You may wonder how plants from other cultures made the journey to your garden. Robert…
Loudon befriended early American seedsman.
Writer and horticulturist John Claudius Loudon (1783-1843) influenced the development of the English garden during the first half of the nineteenth century. He is sometimes referred to as the ‘father of the English garden.’
In her book Loudon and the Landscape: From Country Seat to Metropolis Melanie Louise Simo wrote that Loudon and Thorburn enjoyed after dinner conversation together at Loudon’s home.
Thorburn sailed for America in 1794. He settled in New York where he established a seed company in 1802, one of the earliest in the country.
In its 1899 catalog the Thorburn Company [below] laid claim to its longevity as a reason for a customer to send in seed orders. The catalog said, “Our leading business principle has always been to supply only the very highest class of seeds. The fact that we have commanded the leading wholesale and market-gardeners’ trade of this country for nearly a century should justify our claim to the patronage of those who have not yet experienced the advantage of dealing with us.”
In his writing about the garden in the catalogue, Thorburn liberally quoted from English garden authorities, including the English garden ideas of his friend Loudon.
The Oregon State University website for its wondeful seed catalog collection says, “Thorburn quoted liberally from English gardening authorities including Loudon, but added his own notes on how plants performed in America.”
Through the words of his friend Loudon Thorborn proposed the English garden design to his American customers.