As Nineteenth Century American Home Ownership Spread, A Growing Number of Nurseries Supplied Plants

You sometimes wonder where your ideas for gardening come from  We know that marketing and advertising materials tell us a lot about what to buy for the garden.

That happened especially after the rise of mass advertising in the late nineteenth century

In the late 1900s The Florists’ Exchange emerged as a weekly trade journal  of “interchange for florists, nurserymen, seedsmen and the trade in general.”

The Rawson Company seed catalog of 1897.

The Florists’ Exchange of 1895 wrote: “A careful investigation in various lines and a direct report from the nurserymen themselves, show that, as any one section of our country becomes more thoroughly developed, cultured, and refined, that section becomes an increasing buyer for the productions of the nursery.”

So as the country expanded into towns and suburbs, and even new subdivisions, the nursery industry grew to sell trees, shrubs, perennials, and annuals, and, of course, grass seed.

Notice in the cover of the 1897 Rawson seed catalog [above] the garden design resembled the English style popular at the end of the nineteenth century, including a lawn with its flowerbed of annuals in the center.

Though the seed companies and nurseries sold plants, they also sold an ideal, the English garden fashion, to a growing number of American gardeners with a new home and eager to design the landscape.

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