Seed Catalogue

“This subject of peas continues to absorb all others … It is both a fashion and a madness.”—Madame de Maintenon, 1696

Clark Library Seed Catalogue: An Heirloom Seed Sharing Program

Check out heirloom seeds at the reference desk, grow them at home, and, for advanced gardeners, bring back harvested seeds that other patrons can enjoy.

Why Save and Share Seeds?

Gardeners of the past shared, traded, and passed down seeds from generation to generation, neighbor to neighbor. This allowed for developing seed stock more resilient and better adapted to local climates and soil; perpetuating knowledge of seed saving; and nurturing a culture of sharing and abundance in the community.

The seed sharing program brings together the Clark Library’s collection strengths in historical gardening manuals and cookbooks, its landscaped grounds, and its role as a neighborhood educational resource. Our goal is to re-seed heirloom knowledge in our community, strengthening our connections to the greater environment and to each other. By drawing upon early modern primary sources for the Clark’s seed sharing program, we encourage environmental responsibility through engagement with pre-industrial sources, closely reading the past to productively shape the future.

Through a seed sharing program, we also seek to challenge and expand ways of thinking about knowledge-making and memory, as well as what library resources look—and smell, taste, and feel—like in the 21st century.

How to Find Seeds

Ask for our seed catalogue at the reference desk, and feel free to browse through the selections. The seeds are alphabetized by common name and then by variety.

How to Borrow Seeds

Our checkout sheet is available at the reference desk. You can check out up to 3 packets at a time. Please fill out all the requested information. The seed sharing program works best if we know the identity and history of the seeds that are borrowed and donated.

How to Enjoy and Return Seeds

Plant and harvest.

Optional: Let some plants go to seed. Save seeds for yourself and the library. You don’t need to save and donate seeds to participate, though it helps to keep the library stocked. If you do save seeds for the library, thank you! It is important that seeds coming back into the collection are grown and saved properly to ensure that the purity of each variety remains intact. To learn how to save seeds, you can start here:

Please donate seeds for the library in envelopes provided by the library. Write all the information for seeds you want to donate on the envelopes, and place the envelopes in the Donated Seeds drawer in the seed catalog.

For More Information and Gardening Resources
Garden School Foundation

Questions or comments?
Please contact us:

We’re excited to see what you grow!
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