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by Deb Shaw

The Huntington Botanical Gardens Forever stamp from the US Postal Service.

The US Post Office is honoring ten US Botanical Gardens with a new Forever stamp, released this month. The gardens at The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino is one of those ten. Entitled “Beauty and Order,” the American Gardens Forever® stamps features gardens designed from 1889 through today.

Art director Ethel Kessler designed each stamp with a small but evocative photograph representing each garden, taken by Allen Rokach between 1996 and 2014.

The USPS press release and website states:
“The love of gardening stretches back to the earliest years of our country, inspiring George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and other Founding Fathers to plant some of America’s most iconic colonial-era gardens. From the 19th century to today, landscape designers have continued that tradition.”

The featured gardens include:

  • The Huntington Botanical Gardens (California);
  • Biltmore Estate Gardens (North Carolina);
  • Brooklyn Botanic Garden (New York);
  • Chicago Botanic Garden (Illinois);
  • Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens (Maine);
  • Dumbarton Oaks Garden (District of Columbia);
  • Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park (Florida);
  • Norfolk Botanical Garden (Virginia);
  • Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens (Ohio); and
  • Winterthur Garden (Delaware).

The “American Gardens” Forever stamps honoring ten US gardens were released by the US Post Office in May, 2020.

Millions of Americans visit public and private gardens each year.

The postal service does not receive tax dollars for operations, relying on the sale of postage, products and services for funding. Information about ordering the “American Gardens” Forever stamps can be found on

by Deb Shaw

Not too long after Jim Folsom, published his free ebook, “A Botanical Reader for the Curious Gardener,” in February 2016, it mysteriously disappeared from iBooks, much to the disappointment of those who hadn’t yet had a chance to download it. The problem turned out to be some technical glitches.

Cover, "A Botanical Reader for the Curious Gardener", James P. Folsom, © 2016, all rights reserved.

Cover, “A Botanical Reader for the Curious Gardener”, James P. Folsom, © 2016, all rights reserved.

Jim used the opportunity to issue version 1.2 of “A Botanical Reader” as they got the ebook back online. The new version includes edits, expansion of the Botanical Calendar, and an enlarged Plant Trivia TimeLine.

BAGSC News covered the initial launch of “A Botanical Reader” [read the full article at:]

The ebook is downloadable for free through iTunes/iBooks, at  It’s listed in the category of Life Sciences, and is available on the iPad, iPhone and Mac. Search in iBooks under “A Botanical Reader” or “James P. Folsom” and it will come right up. The print length is 332 pages. 

About the Author
James P. (Jim) Folsom, PhD., rides the demographic peak of baby boomers, having been born in southeastern Alabama in 1950. His lifelong love of plants is reflected in a BS in Botany from Auburn University, an MA in Biology from Vanderbilt University, and a PhD in research botany from The University of Texas at Austin. Though his research has centered on the orchid family, with much of the research time spent in Tropical America (including a year in Colombia on a Fulbright Pre-Doctoral Fellowship), Jim’s botanical interests are wide-ranging. As Curator of the Botanical Gardens at The Huntington in San Marino, CA, he dedicates much of his effort to educational programs that increase public interest and understanding of the science, culture, and history of plants and gardens. He lives at The Huntington with his wife, Debra (also a botanist) and children Molly and Jimmy. Jim was recognized as a Friend of the Cactus and Succulent Society of America in 1996, a Member-at-Large of the Garden Club of America in 1998, and presented a Professional Citation by the American Association of Botanical Gardens and Arboreta in 1999. The Garden Club of America awarded him their Medal of Honor in 2007.

by Margaret Best, posted by Deb Shaw

BAGSC member Margaret Best has a painting in the newly released book ‘Florilegium’ to mark the bi-centennial of the Royal Botanical Gardens in Sydney, Australia.

A Florilegium Society for the gardens was formed with Shirley Sherwood as the honorary Patron and Beverly Allen as president. One of the goals of the society was to produce a high quality book containing full-page works by various botanical artists to portray a diverse array of plants of significant importance to the garden. The complete exhibition of works is to be hung at the gardens from the end of July to November and is expected to travel to the Shirley Sherwood gallery in 2018.

This is a project of over three years in the making and the superb volume has just been released. The book showcases works by 41 Australians artists, 13 British artists, two South Africans, two Japanese and one each from the United States, Canada, Netherlands, France, Korea and New Zealand.

Leslie scouting out the tree, Schotia Brachypetala at The Huntington. © 2013, Margaret Best, all rights reserved.

Leslie Walker scouting out the tree, Schotia brachypetala at The Huntington Gardens. © 2013, Margaret Best, all rights reserved.

The only Canadian with a painting in the book is Margaret Best. She flew to Los Angeles in 2013, and with the help of Leslie Walker and Janice Sharp, Margaret was able to find a sole specimen of a Schotia brachypetala, in The Huntington Gardens. This is a South African native tree known in Australia as the ‘drunken parrot tree’. Wild parakeets are attracted to the gardens by the clusters of small red flowers that drip nectar. After a short period, the copious quantities of nectar ferments and causes the birds to become intoxicated!

Margaret working in Janice's studio. © 2013, Janice Sharp, all rights reserved.

Margaret working in Janice’s studio. © 2013, Janice Sharp, all rights reserved.

Graciously hosted by Janice, Margaret was able to work in her wonderful studio for a week to complete drawings, colour matching of flowers, leaves and pod specimens for a large study. More than year later, Margaret visited a remarkable specimen in Kirstenbosch Gardens in Cape Town. With the help of the curator Ernst Van Jaarsveld, she was able to acquire a small branch from the landmark tree. That caused a last minute composition change to include the textures of bark and new growth emerging from older parts of the tree.

The outstanding book contains many fine works by artists such as Jenny Phillips, Beverly Allen, John Pastorizia-Piñol, Anita Walsmit Sachs and many more notables. [A list of the Florilegium paintings and artists can be found here.] It is most definitely worthy of any serious botanical artist’s book collection. Ask Leslie and Janice – they have heaped accolades on its quality since recently receiving their copies!

The ‘Florilegium’ may be ordered by contacting Angela Lober, international phone 02 9552 1169 or by email. Payment can be made by cheque or direct deposit. Cheques are payable to: The Florilegium Society at the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney Inc., and can be mailed with your contact and delivery information to: Ms Angela Lober, 12 Allen Street, Glebe NSW 2037

Congrats Margaret!


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