It seems that the colorful caladium has become this summer's popular garden plant. A local…
Just finished a great book called Sunshine, Fruits and Flowers, an 1896 souvenir book, published by the San Jose Mercury newspaper, and reprinted in 1986 by the San Jose Historical Museum Association.
Black and white photographs from California in the late 1890s appear on almost every page.
In the book you will find the four pictures below. Top left shows the clothing department in the T W. Spring and Company store, located in San Jose. Top right is the store’s children’s department. The bottom two are window displays for the store.
What they show is how mass merchandising became essential in buying and selling cloths.
No surprise that the big seed houses and nurseries of that period published large colorful catalogs to sell their many seed and plant novelties as well the old standards.
The mass produced goods, available in the garden catalogs, included seeds, urns, and garden accessories.
By the 1890s a new age was emerging where people preferred goods that were mass produced because they enabled the consumer to feel more modern and up to date.
The garden industry had to compete to survive. No surprise that seed catalogs would offer dozens of varieties of one flower. The C. C. Morse and Company in Santa Clara overed more than ninety varieties of sweet pea.
By the 1890s advertising impacted American gardening. The modern age of consumerism had begun.