The Andersen Horticultural Library: Hidden Gem of the Arb

by | Jul 2022

Japanese woodblock print of pink flowers

Photo: Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum is a top destination all year long, but, each month, it boasts its own unique attractions. In July, visitors can see colorful summer annuals, roses, lilies, clematis and wildflowers, not to mention lush shade gardens, beautiful mature forests and lovely meadows, all accessible on foot or by car.

Don’t miss one of the best hidden gems in the state: The Andersen Horticultural Library, which specializes in horticulture, botanical art, plant sciences and natural history. Beyond the books, magazines and vast collection of seed catalogs, highlights include a rich children’s book collection, a rare books room (worth the appointment) and public spaces furnished by famed master woodworker George Nakashima.

The library hosts two incredible historic art exhibitions through August 12. The Art of Flying: Bird Images from A to Z showcases 52 beautifully-illustrated species of birds taken mostly from John Gould’s rare seven-volume masterpiece, The Birds of Asia (1850–1883), which is part of the library’s rare collection. Geared toward all ages, the exhibit features fun facts, ambient bird songs playing over speakers and silly bird-related limericks and illustrations by British artist Edward Lear.

Journey through Japan: Traditional Woodblock Prints highlights brilliant flora and fauna from the Edo Period (1603–1868), an innovative time in Japanese culture and history that provided the inspiration for the arboretum’s Japanese garden. All prints in this exhibition are from the library’s rare book collection, including many by Iwasaki Tsunemasa (1786–1842), a Japanese botanist and samurai, whose work wasn’t published until much later (1916–1922).

Admission to the library and the art exhibits is included with gate admission, which is free for members, $15 for non-members ages 16 and older and free for ages 15 and younger. The library is closed Sundays, Mondays and holidays.

Sarah Jackson is a media specialist at the arboretum. She lives and gardens in Minnetonka. Learn more at Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.


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