Oak Spring Garden Library


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Welcome to Oak Spring

With our deepest sorrow, we share the news of Oak Spring Garden Library’s founder, mentor, and guiding light, Rachel “Bunny” Lambert Mellon, who passed away peacefully in the early snowy morning hours of March 17th, 2014. Mrs. Mellon profoundly touched many people. Her love of nature, flowers, gardening, books, and art will continue through her loving spirit and will forever be an inspiration. The Oak Spring Garden Library will temporarily close to scholarly requests. We hope to return to normal scheduling by the 7th of April. You may continue to email or write and we look forward to helping with your educational endeavors.

We leave you with the following quote by Carl Jung, a friend of Mrs. Mellon:

“Life has always seemed to me like a plant that lives on its rhizome. Its true life is invisible, hidden in the rhizome. The part that appears above ground lasts only a single summer. Then it withers away—an ephemeral apparition. When we think of the unending growth and decay of life and civilizations, we cannot escape the impression of absolute nullity. Yet I have never lost a sense of something that lives and endures underneath the eternal flux. What we see is the blossom, which passes. The rhizome remains.”
― C.G. Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections, 1963

The Oak Spring Garden Library comprises Rachel Lambert Mellon's celebrated collection of rare books, manuscripts, works of art and artifacts relating to gardening, landscape design, horticulture, botany, natural history and travels. The Library is nestled in the foothills between the Blue Ridge Mountains and Bull Run Mountains near Upperville, Virginia. It was designed by Edward Larrabee Barnes in 1980 with a new wing designed by Thomas M. Beach in 1993, both in consultation with Rachel Mellon. The collection is a unique historical archive as well as a day-to-day working resource.

"These reflections of a lifetime interest are kept in a whitewashed building made of local stone, a gift from my husband Paul. It stands in an open field, wild flowers grow where they will, apple trees are espaliered to the east and west. Inside, the sun casts long, bright shadows across the room on to the white stone walls. These books about the outdoors live not in dusty darkness but behind simple, pale oak doors, easily opened to the world they tell about. Two large glass doors create an opening twelve feet square in the long wall, framing an ancient hackberry whose lacy branches are caught up in witches' brooms. Beyond this is a rolling landscape of grass and cornfields, outlined in native trees: dogwoods, willows, maples, and ashes."
Rachel Lambert Mellon, January 1989,
(Preface, An Oak Spring Sylva)

Among Rachel Mellon's own contributions to the art of gardening are the Rose Garden and Jacqueline Kennedy Garden at The White House in Washington, D.C. Her honors include the Officier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, the Royal Horticultural Society's Veitch Gold Medal, the Henry Shaw Award, and the American Horticultural Society Landscape Design Award, and she has been recognized for her assistance during the restoration of the Potager du Roi at Versailles.

See our Publications page where you can purchase all four of the Oak Spring Volumes.
Visit our Digitizing Project page to experience a special selection of our rare books and manuscripts.