November 24, 2010
The Arboretum Library has books about all kinds of gardens – even those that are about “the illicit cultivation of some else's land”. That's what On Guerrilla Gardening by Richard Reynolds is about. Reynold is a London-based guerrilla gardener who shares the history, philosophy and logistics of this special type of garden. They are gardens that have been cultivated without permission to create beauty or food on unloved land.
There are two main sections in the book – the first part called “The Movement” discusses a bit about the history of guerrilla warfare in general and how it relates to this gardening movement and its history. Reynolds also covers what and why people fight when they guerrilla garden. The second section is “The Manual”, which talks about more practical aspects of guerrilla gardening including plants, techniques and issues that you might run into.
On Guerrilla Gardening is an interesting book that's likely to make you look around your neighborhood a little differently and open your eyes to neglected patches of land and what you can do to improve them. If you want to learn more, the author's website is http://guerrillagardening.org/ and the LA community board is here.
Find this and similar books in the Arboretum Library here.
November 17, 2010
One large and important part of gardening is plant propagation. There are many different types of plants and propagation techniques and the Arboretum library is a great place to learn more about them. The Arboretum Library has books about the art and science of plant propagation targeted to all levels of gardeners and interests levels – from children's books about seeds to college textbooks about the science and chemistry of commercial propagation.
A book that focuses on practical information for the gardener new to propagation is the American Horticultural Society's Plant Propagation. It has many color photographs and mainly focuses on propagation techniques applicable for the home gardener and the plants they are likely to have.
For a more academic and scientific take on plant propagation, Hartmann and Kester's Plant Propagation: Principles and Practices, is a textbook with a CD-ROM that covers many of the same topics, but explains the science of propagation in more depth and includes more information about commercial plant propagation. This book is a new acquisition at the library, so come check it out!
To search the library catalog for books about plant propagation click here.
November 15, 2010
The Arboretum’s collection of historic photographs includes two boxes of glass lantern slides which include several early images of the Rose Parade as well as scenes in Pasadena and other parts of the San Gabriel Valley.
Lantern slides were invented in 1849, only ten years after the invention of photography. They are positive photographic images on glass usually four by five inches in size. They were projected onto a screen using an early version of a slide projector. They made it possible to project large images that were viewable by sizeable audiences. Like the Meeker lantern slides they were often hand colored and when shown they were sometimes accompanied by live music, sound effects and dramatic readings. They were essentially a precursor to motion pictures. Information in detail can be found on the Magic Lantern Society’s web site.
Unfortunately we know very little about Meeker however some of the slides are inscribed “L.E. Meeker” and in some cases “M.D.” is added. A photograph of a pencil portrait includes a note indicating that Meeker was a physician.
Census records suggest that they may have belonged to a Dr. Lewis Edgar Meeker M.D. (1851-1918) of Brooklyn New York. As a young man, Meeker lived in Arcata, California where his son Lewis Edgar Meeker Jr. was born in 1881. Dr. Meeker was apparently a keen photographer and a President of the Eastern District Savings Bank. A note on page 210 of the journal Photographic Times and American Photographer in the 1887 issue under news from the Brooklyn Institute (now the Brooklyn Museum of Art) describes a lantern slide show presented by Meeker of old houses in Brooklyn. Meeker’s death was announced in the June 8, 1918 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. Cause of death is not given but it is possible that the Class of 1872, Detroit Medical College graduate may have been a victim of the great 1918 Influenza Pandemic like so many others but this is simply guesswork at the moment.
At present, we can’t be certain that the images were taken by Meeker or even if this is the correct L. E. Meeker. However, it seems likely and more research will undoubtedly reveal more about this collection of images. Perhaps someone reading this posting will be able to supply the solution to this mystery? We're hoping to get assistance in making high quality digital scans of the images to facilitate access and study of the images.
The first Tournament of Roses was held in 1890 to showcase the mild winter weather in Pasadena. Carriages bedecked with flowers probably made a powerful impression on the visiting snow birds as did images of the event which made their way east. Perhaps doctor Meeker retained fond memories of his visit as did many others who visited early in the 20th century.
Mitchell Hearns Bishop
Curator, Historic Landscape and Collections