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Michigan State University

British Studies: the 18th Century, a Guide to Topics in the MSU Libraries' Collections: BOTANY, GARDENING, HORTICULTURE, LANDSCAPE

This is a guide to 18th-century British studies materials, particularly in our Special Collections and Rare Books unit.


The English are a nation of gardeners. Botany, gardening, horticulture, and landscape design are subjects long taught at Michigan State University. In the long 18th century many discoveries were made in botany and its practical applications; plus, plants unfamiliar to Europeans were discovered in North and South America, Africa, Asia, and Oceania. The British 18th-Century Collection has many books on the following topics: apples, cucumbers, florin grass, floriculture, flower gardening, flowers, forcing (plants), fruit, fruit culture, fruit trees, fungi, gooseberries, grasses, greenhouses, greenhouse plants, greenhouse gardening, hedges, herbs, horticulture, house plants and their pests, insects, Carl von Linne, mosses, moths, mushrooms, pear, pest control, pineapples and their diseases, plant breeding, plant physiology, plant propagation, ornamental plants, medicinal plants, edible plants, cultivated plants, pruning, raspberries, anatomy of roots, sericulture (raising silkworms and mulberry trees), shrubs, strawberries, vegetables, vegetable gardening, and viticulture. There are also works on landscape, landscape architecture, and landscape drawing, plus books on Blenheim Palace and Park, and the Royal Botanic Garden at Kew. The books on botany and gardening in general cover these subjects in a wide variety of geographic areas--the British Isles, China, the United States, India, Massachusetts, New York State, the Philippines, South Carolina, France, Turkey, and Oceania. There are pre-Linnean works, poetry, pictorial works, history, anatomy, juvenile literature, physiology, periodicals, and dictionaries on botany and gardening.

Notable books on gardening and horticulture in Murray and Hong Special Collections include the following: William Lawson's New Orchard and Garden (1683); John Evelyn's Sylva, or a Discourse of Forest Trees, and the Propagation of Timber (1679); Leonard Meager's English Gardener (1670); and Humphrey Repton's Sketches and Hints on Landscape Gardening (1794).