We begin with antique landscape plans from 1780 that sell for $3200. Wow. Collecting antique landscape plans. See, I didn’t even know that was a thing to want.
We also learn that when Martha Stewart went to visit Terrace Horticultural Books (and yes, they put a photo of the Blessed Visit on their website), she was after first editions of Elizabeth Lawrence’s books (and yes, I do know who she is. Sheesh.) First editions of her books are hard to find, especially with dustjackets.
But then there’s also this. The first book written about gardening in the suburbs called "The Art of Beautifying Suburban Home Grounds." When was it written? 1870. You heard me–1870. You can pick up one of those for a few hundred bucks, depending on how picky you are about condition. Would be fascinating to know if anything has changed in 135 years.
I don’t long for these things. Being around a book that costs more than my car makes me nervous. I like cool old books, but I want to pick them up for ten bucks somewhere and not feel bad if I spill coffee on them. I’ve got a few crazy old Victorian gardening books,and even a beat-up old Loudon, but if anything happened to them, I wouldn’t be calling the insurance company. That makes life with a book collector interesting. There are rooms in this house I’m not even allowed to go in. It works out, though–he’s only allowed in the garden as a spectator.
Oh, and who’s Humphrey Repton? An early designer at Kew. One of his rants on garden design will set you back twenty-five grand. There’s also a modern facsimile for six hundred. Now, that actually sounds interesting. (Not that interesting, honey. You can buy a lot of worm castings for that kind of money.)