I continue to read the great book English Garden Eccentrics. The main idea is that…
A book that I am currently reading is by Margaret Willes, called The Making of the English Gardener: Plants, Books, and Inspiration 1560-1660.
The main idea is the influence of words and images in garden publications from the sixteenth century. These books trace the history of plants for a garden that we have grown to love.
She writes that at that time the garden emerged as we know it, a collection of plants chosen for their aesthetic look rather than as medicine or a kitchen herb.
It is a bit of history and gardening, but mostly about garden writers and artists of gardens in the sixteenth century. It is then that the art of collecting plants really became popular.
Online Catalog of New Plants
It so happens that in the last couple of weeks I received the Monrovia online catalog of their new plants for 2023.
Here is one such plant, the new helianthus called ‘SunBelievable Brown-eyed Girl’. [below] A beautiful plant!
The catalog says “We’ve been very selective about annuals we choose to grow because our customer trusts that they’ll be special.”
Monrovia is careful in choosing the newest plants to sell.
The team at Monrovia also write that, “We work with breeders fron around the world – The Netherlands, France, the UK, Italy, Israel and the U.S. as well as at universities around the country.”
It’s clear that Monrovia wants to offer a plant that features what the consumer wants.
That list of gardener desires would include “longer blooming, disease resistance, unique color, compact form, larger flowers, lower maintenance, naturally well-behaved habit, unique foliage, and pollinator friendly.”
A tall order.
But then I remember a quote from Willes’s book.
She writes about botanist Carol Clusius (1526-1609). He was responsible for the cultivation of a number of plants, new to Europe, including the tulip, potato, and horse chestnut.
She says, “Clusius found irksome the increasing commercialization of the flower trade, particularly the dealing in tulips.”
People have been in search of the ‘perfect’ plant for the garden for many centuries.
And so we are today.