The lawn is a gift of the English garden tradition from the eighteenth century. Early…
American gardener, writer, and poet Eben E. Rexford (1848-1916) wrote a book called Four Seasons in the Garden in 1907 [below].
This is only one of many books he wrote about gardening. In this volume Rexford mentioned the lawn and buying lawn seed from seedsmen.
Rexford recommended following the advice of the seedsman in the amount of seed necessary to install a lawn.
He wrote: “It will be seen, in reading the catalogues of the seedsmen, that a thick sowing is advised. Some persons have told me that they believed this to be advice given with a view to selling a larger quantity of seed and they have accordingly ignored it and bought a smaller quantity than advised.”
That seems like a sound argument to buy less seed. After all, seed catalogs exist to sell seeds.
But then Rexford made a point that the reader could learn something from the gardening advice given in the catalogs.
He wrote: “The result is invariably unsatisfactory. You will be obliged to wait one or two years for a good sward if you sow your lawn thinly, but thick sowing will give you a very satisfactory sward for the first year, and a thick deep one the second season.”
It paid to heed the garden advice in the catalog.
Rexford recognized the value of the experience of the seedsman and encouraged the reader to heed advice that came from that experience.
He joined thousands of gardeners across the country who sought out the garden catalog for much more than simply products that the company sold.