Vintage botanical deliciousness

Regular readers (hello you lovely people) will know I have a penchant for vintage prints and a love of gardening.

So, it’s perhaps a little surprising that I have only recently discovered the plethora of stunning vintage botanical illustrations that are available out there for free on the internet. (And by free, I mean both free to download and copyright free for use as well. Which is juuuust what I like…)

While I was busy learning about all sorts of plants for my recent horticulture exams, I put together a huge board on Pinterest (Plants, plants, plants) with hundreds of pictures of trees, flowers, shrubs and so on. And while I was busy searching for photos, I kept stumbling across stunning illustrations.

Here are a few of my favourites.

Vintage poppy image

This glorious red corn poppy is from website which has a huge range of gorgeous images and information on herbal plants.

Foxglove vintage image
From wikipedia

Wikipedia has loads of amazing scientific images for all sorts of plants, like this foxglove. The illustrations are all taken from a book called Koehler’s Medizinal Pflanzen (that even my shonky German can translate to Koehler’s medicinal plants) and there are some real beauties in there. You can find the whole book online at (along with hundreds of others too…) To look at the illustrations, scroll through the box on the left marked “Pages” and click on anything called a Plate. It’s not the easiest site to use, but it’s worth the time for the wonderful images…

Fern vintage image
From the Graphics Fairy

To steal a line from Zoolander, I’ve noticed that vintage fern images are so hot right now… I’ve seen photos popping up all over Pinterest (like this, for example) of gorgeous sitting rooms decorated with old fern prints. I love the look a lot so perhaps I’ll get in on the action myself when our house is finally ready for decorating…

This image is from the Graphics Fairy website, always my first port of call when I’m after a vintage pic.

Dandelion vintage engraving
From Vintage Printable

I’ll grant you, a dandelion’s not your typical appealing flower, but there is something really delightful about this engraving. It’s from Vintage Printable, another great place for a browse if you’re after copyright free images. If I had an orangery, I think I would decorate it with lots of old drawings of weeds, just like this. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

Mayflower vintage illustration
From Vintage ephemera

Finally, I couldn’t resist the glorious reds in this old illustration of a Mayflower (not a plant I’ve ever heard of, though a quick Google of its Latin name tells me it is a hawthorn that is prevalent in the Midlands…) The blossoms look utterly beautiful too, don’t they?

This one is from Vintage Ephemera, which is a blog that’s new to me, but one I shall certainly peruse further.

Now, I’m just wondering what to do with them. Any suggestions?

Related articles:

  • I pin most of my favourite vintage graphic finds to my Pinterest board Free graphics
  • And for a taste of some of the things I’ve made with vintage images in the past take a look at my vintage image category

3 thoughts on “Vintage botanical deliciousness

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