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Head Gardener John Fleming Started the Victorian Carpet Bedding Craze

While searching for material on the Victorian garden, I came across a blog published by Indiana Public Radio called Focus on Flowers.

There I read an article entitled “Head Gardeners of Victorian Era England” written by Moya Andrews.

The blog included this  photo [below] which caught my eye at once. I just had to feature it here on the AG blog.

The article points out that in 1853 English Head Gardener John Fleming invented the gardening practice of “carpet bedding” that is still used today in many gardens throughout the world.

Photo: denvilles duo
Carpet bedding still appears in gardens everywhere. [Photo: denvilles duo]
Head gardeners wrote for the popular magazine called Gardener’s Chronicle and often started trends.

Andrews writes, “For example, Donald Beaton used masses of red geraniums and created ‘ribbon bedding’ to edge stone stairs and paths. John Fleming created the Duchess of Sutherland’s monogram by clipping plants to resemble a Turkish carpet and the term ‘carpet bedding‘ was coined.”

Of course, here in America, seed and nursery catalogs regularly wrote about the importance of carpet bedding.

In 1883 New York seedsman Peter Henderson wrote, “The carpet style, so called, consists of using plants that can be kept down to a few inches above the lawn…This style of bedding requires an immense number of plants. One bed in the carpet style at Battersea Park, containing less than 1,000 square feet, required 4,000 plants to produce the desired effect in the design, and not a leaf of these was more  than six inches above the lawn.”

No surprise that American gardeners around the country included carpet bedding, the latest garden fashion, imported from England.




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This Post Has 2 Comments

    1. Pam, the American version of carpet bedding became even elaborate than England’s by the last decade of the nineteenth century. You can still see examples of carpet bedding in public gardens as well as private. Best.

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