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Horticultural Reference Library

The Elizabeth F. Gamble Horticultural Library is a non-circulating reference library for use on-site by the public, volunteers, and horticultural staff. We are thrilled to share it with you!

The collection is available in the Gamble Garden Main House during open hours 9am-2pm. Please note that library books are for In-House Use only. Checking out books is not allowed.

Click below to access library titles through our online catalog. You may search the catalog via your laptop or iPhone at the library; or, search it from home before you visit.

Type in search words for author, title or subject and click the appropriate button. If you are not sure of the exact title or subject, type in a word or two and search both files. Press a highlighted (blue) title to see the Item’s detail page which might give more searching ideas.

Note: the catalog is not forgiving of misspellings and the search help button does not apply to Gamble.

Books are arranged in the library by an alphabetical call number system, a common classification used in colleges and specialized libraries, which is sorted by letter first and then by number. For example, QL464 comes before SB419 which is followed by SB450.

We welcome your comments and feedback on our new catalog!

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New Additions

These books are either in our New Book shelf in the library or else on the shelves with the other books. If so, to find them, look for their “call number”, or location “number” on the library’s shelves.

Artscapes, Harmony for Plants and People by James Chadwick. Find it in the library at SB473.2 CHA 2006.

Homeowners, landscape professionals, architects and do-it-yourself landscapers will learn practical information and process guidance from garden inception to end result. Artscapes offers 18 foldout drawing plans that provide a variety of designs and plans. Colorful photographs illustrate the full scope of James Chadwicks skills and talents as a landscape designer. Included are some Palo Alto residences.

Garden Alchemy: 80 Recipes and Concoctions for Organic Fertilizers, Plant Elixirs, Potting Mixes, Pest Deterrents, and More by Stephanie Rose. Find it in the library at S661 ROS 2020.

Beginning with home experiments to help you get to know your soil and customize recipes for your individual environment, the book then tells you how to decipher and combine natural ingredients to make the best quality amendments and elixirs and fix common problems. Illustrated by full-color, step-by-step photography, there are instructions for building a compost pile, concocting soil tests, and constructing inexpensive DIY seed-starting equipment. Also included are recipes for natural pest deterrents and traps, garden teas, and growth-boosting foliar sprays.

Native Treasures: Gardening with the Plants of California by M. Nevin
Smith. Find it in the library at SB439.24 SMI 2006.

A respected horticulturalist and practitioner and gifted writer, Smith combines his personal thoughts, sometimes maverick opinions, and matchless expertise with practical advice on selected groups of native plants and their culture. The author explains how California’s diverse terrain, climate, and geology support over 6000 plant species. Though not a systematic “how-to” manual, the book offers suggestions for designing with most of the major natives in cultivation, as well as with some more obscure but garden-worthy groups.

Trees of Stanford and Environs by Ronald N. Bracewell. Find it in the library at QK484.C2 BRA 2005.

This detailed survey of more than 350 species of trees found at Stanford University and in Palo Alto is the result of nearly 50 years of study and observation by Professor Bracewell. Designed for tree lovers, botanists, horticulturalists, and environmentalists, the book shows gardeners mature versions of these plants.

Year-round Indoor Salad Gardening: How to Grow Nutrient-Dense, Soil-
Sprouted Greens in Less Than 10 days
by Peter Burke. Find it in the library at SB351 BUR 2015.

The book offers detailed step-by-step instructions to mastering this easy method of growing salad greens indoors, tools and accessories to have on hand, seeds and greens varieties, soil and compost, trays and planters, shelving, harvest and storage, recipes, scaling up to serve local markets, and much more.

Children's Books

Books for children are now available at the Gamble Library! Take your little ones to the Gamble Library and introduce them to the wonders of gardens and the magic of reading. We have a variety of garden-themed titles including “The Vegetables We Eat”, “The Curious Garden”, “The Tale of Peter Rabbit”, and more. Look for the children’s book basket, choose a book, and settle on the window bench with your young reader curled up on your lap.

Available Titles

The Curious Garden by Peter Brown.
A Walk in the Forest by Maria Dek.
We are the Gardeners by Joanna Gaines & kids.
The Vegetables We Eat by Gail Gibbons.
It Starts With a Seed by Laura Knowles.
Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt by Kate Messner.
The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter.
Botanicum curated by Katie Scott and Kathy Willis.