Hovey Sought English Plants for American Gardens

Since the English garden provided the model for nineteenth century American gardening, it is no surprise that American seedsmen and nuserymen looked to England for new plants.

C. M. Hovey,nurseryman and writer, from Cambridge, Mass. said the new coleus from England would eventually find a spot in American gardens.

C. M. Hovey's Magazine of Horticulture, one of the longest running 19th century garden publications

He wrote in his Magazine of Horticulture of 1868 about the new hybrid coleus: “Since the introduction of Coleus Vershaffeltii, with its rich deep colored foliage, it has formed a prominent object for bedding purposes, especially in England, where the style of ribbon borders has extensively prevailed.  The introduction of another kind, called C. Veitchii, increased the taste of rich foliaged plants, and by the skill of the hybridizer, a great number of new sorts have been raised between these two, which seem to have attracted unusual attention, amounting almost to a furor for these plants. The successful grower of these hybrids was M. Bause, of the Chiswick garden, who has raised twelve of these seedlings… All of these, or a portion of them, will no doubt find their way into American collections.”

Nurserymen like Hovey recommended and sold English plants to their customers because the flower or leaf color of the plant variety were important for the English garden.

The same plants, they thought, would perform as well in an American garden.

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