The Holiday Train Show may be the winter’s star attraction at the New York Botanical Garden, but that’s not the only thing happening there this season. Through February 22, the exhibition Flora Illustrata celebrates the publication of the book with the same name, one you might want to consider picking up for some serious botanical inspiration.
The book Flora Illustrata is the closest thing you can find to a portable version of the LuEsther T. Mertz Library at the Botanical Garden. The library is known for having an abundance of resources, many of those which (including rare manuscripts, botanical drawings, engravings, and iconic documents) can be found in the beautifully curated pages of Flora Illustrata. And now, the collection of the Mertz Library can be available at home when you’re actually gardening. (You can store it with other gardening books, or maybe next to all your copies of Westchester Home. You have a subscription, right?)
The 11-chapter book has a lot of historical content: The first and last chapters tell the histories of the Mertz Library and the entire Botanical Garden, and the chapters in between feature prominent works on botanical science, horticulture, and floriculture spanning nearly a thousand years.
Our favorite chapter? Chapter four, which contains excerpts from La Théorie et la pratique du jardinage. If you haven’t brushed up on your French recently, that means “the theory and practice of gardening,” and it’s the world’s first DIY gardening book, published in 1709.
But just in case you want to see it all in person, the Flora Illustrata exhibition features many of the works from the book. Plus, then you can go to the Train Show, too (that exhibition runs until January 19).
Click above for a larger view.