About the Library

Dandelion from A Curious Herbal, a rare book by Elizabeth Blackwell

The Julia Appleton Cross Horticultural Reference Library is located on the lower level of the Haggerty Education Center.  It contains over 3,000 books on a wide range of horticultural subjects, many of them donated by the Friends. 

The Elizabeth Donnell Kay Rare Book Collection is part of the Julia Appleton Cross Horticultural Reference Library.  The collections are named for two women whose lives centered on horticulture and who were avid collectors of botanical literature.  Upon their deaths, their personal libraries were donated to the Morris County Park Commission.  The Rare Book Collection, comprised of 273 volumes, contains herbals, medical botanies and other valuable treatises, some dating to the early 1500’s.  The Friends have supported the preservation of these volumes.  The collection is open by appointment to researchers and scholars.  Contact Melanie Bump ( for more information.

Garden Lovers Book Club

A group of interested Friends’ members who enjoy reading meet once a month (currently via Zoom) on a Monday afternoon at 1:30 pm to share their love of gardening and gardening books.  We read and discuss books, talk about garden trips, share garden successes and failures, and generally exchange ideas.

Books that we’ve recently read or plan to read include:

  • Fuzz:  When Nature Breaks the Law, by Mary Roach
  • The Arbornaut:  A Life Discovering the Eighth Continent in the Trees Above Us by Meg Lowman  
  • Silent Spring by Rachel Carson

If you think you might be interested in joining the group or finding out more details……please send an e-mail to Karen Curry at (

Book Reviews

Here are book reviews of volumes in our collection. Also take a look also at the column, the Virtual Gardener, a how-to for finding horticultural information via the computer.

Garden Destinations

There are several new books with beautiful photos and delightful descriptions of exceptional and unique gardens in the US as well as Europe and Mexico.

Gardens of America: Three centuries of design – written by Diane K. McGuire describes the historic development of garden design in American and contains excellent photos of Middleton Place, Vizcaya, Monticello and other American treasures. Unfortunately, there is no list of the gardens or index, however the descriptions of the gardens and the photos make up for any omissions.

Paraiso Mexicano: Gardens, Landscapes, and Mexican Soul – written by Marie-Pierre Colle, not only contains an excellent index and important list of gardens to visit, it also has breathtaking, centerfold photos of plants, sculptures and gardens as well as excellent descriptions of the garden spaces. This is a wonderful book!!!

Although Gardens of France‚ written by Anita Pereire and Gabrielle van Zuylen, was published in 1983, this volume contains wonderful descriptions of 32 famous gardens, their landscape designer, unique features of the gardens and their historic significance. There are numerous color and black and white photos and an excellent table of contents that lists the names of the gardens and an extensive index.

James Truscott has written an informative volume that describes 23 Private Gardens of Scotland, published in 1988. The book includes both color and black and white photos of castles and great homes that often belong to Scotland Trust and other trusts. Some of the gardens or parts of the gardens are open to the public. The table of contents lists the gardens and there is an extensive index.

Stately Gardens of Britain – written by Thomas Hinde in 1983, contains photos and informative descriptions of 24 of the best known gardens in the UK. There is a helpful table of contents, index as well as Garden Visitor’s Guide. Photos and descriptions of the history behind gardens such as Stourhead, Hidcote, Great Dixter and Chatsworth are included.

Adrianne Bendich