Gardening is a universal activity that unites people around the world. Whether for pleasure or practicality, humanity’s relationship with the soil has sustained since we quite literally planted roots as a species over 6,000 years ago. The Lure of the Garden invites visitors to explore the enduring desire to shape and cultivate the land, from the propagation of the “three sisters” — corn, beans, and squash — by Native Americans, to garden clubs, war-era Victory Gardens, and community and pollinator gardens.
With materials dating back to the 1500s, the Monroes and the Wakemans, founders of the library, sought to curate a collection that would be democratic — of use to all classes of society from the financier to the farmer. Pequot Library’s Special Collections reflect the changing tastes, styles, and purposes of gardens, as well as their enduring lure. The resulting collections contain everything from practical advice on laying out gardens, raising poultry, and keeping bees to propagating vegetables and keeping the accounts of the farm. Materials from the archives, including diaries and day books from local farmers, document the varieties of plants and fruit trees planted, as well as local produce like the Southport Globe Onions and potatoes that were shipped from our humble port to New York City.
The Lure of the Garden will be on view in the Pequot Library’s Perkin Gallery from June 23, 2022 – February 5, 2023.