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Blog Posts

Joseph Dalton Hooker

OSGF

Joseph Dalton Hooker is remembered as one of the greatest British botanists and explorers of the 19th century. Among his many accomplishments, he founded the field of geographical botany, served as the director of Kew Gardens, and was responsible for the creation of countless artworks of foreign plants. The Oak Spring Garden Library is home to four rare books by Hooker, which altered the history and future of plants for centuries to come.

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Coffee and Climate Change

OSGF

When Ellis discovered the fragrant and popular plant, he wrote an introduction to An Historical Account of Coffee describing the flower and fruit. While many of Ellis’ affiliated contemporaries studied plants, he was not only interested in growing them: he was most interested in the culture plants created. By the time he caught wind of Coffea arabica, it was most prominent as a beverage consumed while people assembled “in crowds to pass the time agreeably.” In 2017, we face the threat of losing the cultural staple to climate change.

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Friendly Weeds

OSGF

Vanity Fair once described Bunny Mellon as the “high priestess of pruning and pleaching” for her devotion to gardening and personal love for pruning. While Bunny had an affinity for picking wildflowers and celebrated vegetable gardens, she loved pretty weeds as well.

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John Ellis and the Venus Flytrap

OSGF

Charles Darwin once said that the Venus flytrap was “one of the most wonderful [plants] in the world.” The carnivorous plant was discovered in North Carolina, soon to become one of the most fascinating studies in plant discoveries during the 18th century. Behind the doors of the Oak Spring Garden Library is a manuscript of England’s first formally recorded encounter with Dionaea muscipula.

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Lectures and Learning

OSGF

OSGF President Sir Peter Crane has been hard at work in Inner Mongolia and Shenzhen, China. Read about his recent expedition and research, as well as his upcoming lecture at the XIX International Botanical Congress.

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Protecting Native Pollinators

OSGF

European honey bees may be the most recognizable pollinators in the world. But the busiest workers in American gardens are often overlooked: these are the bats, birds, flies, wasps, solitary bees, and other animals that make up the native pollinator population. In the midst of the summer pollinator frenzy, we want to celebrate and protect the species that have pollinated native plants for hundreds of years.

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Growing With Our Interns

OSGF

A critical part of the Oak Spring Garden Foundation's mission is to foster knowledge among young leaders in the fields of horticulture, plant science and garden research. This month, we are very excited to welcome our first gardening interns from the School of Professional Horticulture!

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Anna Maria Hussey

OSGF

As part of an initiative to increase recognition of the role that women have played in the development of plant science through botanical art, the Oak Spring Garden Foundation has been hosting interns to visit the Library and research our collections. One of the women researched was Anna Maria Hussey, an artist and mycologist.

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Mellon and Schlumberger

OSGF

Bunny Mellon and renowned jewler-designer Jean Schlumberger shared interests at the intersection of style and the natural world. See how their friendship is being honored at VMFA and at OSGF.

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Spring at Oak Spring

OSGF

As the days grow longer and warmer, the color and aroma of spring have come flooding back into Bunny Mellon's garden, despite a late freeze! 

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Oak Spring Wildflowers and Trees

OSGF

Ecologist Michael Gaige is currently undertaking a comprehensive site survey of Oak Spring to document the flora and fauna of the 263-acre estate through all four seasons. He visited Oak Spring this week and shot these photographs of wildflowers and trees that have been blooming around the landscape outside of the garden.

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#ColorOurCollections

OSGF

The New York Academy of Medicine launched a social media campaign called #ColorOurCollections, where cultural institutions around the world are invited to create downloadable coloring sheets and books using items in their collections.  The Oak Spring Garden Foundation has a rich library of rare books and manuscript items that have played important roles in the history of botanical art and science. We think this campaign is a great way to share some of our collection, connect people to the art of botanical illustration and promote creativity!

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Jane Loudon

OSGF

Jane Loudon (1807-1858) revolutionized both science fiction literature and the art of gardening by making it accessible to amateurs and women. The Oak Spring Garden Library has six second-edition volumes of her most successful work, The Ladies' Flower-Garden. We share her story.

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Winter at Oak Spring

OSGF

The leaves have fallen and the ground has frozen, but there is still plenty of life and beauty to be found in Bunny Mellon's garden. Click through the slideshow below to explore Oak Spring during the winter months.

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A flower bud blooms again after 100 million years.

OSGF

In paper published in this week in the Proceedings of the Royal Society (UK Academy of Science) Professors Friis, Pedersen and Crane describe the remarkably well preserved bud of an ancient flower recovered from fossil deposits from the the Chesapeake Bay region of Maryland, USA.

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