Ive had a huge time in the studio of late... so posting here has been all too rare.
This morning I came across these seed catalogues from US Archives from as early as 1823... and it got me thinking and off I went on a whole lot of tangents....
I'll look out for catalogues from other countries... and if you find any... do send word.
|Linnaean Garden, William Prince|
Catalogue of American Trees, Plants, & Seeds
Flushing, Long Island, NY
|Peter Henderson & Co.'s Manual of Everything for the Garden|
New York, NY
|US NATIONAL AGRICULTURAL LIBRARY|
FROM WIKI - Pomology (from Latin pomum (fruit) + -logy) is a branch of botany that studies and cultivates pome fruit, particularly from the genera Malus, Prunus and Pyrusbelonging to the Rosaceae. The term is sometimes applied more broadly, to the cultivation of any type of fruit. In the latter case, the denomination fruticulture—introduced from romance languages (from Latin fructus and cultura) —is also used.
Pomological research is mainly focused on the development, cultivation and physiological studies of stone fruit trees. The goals of fruit tree improvement include enhancement of fruit quality, regulation of production periods, and reduction of production cost.
Pomology has been an important area of research for centuries. During the mid-19th century in the United States, farmers were expanding fruit orchard programs in response to growing markets. At the same time, horticulturists from the USDA and agricultural colleges were bringing new varieties to the United States from foreign expeditions, and developing experimental lots for these fruits. In response to this increased interest and activity, USDA established the Division of Pomology in 1886 and named Henry E. Van Deman as chief pomologist. An important focus of the division was to publish illustrated accounts of new varieties and to disseminate research findings to fruit growers and breeders through special publications and annual reports. During this period Andrew Jackson Downingand his brother Charles were prominent in Pomology and Horticulture, producing The Fruits and Fruit Trees of America (1845).
The introduction of new varieties required exact depiction of the fruit so that plant breeders could accurately document and disseminate their research results. Since the use of scientific photography was not widespread in the late 19th Century, USDA commissioned artists to create watercolor illustrations of newly introduced cultivars. Many of the watercolors were used for lithographic reproductions in USDA publications, such as the Report of the Pomologist and theYearbook of Agriculture.
Today, the collection of approximately 7,700 watercolors is preserved in the National Agricultural Library's Special Collections, where it serves as a major historic and botanic resource to a variety of researchers, including horticulturists, historians, artists, and publishers.
One involved in the science of Pomology is called a Pomologist. The science of Pomology has somewhat dwindled over the past century, with the number of accredited Pomologists at less than 200 worldwide, 12 of whom are in the US.
Punica granatum: Pomegranate
Two interesting stories come with these catalogues found at EDIBLE ETHICS TUMBLR.
2. D. Landreth Seed Company
The recent troubles of the D. Landreth Seed Company, America’s oldest seed companies, were documented by my TreeHugger colleague, Colleen, in the post encouraging you to help save one of America’s Heirloom, Non-GMO Seed Houses.
The company’s financial situation is getting stronger and they’re still a good source of seeds. In particular, their African American Seed Collection, which highlights the culinary history and contributions to American cuisine by the African Diaspora.
Print Catalog: Yes. $5.00. Online ordering: Yes.
3. Kitazawa Seed Company
The Kitazawa Seed Company was founded in 1917 by Gijiu Kitazawa in a storefront located in downtown San Jose, California. The business was shut down from 1942 to 1945 due to WWII and the family’s internment in Relocation Camps.
After the war the seed company was reopened, but by then many of the company’s customers had relocated across the United States and the company started mailing seeds across America to their customers. Today Kitazawa is a source for many fine Asian varieties of vegetables and herbs. Their simple seed catalog is a pleasant contrast to the glossy and ornate seed catalogs you’re accustomed to and even provides recipes so you can prepare dishes from your harvest.
As for finding catalogues from other parts of the world... I found that a challenge.