The lawn is a gift of the English garden tradition from the eighteenth century. Early…
You can see from her book An Island Garden how nineteenth century New Hampshire poet Celia Thaxter (1835-1894) took pride in her garden of perennials and annuals on Appledore Island, a few miles off the coast. The garden reflected the Victorian style of the period with its focus on a stream of colorful flowers blooming throughout the summer.
Celia received some of her seeds from the Rochester, New York seedsman James Vick (1818-1882), who sent out several illustrated catalogs each year.
The following notice appeared in the Portsmouth Chronicle of January 4, 1881:“We have received ‘Vick’s Illustrated Floral Guide” for 1881. It is an elegant book of 126 pages, one colored flower plate, and 600 illustrations, with descriptions of the best flowers and vegetables and directions for growing. Of the many ‘guides’ and seed and plant catalogues sent out by our seedsmen and nurserymen, and that are doing so much to inform the people and beautify our country, none are so instructive as Vicks Floral Guide. Its paper is the choicest, its illustrations handsome enough for a gift book, or a place on the parlor table. Published by James Vick, Rochester, N.Y.”
Celia Thaxter wrote in one of her letters in 1882 how sad she was when she learned of Vick’s death. Like many of his customers, she also considered him much more than a seed pedler and more like a friend.
Vick’s business spread throughout the country, including a small island garden off the coast of New Hampshire.