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Landscape in 1865

In 1865 Boston financier and horticulturalist Horatio H. Hunnewell (1810 -1902) gave $2000 to the Massachusetts Horticulture Society  to encourage the art of landscape gardening.

[left: The Hunnewell Pinetum, a collection of evergreens, still stands today as a symbol of early 19th century gardening by H. H. Hunnewell, who created the Pinetum, much like the English had done before him.] 

Hunnewell said: “The laying out and planting of our country places are often the result of chance rather than any well-dedicated plan.”

Landscape gardening had developed into an art form in England by 1800 and seedsmen and nurserymen in this country tried to instill the ideals of that style in their catalogs.

Philadelphia nurseryman  Thomas Meehan wrote in his garden magazine of 1865 Gardener’s Monthly: “The art of Landscape Gardening deserves to be, and must be encouraged in this country. The reason of there now being so few good Landscape Gardeners here is the general neglect which they experience–let the art be appreciated as it should be, and men of ability will enter its ranks.”

Nineteenth century America was developing its own sense of horticultural identity.  The kind of landscape, especially in the suburbs, and in public parks like Central Park, would however follow the English model.

The nineteenth century seed and nursery catalogs embraced  the English garden style of picturesque and later the gardenesque, which included a lawn, flowerbeds, trees, and shrubs.

Though England provided the kind of landscape style we needed, the seedsmen and nurserymen convinced us of the importance of that style.  Meehan wrote in his magazine of 1865: “We all wish to see the public grounds of this country equal to those of Europe.”

America followed the English style of landscape and garden both on the property of  private homes and in public parks.

H. H.  Hunnewell contributed to the evolution of  America’s landscape gardening


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