Sunday, May 3, 2009

I bought some used books last weekend at the Arboretum: they had been owned by people I knew, liked, and respected: continuity is good!

Florida Wild Flowers is a trade paperback with 500 color pictures of flowering plants found in Florida. It was a great buy for $4, and came from the library of Franziska Reed Huxley, who inscribed her name on the inside cover. Franziska was a fascinating woman, a great lover of plants and gardens, and a Huxley because she was married to Matthew Huxley, son of Aldous. She was a member of the FONA (Friends of the National Arboretum) board, and managed their annual plant sale. She left her library to FONA and they have been for sale these past two years.

Years ago, when I was doing garden design for Behnke's, I got a call from a woman in Chevy Chase who had bought a house and was overwhelmed by the garden she had inherited. I spent some considerable time, not designing, but identifying and mapping an incredible number and variety of plants, some common, some highly uncommon. It turns out that this had been Franziska's garden. Small world.

Frederick G. Meyer was a taxonomist and the Director of the Herbarium at the National Arboretum. In addition to being a superb taxonomist, he was a sort of Renaissance intellect. He left his library to the Arboretum, and while much of it was incorporated into the Arboretum Library, some volumes were duplicates and those were put into a sale of surplus books. I bought a few volumes that had belonged to Dr. Meyer. The bookplate is excellent; more on it later.

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