Catherine T. Hammett and Carol M. Horrocks

You can see the titles above by visiting the library in person. During your visit, be sure to step out the back door of the library and into our “hidden” garden, the May T. Watts Reading Garden! And finally, one “hidden” collection Arboretum members can access from anywhere is our e-book collection*. 

*Access the Library’s e-book collection by entering the number on the back of your Sterling Morton Library card.