Collecting new, vintage and antique garden books is a passion of mine. Currently I have over 600 garden books and the collection is growing like a weed. Since the subject of gardening covers a wide range, so do my garden books. In my library you will find garden books dealing with garden history, botany, maintenance, garden design and garden designers.
Finding garden books in San Francisco is never a problem. We have an abundance of great local bookstores and I am familiar with most of them. In fact I can tell someone how to get from the front door to the garden section at most of the local vendors.
Finding garden books outside of San Francisco has become a habit of mine. With a little research on the internet, shopping for garden books out of town can be productive.
Three cities that I enjoy shopping for garden books are Miami, New Orleans and New York City.
In the Miami area I have had success at Robert A. Bookseller and the museum gift shop at Vizcaya.
Robert A. Bookseller is located in Fort Lauderdale. This is a three-storey store filled with an amazing selection of used books. If you are looking for garden books on tropical gardens this is the place.
While in Miami be sure to visit Vizcaya, the former home of agricultural industrialist James Deering. The grand house and garden were built in 1916. After wandering around the ten acres of formal gardens on a warm muggy afternoon, I found refuge in the museum’s bookshop. Cooling down while skimming interesting garden books is a great way to end the house and garden tour.
In New Orleans I visit three shops in the French Quarter. They’re all within walking distance of each other. The three shops are Beckham’s BookShop, Faulkner House Books and Cresent City Books. Cresent City Books is my favorite, not only because of the great garden books available but also because they have a nice selection of old prints of New Orleans and the surrounding areas.
Now for the Big Apple, New York City. When I am shopping in Soho and I need to relax I head to Housing Works Bookstore Café. This is a great place to enjoy a strong cup of coffee while browsing the shelves of garden books. I would like to see this combination of coffee and books in San Francisco.
The New York Botanical Garden is always on the top of my “must see” list while in town. After being amazed with the Irwin Perennial Garden I head over to “Shop in the Garden.” Shop in the Garden offers a large selection of new, vintage and antique garden books.
I leave the best for last, Strand Bookstore near Union Square. Strand’s tag line is “home to 18 miles of books” and is a treasure trove for New York City booklovers. Like Manhattan, navigating Strand Bookstore can be a bit unnerving. Nonetheless, once I get to the garden book section I pull up a stool and then make the painful decision of how many books will fit in my suitcase.
As any collector of garden books will tell you, there is always an opportunity to add to the collection regardless of where you may be. In addition, reading a recently purchased garden book while at the airport or on the flight home to San Francisco is always a great way to end a trip.