The lawn is a gift of the English garden tradition from the eighteenth century. Early…
The Victorian period in the nineteenth century included carpet beds and ribbon beds, made up of colorful annuals, which often appeared on the lawn in various shapes.
William Webster was a popular Rochester,New York landscape gardener or designer. In the 1875 issue of Philadelphia nurseryman Thomas Meehan’s Gardener’s Monthly, these words appear about Webster: “He has already achieved considerable eminence in his profession, and is known in connection with some of the famous gardens of our country.”
In the same issue of GM appeared a landscape plan by Webster for a property in Skeneaies, New York. Notice the star shaped flower beds in the plan in the upper right section.
Of course annuals, many from tropical climates, made up many of the plant choices in the beds.
Denise Otis too in Grounds for Pleasure writes about the star design on the lawn: “By the 1880s circles or stars packed with precise rows of brightly colored blossoms for foliage–coleus and alternanthera were great favorites–decorated the front yards of farmhouses and city bungalows and erupted from the lawns of the private estates and public parks.”
American readers, who followed the recommendations of nurseryman Meehan and landscape designer Webster, would garden in the popular English style of Victorian design which lasted almost til the end of the century.