Nineteenth Century Green Industry Sold Us the English Garden

As I have written before on this blog, I like to use what I am currently reading for a new post .

Just picked up the book Grounds for Pleasure: Four Centuries of the American Garden by Denise Otis.  The book is the size of a coffee table volume, but full of fascinating history on the American garden.

Otis makes a point about the important role that nineteenth century seed companies and nurseries played in the development of horticulture in this country, as well as in the encouragment of certain landscape design principles.

She writes: “Early nineteenth century American seedsmen and nurserymen, recent immigrants and native-born alike, didn’t just sell trees and plants. They explained growing techniques and offered hints on design in their catalogues. They wrote books and magazine articles, and some started their own magazines. They were often leaders in forming the agricultural and horticultural societies dedicated to the improvement of farming and gardening that proliferated in the new republic. ”

The model for gardening and landscape design from the companies proved to be the English garden, with its signature lawn, and in the Victorian period, beds of flowers on that lawn.

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