The question of advertising the garden continues to haunt me.
How is it that we covet the plants and garden products that become heavily advertised?
In some way advertising gives legitimacy to a product.
If it’s advertised, it must be good.
But more than that. The more advertising is connected to the product, the better it becomes.
Daniel Pope in his book The Making of Modern Advertising writes: “National advertising of manufactured, branded products was a nineteenth-century creation.”
We could, for the first time, promote a product around the country because people could buy national products at local stores but also at the new department store.
Products like oat meal and hand soap became brands like Quaker Oats and Ivory. People asked for the brand version of the product.
In 1906 Truman A. DeWeese wrote The Principles of Practical Publicity, an early volume on the success of advertising. He said, “”The manufacturer now creates a demand for the goods through advertising.”
Garden products, like seeds and plants. were no different. They were produced in mass quantities in greenhouses and nurseries around the country.
By the end of the nineteenth century the garden, illustrated in seed and nursery catalogs, had taken on the ‘brand’ of the English garden with its style of lawn, carpet beds, shrubs, and trees to line the property.
It was no surprise that suburban gardens from Maine to California took on that look.
Advertising sells products but also values, ideas, images, hopes, and dreams, both then, and still today.