Lawn and Garden Month

Home landscaping wasn’t always standard practice.  Horticultural printer J. Horace McFarland pioneered the use of plants for landscaping in cities across America.  His photographs of gardens and lawns were used in early to mid- twentieth century nursery and seed trade catalogs.  These catalogs also show early gardening tools and implements, as seen in these examples from the Henry G. Gilbert Nursery and Seed Trade Catalog Collection.

National Pecan Day

(April 14)

A handful of toasty pecans – or a slice of sweet pecan pie – would make a fitting way to celebrate National Pecan Day on April 14.

The pecan tree is native to Mexico and the central and eastern United States.   Wild pecans provided a major food source for Native American tribes in these regions, who were probably the first cultivators of pecan trees. The pecan’s name reflects its ties to Native American culture – it comes from an Algonquin word meaning “nuts requiring a stone to crack.”

According to the National Pecan Shellers Association, there are over 1,000 varieties of pecans.  The United States produces about 80 percent of the world’s crop of these popular tree nuts.  The pecan tree is the state tree of Texas, although Georgia leads the nation in pecan production.  The city of Albany, in Dougherty County, Georgia claims the title of “pecan capital of the world” with more than 600,000 pecan trees. 


Georgia Department of Agriculture.  “Georgia Grown Pecans.” Accessed 25 March 2015:

National Pecan Shellers Association.  Accessed 25 March 2015:

United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN). Accessed 25 March 2015:

National Garlic Day

(April 19)

April 19 is National Garlic Day.  No one is sure why.  Of course you planted your garlic last fall, and if you are in a higher numbered Plant Hardiness Zone, your garlic will be sprouting by April 19. 

There is evidence that the ancient world (Babylonians 4500 years ago and China 2000 years ago) knew of and used cultivated garlic (Allium sativum) in its cuisine.  Recipes with garlic exist from the Ancient Greek and Roman worlds.  NAL Special Collections holds a 1541 copy of "Apicius" which is a medieval collection of recipes from the classical era.  Alium is an ingredient in a boiled dinner.  See if your Latin is good enough to figure out what other ingredients are thrown ("adicio") in:  Adicies in piper, mel, mentam, allium, coriandrum viridem, caseum bubulum, sale conditum, aquam, oleum. (Apicius, Liber IV, Miscellany)

Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day

(April 23)

Teaching children about agricultural careers is an important part of Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day.  In the past, instruction was given via 4-H clubs and hands-on farm experience.

Featured Collections

Collection NameNumberFinding Aid?
Historic Poster Collection 47 No
Elsie Carper Collection on Extension Service, Home Economics, and 4-H 56 Yes
USDA Bureau of Plant Industry Horticultural and Pomological Investigations Records 65 No
J. Horace McFarland Collection 102 Yes
Henry G. Gilbert Nursery and Seed Trade Catalog Collection 120 Yes
USDA History Collection 182 View Exhibit
USDA Pomological Watercolor Collection 184 View Exhibit
Lillian (Jean) Meyer Cookbook Collection 282 No

Calendar Page

April 2015 calendar page (24mb PDF). 8.5 x 11 and 11 x 17.