Garden historian Beth Cody is the author of Iowa Gardens of the Past: Lost & Historic Gardens of Iowa, 1850–1980 (2020); Quarters One Gardens, Rock Island Arsenal (2021); and T.R. Otsuka: Japanese Landscape Artist in the American Midwest (2023).
Beth’s focus is Midwestern garden history; she is fascinated by vintage garden photos and postcards. She is also interested in economic history and entrepreneurialism and how they relate to gardening.
She has a Master’s degree in International Finance from Brandeis University; a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and Asian Languages & Literature (Chinese) from the University of Iowa; and a Bachelor of Music (flute) degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music. She lived in Beijing, China for two semesters in 1995 and 1997.
Born and raised in Ames, Iowa, Beth has lived in the Iowa City area for more than twenty-five years, and has been an avid amateur gardener on her five-acre rural property for the past decade. She occasionally writes a garden blog at gardenfancy.blogspot.com and is interested in formal gardens, Japanese rock gardens, scented flowers, tropical and exotic plants, Islamic paradise gardens and garden history. She is a volunteer with Project GREEN, which raises money to beautify public spaces in the Iowa City area.
Beth lives in a 95-year-old farmhouse in Amish country with her husband, two children and 700 garden books. She makes a living as a small business owner when she is not gardening, collecting garden books and images, or researching and writing about garden history.
Contact Beth for more information about her books or other questions.