The story behind the book
Through a grant from the Smithsonian’s Division of Horticulture Services I spent a year in Washington exploring the archives at the American History Museum, the Natural History Museum, as well as the Department of Agriculture. The focus of my work was to study the connection between marketing and the garden in nineteenth century America. I began by looking at seed and nursery catalogs from that time, and I never left them. I couldn’t get enough of the catalogs. I loved the language the writers used and the images, but especially what the catalogs taught us about gardening.
Nineteenth century Philadelphia nurseryman Thomas Meehan said in his magazine, Gardener’s Monthly in 1860: “To those anxious to know the rapid progress horticulture is making on the American continent, the catalogs of the nurserymen are very instructive.”
That is the story behind the book.