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Flowers Formed the Essence of the Victorian Garden

As I continue to explore what made the Victorian garden so special, a new book came to my attention.

Michael Weisham and Cristina Roig wrote the book called From a Victorian Garden: Creating the Romance of a Bygone Age Right in Your Own Backyard.  They write about the garden at British Columbia’s Point Ellice House, a Victorian house built in 1861, owned by the O’Reilly family for nearly a century.  You can still visit the house and garden today.

A central idea in the book is that flowers became an essential element in the Victorian garden, but not just any old flowers.

From a Victorian GardenWeisham and Roig said, “In the nineteenth century, garden styles, as with many other aspects of popular culture, followed distinct trends. This was especially true for flowers, probably the most hallowed element of the Victorian garden, which became the subject of one of the most radical swings in garden fashion ever witnessed.”

The names of some of the flowers you will recognize immediately. You probably grow them in your own garden.

The flowers that Weisham and Roig wrote about as esential were petunias, zinnias, and impatiens.  There are others, but don’t these sound familiar?

They wrote, “Seed catalogs [like that of the James Vick Company in Rochester,NY] and nurseries began actively promoting the use of bright annuals.”

The bright annuals, whether in borders, beds, or in containers, reflected the bold colors that Victorian gardeners loved.

We owe much to the impact of the Victorian garden because it still impacts the way we garden today.

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