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Chatelaine's Antiques & Appraisals Magazine > Books & Manuscripts > Expert Tip: Collecting Antique Gardening Books

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Collecting Antique Gardening Books

 Elaborately illustrated and expertly written, antique gardening books typically appeal to two different groups: gardeners, who enjoy the science, history, and know-how that these old books hold, and antique book collectors, who delight in the books' detail and decoration.

Here is why the gardeners prefer old books to new:

Why should a gardener buy an antique gardening book?
A hundred years ago, people would write gardening books after spending a lifetime gardening. So they really knew their stuff.

Gardening tips from
the 19th century

For instance, they would know that if you planted beans after May 15, you'd miss the bean beetle. If you planted earlier, nothing would survive. But by just waiting two weeks, you miss the life cycle of the bean beetle. That's why older books are better books.

Haven't gardening techniques improved over the years?
Now we rely too much on chemicals and artificial means... and today's gardening books are essentially coffee table picture books. The truth is, many of the plants in those books can't even be grown in this country.


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