Victorian seedsman encouraged advertising.
New York seedsman Peter Henderson (1822-1890) wrote several popular garden books in the late nineteenth century.
He also believed in the power of advertising for his company.
In 1884 Philadelphia nurseryman Thomas Meehan included in his magazine Gardener’s Monthly a speech that Henderson had given that year at the Chicago Convention of Nurserymen. He quotes Henderson as saying, “Advertising is rapidly becoming a fine art, and the more it advances as a fine art, the more advertising will be done and the more profit will result from it.”
As a business, the seed industry had its share of competition. The amount of advertising sometimes distinguished one company from another.
For example, this chromolithograph cover [above] from Henderson’s seed catalog of 1885 promoted the company as modern and progressive, but still classic. The company promised to fill every need a gardener may have.
Meehan wrote the following in another issue of his magazine from that same year, “Perhaps in no other country is the press so liberally patronized by seedsmen, florists, and nurserymen as in the United States. In their advertising seasons, which cover most of the months of the year, we can rarely pick up a periodical that does not contain some of their advertisements.”
Henderson was not alone among his Brothers of the Spade, fellow garden merchants. He believed in advertising for any modern business to succeed, including the garden industry.