Last week I had the pleasure of visiting a private garden on three acres, south…
In his magazine Gardener’s Monthly for February of 1866 Philadelphia nurseryman and writer Thomas Meehan said, “The four great classes into which America’s Horticulture divides itself are the Amateur, the landscape gardener, the vegetable and fruit growers for market, and the nurseryman and seed trade.”
Each of the four contributed to the state of nineteenth century horticulture.
The amateur meant the home gardener who grew flowers and vegetables.
On the other hand the landscape gardener cultivated the lawn, shrubs, and trees, much like the English had done for decades under the same name. The seedsman James Vick (1818-1882) illustrated a home landscape in the English style[ pictured above] in his 1878 magazine Illustrated Monthly. Vick often wrote about landscape gardening.
The market gardener grew fruits and vegetables to sell in the market, especially in the cities.
What struck me is that Meehan identifies a fourth group, the seed and nursery trade. This group of gardeners formed an important part of the development of nineteenth century horticulture. They were not just salesmen, but instrumental in enabling the landscape and garden of the city homeowner, the suburb, and the farm. They taught America how to garden. Meehan recognized that.