Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Books and Collecting

As an old librarian, I still read book reviews. I get lots of newsletters from booksellers and really enjoy reading about new books or looking for second hand books. I got a newsletter today from called The Avid Collector: A Garden of Collectible Delights and in it are some beautiful gardening manuscripts. The first one I looked at was this:

Manuscript, pen, ink and watercolour of the gardens of an Austrian Schloss on the banks of the Schwarzau river, near Schwarzau am Steinfelde J.M.W

Description: [no date, but circa 1780]. Pen, ink and watercolour plan on laid paper, signed with initials in lower right corner ' J.M.W' (Some expert restoration, including tears to old folds and an irregularly shaped-area replaced in field to the left of the estate). 35 X 24 1/2 inches. A beautifully executed garden design, possibly for Schloss Scharzau am Steinfelde in Austria. The design shows the Schloss in outline only, with the gardens concentrated to the north. A terrace leads to an almost symmetrical formal garden flanked by foliage covered walkways. The estate then sweeps to the left and the garden takes on a less formal aspect with a winding river, islands, bridges, copses, and a summer house at the far end of the estate.

This looks like a beautiful book and makes me imagine planning a huge garden on acres and acres of land. Planning wonderful walks that have you happening on "views" and sitting and enjoying the water and birds. Well, any way it seems like a perfect dreaming book. Then I came back to reality and looked at the price-

You have probably heard of Frederick Law Olmstead-the fellow who designed Central Park in New York City, or of Gertrude Jekyll-foremost English garden writer of her day. Well, their books are selling for $1350.90 for Jekyll's first book Garden Ornament and $1200.00 for a book by Olmstead's son about his father's early years and experiences. The First Volume of Forty Years of Landscape Architecture.

All this just serves to make me more fond of my library than ever. While I may not be able to see that first manuscript about the Austrian garden design, I can get a copy of Jekyll's book through inter-library loan. And I can find a history of Olmstead's designs as well. I won't stop reading book reviews and bookseller newsletters but I will depend on my library to keep me in the books I want and really NEED!

Also wanted to remind local readers that our friend Maryanne is having cataract surgery this morning and all good thoughts/prayers go out to her as she deals with surgery. I understand that this is a minimally invasive surgery and the outcome is generally very good but I will still be praying that Maryanne have a great outcome and quick recovery.

Talk to you later,

solidaire (so-lee-dair) adjective
standing together, united, interdependent

Pourquoi nous haïr ? Nous sommes solidaires, emportés par la même planète,
équipage d'un même navire.

Why hate each other? We stand together, carried by the same planet, a
crew of the same vessel. --Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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