The lawn is a gift of the English garden tradition from the eighteenth century. Early…
Atlanta garden includes English greenhouse.
I attended the Association for Garden Communicators annual meeting in Atlanta a few weeks ago.
We visited several gardens as part of the busy schedule we kept.
One garden featured a greenhouse, designed and installed by the English firm Hartley Botanic, purveyor of greenhouses, and approved by the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew. [below]
What struck me immediately was how association with the word ‘English’ in this case makes this greenhouse somehow special.
The choice of an English greenhouse certainly highlights the English workmanship of a greenhouse, but also the history of gardening in England which included a greenhouse tradition.
Wealthy English plant collectors in the eighteenth century built conservatories or what we call greenhouses to protect their tropical plants.
By mid nineteenth century when glass became cheaper, greenhouses also appealed to the English middle class gardener.
Ninteenth century American seed and nursery catalogs listed plants that could overwinter in such a greenhouse.
Rochester, New York seedsman James Vick (1818-1882) wrote in his magazine Vick’s Illustrated Monthly in July 1879, “With the increase of wealth comes a demand for glass structures of some kind, in which the operations of gardening, in its lighter and ornamental branches, can be pursued at all seasons of the year – regardless of winter’s blasts and storms and summer’s fiercer rays and droughts.”
This Atlanta garden represents the English garden style still relevant, important, and in some sense, the model for American greenhouse gardening.
We continue to look to the English to teach us about gardening.
In 1884 Buffalo, New York landscape designer Elias Long wrote in his book Ornamental Gardening for Americans, “The English possess a much greater love for, and knowledge of, everything pertaining to gardening than do Americans.”