In the nineteenth century magazines became a popular media form to reach a specific audience. Garden magazines appeared to reach the emerging middle class, first in England and then in America.
In 1826 England’s garden writer and landscape designer John Claudius Loudon began his publication Gardener’s Magazine, the first periodical devoted solely to horticulture. A few years later in 1835 the Boston horticulturist Charles Mason Hovey launched his garden magazine called Magazine of Horticulture which he edited until 1868. Hovey designed both the content and the layout to resemble that of Loudon’s in England.
Another early magazine editor Thomas Meehan in Phildelphia rcognized his own role as a nurseryman in American garden magazine history.
Meehan edited his garden periodical called Gardener’s Monthly from 1859 to 1888. Perhaps unable to leave the editor’s desk, he began Meehan’s Monthly in 1891.
Meehan wrote in Volume III of his magazine in 1861, “With the exception, perhaps, of the London Gardener’s Chronicle, we believe we have a circulation greater than any purely horticultural journal in the world.”
There certainly were no methods to tabulate circulation at that time, so Meehan’s boast may or may not have rung true.
But the fact that he edited a garden publication for so long ought not go unnoticed. His monthly managing of a garden publication proved no easy task. He, like Loudon and Hovey, depended on correspondents who regularly contributed articles and notes to each issue.
But his persistence in seeing the magazine through for almost thirty years surely deserves recognition.
Like fellow nurseryman Hovey, Meehan ought to be recognized as a pioneer in the American garden magazine industry.