Shakespeare Garden Books


I collect Shakespeare garden books. The photographs in this blog entry are of one of the most beautiful books I own: Henry Ellacombe’s The Plant-Lore and Garden-Craft of Shakespeare, 1896.

What is a Shakespeare Garden? Such a garden can be inspired by Shakespeare’s works, or can include plants he mentioned, or can reproduce a famous play setting. There are many famous Shakespeare gardens, including those at The Huntington (Pasadena CA), Golden Gate Park (San Francisco CA), Brooklyn Botanic Garden (New York), Central Park (New York), Northwestern University (Evanston IL), The Folger Shakespeare Library (Washington DC), and of course the garden of Anne Hathaway (Shakespeare’s wife) in Stratford-Upon-Avon, England.  Check out my Pinterest Board to see pictures of over 50 Shakespeare plants. Most plants mentioned in Shakespeare’s works are still common today, 450 years later.

Publications about Shakespeare plants and gardens have been popular for 150 or more years – since they are in the charming intersection of beauty and literature. Some examples:

  • Beisley, Sidney, Shakespeare’s Gardens, Longmans, Green: 1864
  • Bloom, J. Harvey, Shakespeare’s Garden, Tower Books: 1971 (reprint of the 1903 edition)
  • Carter, Annie B., Shakespeare Gardens / Design, Plants, and Flower Lore, Dorrance & Co.: 1937
  • Chronicle Books, Shakespeare’s Flowers, 1994
  • Crane, Walter, Flowers from Shakespeare’s Garden, Macmillan Publishing: 1980 (reprint of the 1906 edition)
  • Damrosch, Barbara, Theme Gardens, Workman Publishing: 1982
  • De Bray, Lys, Fantastic Garlands: an anthology of flowers and plants from Shakespeare, Blandford Press: 1982
  • Dent, Alan, World of Shakespeare: Plants, Taplinger Publishing: 1973
  • Ellacombe, Henry N., The Plant-Lore and Garden-Craft of Shakespeare, Edward Arnold: 1896
  • Eyler, Ellen C., Early English Gardens and Garden Books, (booklet) Folger Books: 1979
  • Fleissrer, Robert F., A Rose by Any Other Name / A Survey of Literary Flora from Shakespeare to Eco, Locust Hill Press: 1989
  • Fox, Levi, An Illustrated Introduction to Shakespeare’s Flowers, (booklet) Jarrold Publishing: 1990
  • Fox, Levi, The Shakespearean Gardens, (booklet) Jarrold Publishing: 1953
  • Grindon, Leopold Hartley, Shakespere Flora, Palmer & Howe: 1883
  • Hales, Mick, Shakespeare in the Garden, Abrams: 2006
  • Hubbart, Edith, America’s First Shakespeare Garden, (booklet) 1938
  • Hunt, Doris, The Flowers of Shakespeare, Webb & Bower: 1980
  • Huntington Botanical Gardens, Garden Notes, (booklet) 1978
  • Kerr, Jessica, Shakespeare’s Flowers, Thomas Y. Crowell Co.: 1969
  • Law, Ernest, Shakespeare’s Garden / Stratford-Upon-Avon, (booklet) Selwyn & Blount: 1922
  • Pallen, Nancy Shumaker, Shakespeare’s Garden, Cedco Publishing: 1999
  • Pomeroy, Elizabeth, The Huntington Library, Art Collections, Botanical Gardens, Philip Wilson Publishers: 1983
  • Pickles, Sheila, The Complete Language of Flowers / A Treasury in Verse and Prose, Pavilion: 1998
  • Prince, Martha, “Shakespearean Bouquet”, from American Horticulturalist v.64, number 4, April 1985
  • The Printing Corporation, A Trip Through Internationally Famous Golden Gate Park / San Francisco, California, (booklet) 1937
  • Putnam, Clare, Flowers and Trees of Tudor England, New York Graphic Society: 1972
  • Rendall, Vernon, Wild Flowers in Literature, Scholartis Press: 1934
  • Rodway, Avril, A Literary Herbal, Leprechaun Library: 1980
  • Rohde, Eleanour S., Shakespeare’s Wild Flowers, Medici Society: 1963 (reprint of the 1935 edition)
  • Ryden, Mats, Shakespearean Plant Names / Identifications and Interpretations, 1978
  • Savage, F.G., Flora and Folk-Lore of Shakespeare, E.J. Burrow & Co.: 1923
  • Simons, Adelma G., Herb Gardens of Delight, Hawthorn Books: 1974
  • Singleton, Esther, Shakespeare Garden, AMS Press: 1933
  • Thorpe, James, William Shakespeare at the Huntington, (booklet) The Huntington Library: 1977
  • Warner, James A., and Margaret J. White, Shakespeare’s Flowers, Middle Atlantic Press: 1987




Images Copyright 2012 by Katy Dickinson


Filed under Home & Family, News & Reviews

3 responses to “Shakespeare Garden Books

  1. Pingback: Happy 450th Birthday, Shakespeare! | KatysBlog

  2. hello my name is steve , I have a problem you may be able to solve . I have a copy of Sidney beisly’s 1864 book shakespere’s garden ( spelt shakspear ) but I can find no mention of the book on the internet , only yours. i’m trying to find it’s value , if any . could you be of any assistance ? .

    • Katy Dickinson

      Thanks for your question. Book values are widely variable – depending on such characteristics as the book’s condition, age, its history (both as a work and as an individual artifact), its illustrations, the general book market, and finding an interested customer. The same 1864 work on Shakespeare could be worth US$20 or US$200. If you want to sell it, a collector like me would be a good opportunity, or an antiquarian bookseller might be interested, or you could donate it to a charity auction to get a tax deduction!

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