Nineteenth Century California Gardens Looked like the East Coast

I have often written here how the garden style of the nineteenth century resembled the English garden.

Maureen Gilmer in her book Redwoods and Roses includes this image of a house in Nevada City, California, near the Nevada border. The time is right after the Gold Rush of the 1840s. The scene reminds me of a garden on the east coast.

A home in Nevada City just after the Gold Rush.

Mainly because of the marketing of seeds and plants through catalogues, magazines, and books that promoted this English garden style, we experienced a similar landscape across the country, even though the plants would be different.  Horticultural historian Denise Adams mentions that as well  in her book Restoring American Gardens.

Adams wrote: “Victorian gardens in California resembled gardens in the East, with emphasis on strategic placement of trees and curvilinear paths in the Downingesque mode, as well as implementation of the gaudy ribbon bedding style of brightly colored annuals.”

Advertising to a national audience was powerful in its reach clear across the country.  How strange it is that even in different garden climates gardeners wanted the same plants.

Comments

  1. It’s easy to get seduced by glamorous photos and visuals. I often want what I can’t have as I peruse catalogs and periodicals myself.

  2. I agree. Perhaps its the power of advertising at work.

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