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Rough Road for American Horticulture

I love to read old garden magazines.

You learn a lot about the growth of the garden inustry but also how horticulture developed.

Americans were once considered unable to handle the difficultires embroiled in horticulture.

Of course, it was the English who thought that.

Perhaps not only the English.

In March of 1862 Thomas Meehan from Philadelphia wrote of the state of American hortiuculture in his garden magazine The Gardener’s Monthly.

1866 issue of Thomas Meehan’s Gardener’s Monthly

He said, “All of our readers have heard of the excellence of English gardening. All of this has been brought about within the past fifty years, and mainly through the influence of the Horticultural Society of London.”

Then he credits all of it to the superb garden writing among the English.

He writes, “True, English horticultural literature generally receives the credit; but it was the Society that made horticulture fashionable, and fashion found the readers.”

It was of course the fashion and taste of the English that inspired America as well.

Meehan wrote, “In 1805, Mr. Thomas Andrew and Sir Joseph Banks laid the foundation of the Horticultural Society and horticultural journals have had an increasing and an astonishing influence.”

Influence both in England and in America.

Meehan tells a story about the origin of his own garden magazine which be began in 1859.

He says, “When we commenced the Gardener’s Monthly, we found our Horticulture, and the sciences connected therewith, in very low standing before the refined communities of the world.

“It is about a very few years ago that one of our best horticulturists, visiting London, was introduced to the editor of one of the leading journals there, as Mr. ___, the well-known American Horticulturist.

“The remark made in reply was – or was to the effect, for we forget the exact words –American Horticulturist? What has America to do with Horticulture?”

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