I continue to read the great book English Garden Eccentrics. The main idea is that…
Advertising begins with knowing what values might the company connect to the product so that a customer can identify more easily with the message in the ad.
A customer does not want a product or service unless it enables him/her to feel more a part of the culture, i.e. more loved, more wanted, more desired, simply by buying the product.
That kind of advertising began to emerge in America in the late 1880s with the publication of magazines like Ladies Home Journal.
Advertising then became not just information to the consumer as earlier ads had done, but a way to create a market for a product or service.
The seed and nursery industries followed the new emerging kind of advertising, creating desires and hopes through identifying seeds and plants with a garden and landscape style that appealed to values important to middle class America like family, home, and children.
The seed and nursery catalogs included more pages and illustrations so that the catalog could convince the customer that a certain kind of garden, lawn, and landscape would assure middle class status. Images of the ideal home garden and landscape appeared in the pages of the catalog.
The illustration on this Peter Henderson cover of 1892 depicted the kind of home landscape every middle class gardener needed: an extensive lawn, trees, shrubs, a cold frame for the all important annuals, and flower beds.
The popular carpet beds on the lawn expressed the gardenesque style, first introduced in the early part of the century by English writer and horticulturalist J. C. Loudon. Victorian England, as well as America, followed the gardenesque style of landscape.
With the latest in printing and illustrations the seed and nursery catalogs continued throughout the nineteenth century to promote the English garden style to American gardeners.
Advertising such as a seed catalog both reflected and created cultural values, like what kind of garden and landscape a middle class homeowner needed.