Since mail-order seed businesses began in the mid-19th century, gardeners all over the country have poured over catalogs of seeds and plants each spring, plotting what will surely be their best garden ever. Cherokee Garden Library has a unique Seed and Nursery Catalog collection representing over 500 seed, nursery, and supply companies, dating from 1827 to the present.
The most engaging catalogs date from 1830 to the 1940s. These treasures offer both beautiful and significant multidisciplinary historical records. The catalogs document the history of the seed business in the United States, with a focus on the Southeastern region.
Historic seed and nursery catalogs are windows into our horticultural past. They tell us which plants and seeds were available in different time periods. The catalogs include valuable information on varieties, requirements for growing, and planting schedules in addition to trends in Southern farming, gardening, and landscape design.
The library is also home to Hastings Seed Company records. Like catalogs from other locations, early Hastings catalogs list a variety of vegetable seeds, bulbs, herbs, and flower seeds popular in Georgia in the early 20th century.
Established in Florida in 1889, H.G. Hastings & Company moved to Atlanta 10 years later to centralize its mail-order business, specializing in garden and field seeds as well as nursery stock. In doing so, the family business maintained an interest in aiding both Southern agricultural farmers and home gardeners.
Atlanta History Center staff use these invaluable resources in the selection and interpretation of Goizueta Gardens at Atlanta History Center.
Women have played a vital role in shaping the landscape of our city and state. One pioneering woman, Helen Hawkins Clarke, worked in the field of landscape architecture and design in Georgia from the 1930s into the second half of the 20th century.