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Garden books in the Special Collections of the Barr Smith Library

Special presses

The mechanization of printing and papermaking from the middle of the 19th century led to a rise in quantity but a decrease in'Tuliptomania' general quality of the printed book with the exception of the fine printings and reproductions of special presses, some of which have been already been described in earlier pages. Another interesting example comes from the modern successful phenomena of Penguin, which in 1938 created the King Penguin series of short monograph texts with fine colour illustrations. Wilfred Blount, art master at Eton College, produced for this series the first study of 17th century Dutch 'tuliptomania' during which highly prized tulip bulbs were the subject of heavy speculation, resulting in financial ruin for many.

Australia & New Zealand

Early Australian material ranges from the Flora Australasica of Robert Sweet (London: James Ridgeway, 1827-1828), which promoted the cultivation of plants in Britain from the Southern Hemisphere, to practical manuals written for colonial conditions and other works describing the joys of gardening in the colonies. Mrs Rolf Boldrewood's The Flower Garden in Australia: A Book for Ladies and Amateurs (Melbourne, 1893) was the first Australian gardening publication by a woman. Ernst Heyne's The Amateur Garden ... (4th ed. Adelaide, 1866) described 'Wild Flowers of South Australia'the differing growing conditions of the Adelaide hills and plains, while James Veitch's A Traveller's Notes, or, Notes of a Tour Through India, Malaysia, Japan, Corea, the Australian Colonies and New Zealand during the Years 1891-1893 (Chelsea: James Veitch & Sons, Royal Exotic Nursery, 1896. For private circulation only) describes the Adelaide Botanic Gardens and some early Adelaide nurseries at some length. Adelaide botanical artist Fanny De Mole's Wild Flowers of South Australia (London: Paul Gerard, 1861) was the first book published to illustrate the flora of this state. It contains lithographed and hand-coloured plates illustrating 38 species of local plants, and was prepared to raise funds for St Bartholomew's Church in Norwood. More recent works include the South Australian landscape heritage studies of Dr David Jones from the School of Architecture, Landscape Architecture & Urban Design.
A select collection donated by Professor Richard Clough features fine 19th century illustrations of New Zealand flora by Emily Cumming Harris, and the charming My New Zealand Garden by A Suffolk Lady, printed in Wanganui in 1902.

More information on works of garden history in the Collections is available in the Gardens in Time catalogue of the joint exhibition of items from South Australian public insitutions held in 1987. Copies are available for purchase from Special Collections.

University Library

Barr Smith Library
South Australia 5005


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