"This collection of eye-filling illustrations is certain to delight
naturalists of all ages."
--back cover of Botanical Gardens Coloring Book

Botanical Gardens Coloring Book


Dover Publications, Inc.
Ever wonder whether anyone actually colors the detailed line drawings in the Dover Coloring Book Series? Kids could never stay in the lines. Teens would think it's stupid to try. That leaves adults who have just bought an expensive set of colored pencils and are eager to try them out.

Whatever the audience, Dover publishes over 280 coloring books on topics that include A Soldier's Life in the Civil War and Muscle Cars: 1960 to 75. There's even a coloring book called Audubon's Birds of America for any one who wants to try to out Audubon Audubon

I recently heard an interview with Fred Rogers: " Mr. Rogers." He talks slowly -- slowly enough to allow me to latch on to and to think about what he has to say. Dover Coloring Books are like that. They slow me down. Even if I never color the book my wife bought me for Christmas, my eyes force my mind to slow down to catch the black and white lines woven into intricate detail that would be missed in a color picture. If I ever decide to color a page, I think that by laboring over the detail I would develop an indelible mental picture of that place or setting.

The Botanical Gardens Coloring Book by Dot Barolow, an illustrator whose passion is to teach children to draw animals and plants, is a collection of illustrations of 39 much-visited gardens in the United States and Canada. Strictly speaking, not all of them are Botanical Gardens as the cover advertises, but all of them do have botanic or historic interest.

All of the biggest names in botanical gardens and arboretums are here: the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx, the Morton Arboretum in Illinois, the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis, the Fairfield Tropical Gardens in Florida, the Arnold Arboretum in Massachusetts, the Chicago Botanical Gardens, the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota, the Strybing Arboretum in San Francisco, and the Botanical Gardens of Montreal.

Historic Bartram GardenAdded to those are the spectacular display gardens at Longwood Gardens outside Philadelphia, Winterhur Gardens in Delaware, the renewed gardens and landscaping at Monticello, and the gardens at Colonial Williamsburg. New to me were the Green Animals topiary garden in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, and the Historic Bartram's Garden in Philadephia. The Dover Coloring Book calls the Bartram Garden America's oldest botanical garden. John Bartram's grand ambition was to document all the native flora in New World. His garden has many of the plants he brought back with him from his botanical expeditions in the American colonies. Bartram is best know for discovering and saving from extinction a rare tree that he named Franklinia alatamaha in honor of his friend Benjamin Franklin.

Each of the garden illustrations is captioned -- if a long descriptive paragraph could be called a caption. The paragraph begins with some tourist's highlights of that garden. Then it goes on to give gentle hints for how to color any flower, bird, or insect that may be unfamiliar.