In the Spotlight, March 2016

In the Spotlight, March 2016

Each month an item or group of items from the book, archives, manuscript or artifact holdings of Special Collections & Archives are selected for display in our Reading Room.  This month’s featured items look toward the arrival of Spring with three books related to gardening, flowers and flower arranging. Stop by and see these volumes in person Monday through Friday from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm.

The botanical magazine, or, Flower-garden displayed: in which the most ornamental foreign plants, cultivated in the open ground, the green-house, and the stove, are accurately represented in their natural colours …  by William Curtis

William Curtis began publishing The Botanical Magazine in London in 1787. He was trained as a pharmacist but was more interested in the study of flora and insects.  He had a large garden where he grew exotic plants.  The Botanical Magazine includes detailed illustrations with a narrative about the plant’s origin and care. The illustrations were among the best means available for professional horticulturists and hobbyist gardeners to learn about new plants that were being brought to England from throughout the British Empire and other places around the globe.

Special Collections & Archives has volume 1 (1787) through volume 40 (1814), as well as some later volumes.


Ladies’ Southern Florist by Mary C. Rion

Mary C. Rion’s 1860 Ladies’ Southern Florist was the first book to provide a comprehensive list of trees, shrubs, flowers, bulbs and roses suited to the climate in the southern United States. It also is the first garden book in the South written by a woman.  Many of the more than 150 plants described by Rion were well-known at the time, but she also included recently introduced specimens from China and Japan that quickly became favorites in the South, such as camellia (Camellia japonica) and crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica).

Rion’s husband James was a close friend of the Calhoun and Clemson families and served as Thomas Clemson’s financial advisor and attorney.


Moribana & Heikwa Selected Flower Arrangements of the Ohara School arranged by Koun Ohara, explained by K. Nakahara and M. Hashizume, c1935

This accordion-fold book illustrates several methods of ikebana, the Japanese art of disciplined flower arrangement.  The Ohara School was founded in the late 19th century when Japan was opened to the influence of Western culture and various brightly colored Western flowers began being imported.  Unshin Ohara created a new form of ikebana he called the moribana style which uses wide, shallow containers and emphasizes the beauty of natural environments when creating an arrangement.