Soon after the club was founded, the board began to create a library. At this time when the club was new, radio was still a relatively undeveloped medium, and there was no television, let alone Internet! The best way for a city dweller to learn about plants or gardens was through books.
The SFGC library reflects the horticultural interests and concerns of each decade after 1930. In the 1930s, plant exploration was still continuing. "Aristocrats of the Garden" by Ernest Wilson, the leading plant explorer of his generation, is an example.
In the 1940s and 1950s there was a great outpouring of interest in flower arranging. The library has several books by celebrated florist Constance Spry. Roses were an obsession for many and we have some of the classics in this field; as well as numerous issues of the "American Rose Annual", the yearbooks of the American Rose Society. Roses are closely followed by orchids in the heart of the gardener, and the library has a selection of books about orchids from the past.
The collection also includes many handsome picture books covering topics such as large private estate gardens (Dominique Browning), wineries and foreign gardens (Georgina Masson).
The late Fay Kramer, a distinguished SFGC club member and editor of the journal "Ikebana International", wrote her memoirs, "The Butcher's Daughers" at the age of 85. It is a delicious record of the lives of two impish sisters and their adventures.
Another distinguished member, Sandra Swanson, wrote "A Summer in Tuscany", a guide to surviving in Italy in a summer rental when the water and electricity run sporadically and the cook decides to quit unexpectedly.
If anyone wishes to donate an appropriate book to the library it will be gratefully accepted and acknowledged. If it duplicates a current holding the librarian will donate it to the newly formed library of San Francisco City College's Department of Environmental Horticulture and Floristry.