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In a Strange Garden: The Life and Times of Truby King

Appendix Five: Truby King's library

page 235

Appendix Five: Truby King's library

The south-facing library at Melrose housed Truby's book collection. Central on the southern wall is a large window, fitted with a device to allow it to be lowered, for unobstructed viewing of the night sky. The manual lowering mechanism, comprising a crank handle and ratchet device in a cupboard below, does not appear in the original architect's plans, and would have been fitted at a later date. Around the panelled walls are bookshelves that in Truby's day would have overflowed.

The handwritten library catalogue in the Hocken Library tells of the contents of the library on Truby's death. It comprises many fragile A5 pages and thousands of books. His extensive collection of medical books was donated to the BMA, childcare books to Plunket, and the rest otherwise dispersed. Archival material shows he ordered books from Foyles bookshop in London, often with the admonition 'second- page 236
The Melrose library, 1939.

The Melrose library, 1939.

hand preferred, but new copies acceptable'. His daughter noted that Truby would often buy books in quantity, to give away to people whom he believed worthy of education.

Almost every topic is represented, from opera to classical mythology, all the great authors, many travel books, one New Testament and a child's Bible. There is no 'light' reading. The only novels are serious classics, and there are no books on sport.

The gardening library is an aid to the resurrection of the Melrose garden. As a snapshot of Edwardian gardening, it is remarkably complete and comprehensive:

Title Author
A Book of Gardening for Sub-Tropics Stout
A Book of Gardens Waterford
A Book of Old-World Gardens Hyatt
A Tour Round My Garden Karr
Alpine Flowers and Gardens Flemwell
Alpine Plants Mansell
Annuals and Biennials Jekyllpage 237
Blacks Gardening Dictionary Ellis
Bricklaying Forbes
Bulb Gardening Hampden
Bulb Gardening Macself
California Fruits Wickson
Carnations and Pinks Fletcher
Chemistry of the Garden Cousins
Colour Schemes for Flower Gardens Jekyll
Cultivation of New Zealand Plants Cockayne
Decorative Plants and Trees Fletcher
Design in Landscape Gardening Root
Dry-Wall Gardens Smith
Elementary Chemistry of Agriculture Woodhead
Elements of Farming McConnell
Everyman's Book of Garden Flowers Halsham
Evolution of Plants Scott
Farm and Garden Rule Book Brierley
Farm Crops Baskett
Flower Culture Hampden
Flowering Trees and Shrubs Macself
French Gardening Smith
French Market Gardens Weathers
Fruit Trees and Grape Vine Pruning Quinn
Fundamentals of Fruit Production Bradford & Hooker
Fungus Pests of Fruit Trees
Garden Development Henslow
Garden Talks Cram
Garden Trees and Shrubs Wright
Gardening Don'ts M.A.
Gardening for the Ignorant
Gardens in the Making
Gladioli Macself
Greenhouse and Window Plants Collins
Greenhouse Construction Taft
Greenhouses, their Construction and Equipment Wright
Key to Australian Gardening Searle
Land Draining Miles
Lawns and Greens Sanders
Making a Bulb Garden Tabor
Making a Garden of Perennials Egan
Manual of Forestry Schlich
Manual of Practical Farming McLennan
Modern Culture of Sweet Peas Stevenson
My Garden of the Red Rose Aitkenpage 238
New Rhubarb Culture Morse
Perpetual Carnations Illustrated Cooke
Planning and Planting of Little Gardens Dillistone
Plant Propagation Kain
Plants from Seed Macself
Practical Bricklaying Briggs & Carwen
Practical Bricklaying Hammond
Principles of Agriculture Harrison
Principles of Fruit Growing Bailey
Productive Vegetable Growing Lloyd
Propagation and Improvement of Cultivated Plants Burb ridge
Rational Fruit Culture Davidson
Rock Gardening Tannock
Rock Gardens Jenkins
Saturday in the Garden Farthing
Saxifrages Jeremy & Malby
Seeding and Planting in Forestry Townley
Select Extra-Tropical Plants Mueller
Shrubs for Amateurs Bean
Soils and Fertilisers Macself
Soils and Manures in New Zealand Wilde
Spirit of the Soil Knox
Spraying Crops Spraying Crops
Story of Plants Duncan
Strawberry Growing Fletcher
Sweet Peas Junwin
Sweet Peas Wright
Textbook of Pomology Gourlay
The Book of Asparagus Ilott
The Book of Bulbs Arnott
The Book of Hardy Flowers Thomas
The Book of the Scented Garden Burbridge
The Book of the Strawberry
The Bulb Book Weathers
The Children's Book of Gardening Paynter
The Complete Gardener Thomas
The Garden Library Vines
The Garden Under Glass
The Herbaceous Garden Martineau
The Potato Grubb & Guildford
The Secrets of Many Gardens Macfarlane
Tomato Culture Tracy
Tropical Agriculture Wilcox
Vegetable Gardening Chisholmpage 239
Wayside and Woodland Trees Step
Wild Flowers at Home Gowans and Gray
Wood and Garden Jekyll
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