Nineteenth Century Garden: First Mass Media Inspired Garden

[left: An ad for the Dreer Garden Calendar appeared in newspapers of the 1880s.] 

 

The nineteenth century seed and nursery industries early on recognized the important role of the newspaper for their business.  Cheap daily newspapers covered the country after the 1830s.

Rochester seedsman James Vick wrote in his catalog of 1874: “The influence of the press for good or evil is great in all civilized countries, but greater in America than in any other, because here everybody reads and takes the papers. The editors of newspapers sometimes give nurserymen and seedsmen a good deal of trouble. They are so anxious to furnish their readers the news, that if, by any chance, a report gets into any paper of a new shrub, or flower, or tree, it is copied into nearly all the papers of the country, causing a demand which it is impossible to supply.”

The newspapers were truly the first mass medium of communication for the country, enabling for the first time a mass media produced garden and landscape.

The nineteenth century gardener who read about a plant in a newspaper or magazine had to have it.

Today seed companies and nurseries use social media.

We continue to live in a culture in which the media drive our values, ideas, and fashion, even in gardening and landscape

 

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