Nineteenth Century American Seed Companies Endorsed English Garden Writer William Robinson

It was no surprise that since garden writer William Robinson (1838-1935) was so important in England that he would also assume a role in the development of the American garden.

The Pittsburgh seed company owner Benjamin A. Elliott, who began his company in 1840, gave a considerable amount of space in his catalog to instruction for the homeowner about landscape.

This illustration of a Japanese anemone in Robinson's The Wild Garden appeared later in American seed catalogs.

This illustration of a Japanese anemone in Robinson’s The Wild Garden appeared later in American seed catalogs.

Elliott’s 1888 catalog, like Robinson’s book The Wild Garden, encouraged the use of perennials rather than annuals. Elliott thus portrayed an emerging English garden style as the model for the American gardener. He wrote, “We are indebted to this great champion of hardy flowers [Robinson] for some of the ideas advanced here, culled from his numerous works on gardening, which have done much to make English gardens what they are—the most beautiful in the world.”

Elliott recognized how much Robinson had contributed to the English garden.

American gardening would only be the better if Robinson’s ideas were put into practice.

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