A Treasure from the Past: The EncyclopÆdia of Gardening

Sulton's Seeds, Fertilisers, Horticultural Lundries

Sulton’s Seeds, Fertilisers, Horticultural Sundries

Mom only saved a few of Dad’s possessions after he died, but what she did save are gems. I have his photo albums, some of his landscape drawings, a few paintings and his painter’s easel.  What I didn’t realize before today was that the battered, green book of his that I’ve hung on to all these years is a gardening encyclopedia!

While rummaging through a cabinet in search of a White Elephant gift, I removed the book to reach the back of the cabinet. Before returning it, I cracked the cover and there it was: my father’s lovely handwriting dated January 3, 1930. The next page revealed that I was holding The EncylopÆdia of Gardening by T.W Sanders, Knight of First Class of the Royal Order of Vasa, Sweden.

The Encyclopedia of Gardening

The Encyclopedia of Gardening

My dad was a horticulturist, so it’s not surprising that he had this book.  What amazed me is that I didn’t realize what I had all these years.  It’s a small book, no bigger than a paperback. There are no illustrations, but a few advertisements appear on the last few pages of the book.  I’m dying to sit down and read it cover to cover.  I read the forward and some of the introduction, then decided to look up a few plants.



I’m named after Dad’s sister, Alys, so I started with Alyssum. Not only did I find it listed, but there was a small mark next to the entry.  Goosebumps!  As an aside, I learned that Alyssum was first introduced in 1710. I can’t get the grin off my face.

One last little treasure: between the middle pages were four postage stamps from India, where Dad lived before the war.  The stamps say India Postage, Three Pies.

I’ve been beaming all day.



9 thoughts on “A Treasure from the Past: The EncyclopÆdia of Gardening

  1. I remember that book cover from when we all lived with mom.
    That’s so great to have:
    1. To have hung on to it all these years.
    2. To have found out is was a gardening book, especially since you’ve grown up to be quite the gardener!
    3. To have another of the limited possessions of daddy’s. Such a connection, don’t you think;0)


  2. What a great story, thanks for sharing your find Alys. I think the fact that your dad has inscribed his name in his own hand is lovely. I’ve kept a receipt for new tires on my old car that daddy signed when he picked them up for me, it’s hard to understand these little things, but I do. I suppose that stamp image is King George V given the approximate dates. I love using vintage images like that in my projects. Those vintage ad’s are interesting too. Did you know they’re still in business? I thought I’d Google and get some old history info, but here they are


    You can still order seeds from the same company. Maybe your dad grew their seeds too. I’m so happy for you to have found it. You probably know how much I adore vintage books, so I love the colour of the cover too.


    • Thank you, Boomdee! I totally get that! How sweet that you have a receipt with your dad’s signature.

      I do remember your love of vintage books. I love the smell and the weight of them. It’s fun to think of the hands they’ve passed through, too, don’t you think?

      Did you every read 84 Charing Cross Road? If not, I think you would love it.

      Thanks for looking up and posting the link. I’m headed there now. How cool is that!


      • That’s so funny that you say that, it’s exactly right. Holding an old book makes me wonder. Who bought it originally? Was it a gift? Birthday? Anniversary? What road did it travel to my hand, I just love that.

        I haven’t read that novel, but just went to wikipedia. Sounds like a good read. Corresponding, making friendships but never connecting…I hope that wouldn’t be our story. I will have to see if they have it at my library, I’ve bookmarked that. Thanks Alys.

        It’s very cool that you can possible order seeds from the same company your dad did. Serving generations of gardeners, that is really something. Let me know if you order anything. 🙂


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