The Special Collections of Wageningen UR Library has an international collection of approximately 35.000 printed catalogues of nurseries specialised in ornamental plants, bulbs and trees from 1612 and onwards. Also catalogues on fruit, vegetables and agricultural crops and seeds are available. They are used for historical plant research on (agro)cultural biodiversity, the history of plant breeding and for the reconstruction of contemporary planting in historical gardens and parks.
The nursery catalogues
The majority of this printed collection of plant catalogues is from the Netherlands and from other European nurseries. There are also catalogues from South-Africa, New-Zealand, Australia, North and South America, Japan and other non-European countries.
The collection nursery catalogues consists of two parts. The larger part from 1835-2000 is described as serial publications by nursery companies which are stored in boxes.
The second part consists of several very old and rare nursery catalogues from 1612 and onwards, for example the Krelage collection. This collection was donated to the University Library and had been housed during the years by several institutes in Wageningen. Each institute added catalogues in their own field of interest. This greatly enlarged collection returned to the library in 2000. There was still a small Krelage collection of over 400 catalogues at 90 dahlia nurseries in the Netherlands and abroad (1850-1925).
Both collections were integrated to a large collection of nursery catalogues.
How to find nursery catalogues?
The nursery catalogues can be found in the Special Collections Catalogue. One could also search in the Catalogue on a specific nursery, for example Moerheim or Krelage.