The Library at The Gardens

The Library at The Gardens

About The Library

The Library at Birmingham Botanical Gardens is part of the Public Libraries in Jefferson County, making it the only public horticultural library in the United States. Simply present your blue or black library card to check out one of over 8,000 books, DVDs, audio books and magazines from our circulating collection. As a full-service public library, we can access all of the vast resources of the entire Public Library System in Jefferson County. Stop by today and dig into our collection - your knowledge is sure to grow!

Hours of Operation

Monday - Friday | 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Saturday | 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Sunday | 2 p.m. - 5 p.m.

The Library Offers:

  • Large selection of new gardening books
  • Children's section. Click here for the Kid's Catalog!
  • Over 65 different circulating gardening and horticulture magazines
  • Archives and Rare Book Room
  • A large collection of DVDs
  • Free internet access
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Magic School Bus DVDs
  • Eyewitness books and DVDs
  • Resource material for Hands-on Activities Science Program (HASP) modules on Living Things, Organisms, Plant Growth and Development, Butterflies, Ecosystems and Earthworms
  • Multiple copies of Peterson's First Guides: Forests, Trees, Urban Wildlife, Butterflies & Moths and Caterpillars
  • The entire Discovering Alabama series on DVD
  • Teacher Resource Area with lesson plan materials
  • Used books & magazines for sale
  • Friendly staff and volunteers to help with all your gardening questions


Complete list of newest available titles at JCLC

Contact Us

205.414.3920 | phone
205.414.3922 | fax

Got a gardening question? Email us

Thyme to Read Book Club

When: January 7
Title: Heat: An Amateur’s Adventures as Kitchen Salve, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany
Author: Bill Buford

Heat is a marvelous hybrid: a richly evocative memoir of Buford’s kitchen adventure, the story of Mario Batali’s amazing rise to culinary fame, a dazzling behind-the-scenes look at the workings of a famous restaurant, and an illuminating exploration of why food matters.

When: February 4
Title: The Signature of All Things
Author: Elizabeth Gilbert

"Gilbert, in supreme command of her material, effortlessly invokes the questing spirit of the nineteenth century, when amateur explorers, naturalists, and enthusiasts were making major contributions to progress. Beautifully written and imbued with a reverence for science and for learning, this is a must-read." - Booklist.

When: March 4
Title: The Backyard Parable
Author: Margaret Roach

"As orioles flit, tadpoles leap, and Jack the Demon Cat stalks unsuspecting chipmunks. Roach muses on the nature of nature in a garden she has tended for 25 years. Roach would be the first to admit the garden has, in many ways, tended her, too, and she brings a Zen-like appreciation for the lessons gardens impart to those who are willing to watch, listen and learn." -Booklist

When: April 1
Title: The Scent of Scandal: Greed, Betrayal, and the World's Most
Beautiful Orchid
Author: Craig Pittman

"Imagine a plant so luscious, exotic, and rare that people would lie for it, steal for it, risk their lives and sacrifice their freedom for it. In Peru’s Andean jungle, just such a plant existed, a slipper orchid of unheralded beauty and unimaginable size."  -Booklist

When: May 6
Title: The Apple Orchard
Author: Susan Wiggs

"Against the rich landscape of Bella Vista (a hundred-acre apple orchard in the magical Sonoma town called Archangel), Tess begins to discover a world filled with the simple pleasures of food and family, of the warm earth beneath her bare feet. A world where family comes first and the roots of history run deep. A place where falling in love is not only possible, but inevitable." -Amazon

When: June 3
Title: A Handmade Wilderness
Author: Donald G. Schueler

"In 1968 two gay young men - one white, one black - quixotically decided
to buy eighty backwoods acres in southern Mississippi, little realizing that
they were embarking on the greatest adventure of their lives. Don Schueler's
account of the twenty-five years that followed, during which he and Willie
Brown transformed their "least worst land" into a wildEden, is a modern saga
by turns suspenseful, very funny and deeply moving." -Amazon

When: July 1
Title: The Dark Vineyard
Author: Martin Walker

"When a bevy of winemakers descend on Saint-Denis, competing for its land
and spurring resentment among the villagers, the idyllic town—where
Benoit “Bruno” Courreges is the town’s only policeman—finds itself the
center of an intense drama, with suspicious fires at the agricultural
research station that is working on genetically-modified crops." -Amazon

When: August 5
Title: The Fruit Hunters: A story of Nature, Adventure, commerce and Obsession
Author: Adam Gollner

"A vivid and unforgettable expedition through the world of exotic fruit,
The Fruit Hunters is the engrossing story of some of Earth’s most
desired foods told by an intrepid journalist and keen observer of
nature—both human and botanical." -Amazon

When: September 9
Title: The Lost Garden: A Novel
Author: Helen Humphreys

Leaving London to grow food for the war effort, Gwen discovers a mysterious lost garden and the story of a love that becomes her own.

When: October 7
Title: The Grass Harp
Author: Truman Capote

"Set on the outskirts of a small Southern town, The Grass Harp tells the story of three endearing misfits—an orphaned boy and two whimsical old ladies—who one day take upresidence in a tree house. As they pass sweet yet hazardous hours in a china tree, The Grass Harp manages to convey all the pleasures and responsibilities of freedom. But most of all it teaches us about the sacredness of love, “that love is a chain of love, as nature is a chain of life.”

When: November 4
Title: Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats
Author: Sally Fallon

This well-researched, thought-provoking guide to traditional foods contains a startling message: Animal fats and cholesterol are not villains but vital factors in the diet, necessary for normal growth, proper function of the brain and nervous system, protection from disease and optimum energy levels. Sally Fallon dispels the myths of the current low-fat fad in this practical, entertaining guide to a can-do diet that is both nutritious and delicious.

When: December 2
Title: The Roots of My Obsession
Author: Thomas C. Cooper

The Roots of My Obsession features thirty essays from the most vital voices in gardening. They show that gardening is a passion and obsession that cannot be conquered or abandoned, only indulged. Each gardener tells a compelling story. Whether their muse is the quest to achieve a personal vision of ultimate beauty, a mission to heal the earth, or the attempt to grow a perfect heirloom tomato, the writing is direct, engaging, and from the heart.


Contact Hope Long, director of library services, at 205.414.3931 or to learn more about the book club.

Honors & Memorials

Don't see a book in the library that you think we should have? We accept suggestions and donations. You can also choose to memorialize or honor a relative, friend, or professional colleague and help grow The Library at Birmingham Botanical Gardens at the same time.