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New Book Showcases Vintage Wisconsin Gardens


An image from "Vintage Wisconsin Gardens: A History of Home Gardening"

In the 19th and early 20th centuries, as Wisconsin's population moved from farmsteads into villages, towns and cities, the state saw a growing interest in gardening as a leisure activity and a source of civic pride. In Vintage Wisconsin Gardens: A History of Home Gardening, Wisconsin Historical Society Press Author Lee Somerville introduces readers to the region's ornamental gardens of that period, showcasing the "vernacular" gardens created by landscaping enthusiasts for their own use and pleasure.

Influence of the Wisconsin State Horticultural Society

The cover of "Vintage Wisconsin Gardens"

The Wisconsin State Horticultural Society, established during the mid-19th century, was the primary source of advice for home gardeners. Through carefully selected excerpts from horticultural society articles, Somerville shares the excitement of these gardeners as they traded cultivation and design knowledge, and explored the possibilities of their avocation. Women were frequent presenters at the horticultural society annual meetings, and their voices resonate. Their writings, and those of their male colleagues, are a remarkable legacy we can draw on today — learning how Wisconsinites past created and enjoyed their gardens helps us appreciate our own.

Filled with period and contemporary images, recommended plant lists and garden layouts, "Vintage Wisconsin Gardens" will interest those curious about the history of the state's cultural landscape and inspire readers to restore or reconstruct period gardens.

Upcoming Author Appearances

Author Lee Somerville will talk about and sign copies of her book in a series of presentations in locales around the state. Here are some of her sheduled presentations:


:: Posted September 19, 2011

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