Books on every possible gardening topic. Travel guides to special gardens in the U.S. and overseas. New titles continuously added, 2,600 in all. Landscape and plant selection help. Open Thursdays 1:00 – 8:00 pm September through May; all other times by appointment.
New Gardening Books: Since January 2015, 190 new titles added.
New title additions, click here: Recent new gardening titles
Click here for our one-page HortSoc Library Flyer, summarizing our hours and services.
Online Library Catalog – Easy access to our collection:
You can search and view our book catalog from your internet browser. Click here to access our Horticultural Society Online Library Catalog. Type hortsoc to log in. No password is needed. Use the drop-down search boxes to refine your search, by title, author, subject etc.
The HortSoc Library is now located within the Art Library in the main Museum building, after moving in summer of 2015, from Newfield, our home since 1999. Our address (see map) is 4000 Michigan Rd, Indianapolis, 46208, corner of West 38th Street.
Thursdays from 1:00 pm to 8:00 pm from September through May. All other times, summer months, and year round as well, any day, we are open by appointment. Please e-mail us, or call the library at (317) 923.1331, ext. 429 to make an appointment, or to discuss your research needs or if you would just like to visit.
Borrowing: Hort Soc members and museum grounds staff may borrow from the library. Historical collection and Reference books cannot be borrowed, but may be used on site. The library is also available for research by academics, students and non-members as well. Non-members are free to browse the collection during library hours.
There is no admission fee to access the library collection. Doors are open 1:00 – 8:00 pm Thursdays September through May. If you have an appointment, and a receptionist will let you in. Horticultural Society members may borrow materials.
Mid 1970s Horticultural Library established.
1999 After more than 20 years in the lower level of Oldfields, a space that the Hort Soc renovated to house its board meetings, dinners, lectures, and its volumes of horticultural and design books, the Horticultural Library moves to accommodate the restoration of the Lilly mansion. The Museum provides temporary quarters on the lower level of the Better Than New Shop (Newfield). Hort Soc receives a generous bequest from George Smith, in memory of his wife Marguerite, to support library acquisitions and the lecture series.
2003 Horticultural Society moves to its new library and meeting quarters on the lower level of former The Garden Terrace Restaurant (Lilly Playhouse).
1999 Society and library move to the lower level of Newfield on the museum campus. We moved to the ground floor level at Newfield, in the mid- 2000s.
2015 In June, Library moved to the main IMA museum building, and is now located within the Stout Art Library, north end.
Horticultural Society Book Discussion Group
For information on the Horticultural Society’s quarterly Book Discussion Group, click here. You do not have to be a member of the museum or the horticultural society to participate. All book group selections are available in the Hort Soc Library, and may be borrowed by members.
A selection of ten new books are profiled here:
Dirr’s Encyclopedia of Trees and Shrubs, by Michael A. Dirr (Timber Press, 2011). The bible of woody plants, 951 pages with color illustrations. Individual profiles of more than 340 trees and shrubs. Suggested selections of plants for specific problem locations and landscaping issues. Reference Section.
Fifty Trees of Indiana, by T. E. Shaw and the Extension Forestry Staff of Purdue University and the Division of Forestry, Indiana Department of Natural Resources. First Revision, 1981. 63 pages. First published in 1956 by Shaw, an associate professor of forestry at Purdue, this small handbook outlines the variety of tree leaf shapes and arrangements, with drawings for each tree’s leaf, seeds, stems and buds, with a brief description of bark, occurrence in Indiana and special features. Ideal for backpack or purse.
Great Natives for Tough Places (Brooklyn Botanic Garden, 2009. Niall Dunne, editor), 119 pages with color illustrations. Various well-known authors give their suggestions for dealing with difficult combinations of sun, shade, wet and dry sites; compacted, alkaline and nutrient deficient soils. Explanations of how to diagnose and treat problem conditions, including soil texture and structure, light and moisture conditions, drainage and variations thereof. Includes many suggestions of what trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants.
Grow Fruit Naturally: A Hands-On Guide to Luscious, Home Grown Fruit, by Lee Reich (Taunton Press, 2012), 234 pages. Drawings and color illustrations and advice for planning, planting, growing and pruning; pests and diseases; harvesting and storage. Color photos and detailed descriptions of how to grow 31 popular fruits.
A Rich Spot on Earth: Thomas Jefferson’s Revolutionary Garden at Monticello, by Peter J. Hatch (Yale University Press, 2012), 263 pages. Color illustrations. Hatch, director of the 2,400-acre gardens and grounds at Monticello 1977-2012, gives a rich history of this special site, which he restored, with diagrams and garden calendars from the late 1700s. Jefferson began his garden in earnest here in 1806. Vegetables and herbs were at center stage, and eventually included 99 species and 330 varieties.
Deceptive Beauties: The World of Wild Orchards, by Christian Ziegler (University of Chicago Press, 2011), 184 pages. Ziegler is a biologist and photographer and this book is an exceptional demonstration of his talent and knowledge. The focus here is on adaptation, diversity and deception to attract pollinators. The large, up-close photos of 105 species, reflect his international travels.
Deer-Resistant Landscaping: Proven Advice and Strategies for Outwitting Deer and 20 Other Pesky Mammals, by Neil Soderstrom. (Rodale Press Inc., 2009) 368 pages. This comprehensive guide discusses home remedies and simple diversions to more elaborate methods, always with a humane approach. You learn what works and what doesn’t, and why, based on scientific research and the experience of landscape and wildlife control specialists.
Directions for the Gardiner (sic) and other Horticultural Advice, by John Evelyn; Maggie Campbell-Culver, ed. (Oxford University Press, 2009), 310 pages. Author John Evelyn (1620-1706) wrote extensively on trees and woodland, a commission from the Royal Society to promote the growth of timber for the Navy. Three of his works, originally appearing about 1669, are reproduced here, including detailed guidelines about when and how to sow, propagate, mulch, prune and cultivate flowers, shrubs, fruit trees and vegetables. Includes references from throughout history and a glossary.
Growing Trees from Seed: A Practical Guide to Growing Native Trees, Vines and Shrubs, by Henry Kock (1952-2005), Firefly Books, 2008), 280 pages. Henry Kock was founder of the Elm Recovery Project at the University of Guelph’s Arboretum in Ontario. He guides us in finding, planting and nurturing tree seeds and seedlings with detailed drawings and discussion of how and why, plus a chapter on landscape restoration. The book has 150 pages of specifics on selected trees, with illustrations and specifics on reproduction and propagation. Appendices on invasive species, seed dispersal calendar by month and seed treatment guides for 109 species.
An Island Garden, by Celia Thaxter (1835-1894), Houghton Mifflin Co. and the University Press Cambridge), 1895. Illustrations by Childe Hassam. A BiblioLife reprint, 1988. Thaxter writes about her garden on Appledore Island, 6 miles off the coast of Maine-New Hampshire, in the Isles of Shoals. Visitors wondered about her secret for beautiful plants, and in diary-style, she shares her experiences, observations and includes a numbered diagram of the plants she maintained in her 50 x 15 foot bed.
Right: Celia Thaxter’s garden today.