THE OLMSTED PARKS OF LOUISVILLE: A BOTANICAL FIELD GUIDE by Patricia Dalton Haragan is Available Now
Now that spring has arrived, the temperatures are rising, and the first buds have started to open, it is time to get outside. Many may not realize that one of the best places to find nature-and one with historical significance-can be found in the heart of Louisville. Frederick Law Olmsted was America's first landscape designer. He was renowned for his work on Central Park, the U.S. Capitol grounds, and Biltmore Estate grounds, but his greatest achievement was his concept of systems of parks connected by tree-lined parkways. In 1891, Olmsted was commissioned by the city of Louisville to create such a system of parks. When completed, it joined previous multi-park designs for Buffalo, Boston, and Milwaukee, though Louisville would be the last of his career.
In The Olmsted Parks of Louisville: A Botanical Field Guide, Patricia Dalton Haragan displays her extensive research and fieldwork at Olmsted parks, bringing the history and ecology of the parks together with 320 color photographs of the plants that inhabit them. This botanical guide offers a treasure trove of history, trivia, and botanical curiosities, starting with the original three parks that Olmsted created-Cherokee, Iroquois, and Shawnee-and the additional fifteen parks that have been added in the years since.
The Olmsted Parks of Louisville offers a comprehensive guide to the herbaceous plants, trees, shrubs, and vines that populate the 1,116 acres that make up the five most popular Olmsted Parks: Cherokee, Seneca, Iroquois, Shawnee, and Chickasaw. She catalogs and describes over 380 plant species of wildflowers, ferns, grasses, sedges, weeds, and invasive plants. Each entry contains the plant's common and Latin names; key identifying features; the plant's family and origin; detailed descriptions on stems, leaves, flowers, and fruits; where that species can be found in both the parks and more broadly across the state; and a short botanical history. The wealth of information on the species found in the parks makes the book an ideal companion for visitors or home gardeners who want to bring the feel of the park system into their own yards.