The lawn is a gift of the English garden tradition from the eighteenth century. Early…
The Pittsburg seed company owner Benjamin A. Elliott gave a considerable amount of space in his seed catalog of 1888 to instructing the homeowner about the details of the landscape.
Elliott wrote: “ Our object is to show how the most beautiful garden can be made, and indicate the material to be used and the manner of arranging it, giving incidentally such cultural directions as our space will admit of.”
His discussion of landscape art was based on the ideas of the famous English garden writer William Robinson. Robinson, in his book The Wild Garden, reissued by Timber Press, had proposed hardy plants as an important feature in the landscape.
Elliott said, “We know that the writer [Robinson] has expressed in words what many of us who are interested in plants have experienced, and all who will give attention to the cultivation of hardy plants may enjoy sensations of pleasure never realized in the cultivation of the few sorts of tender plants that are usually planted by the thousands.”
The catalog encouraged the use of perennials over annuals, a theme Elliott borrowed form Robinson.
Elliott thus portrayed the English garden fashion as the model for the American gardener.