Last week I had the pleasure of visiting a private garden on three acres, south…
Late nineteenth century magazines, like Ladies Home Journal, enjoyed a readership across the country.
Advertising in its pages also had a national reach which was what any modern business wanted more than anything else.
The result was that LHJ became a business success through its advertising revenue, not its subscriptions. That had never happened with any publication before that time. Subscriptions drove any mass media form like a newspaper or magazine.
Philadelphia nurseryman Thomas Meehan boasted in the March 1886 issue of his magazine Gardener ‘s Monthly that he could count among his readers gardeners from coast to coast. He wrote: “We never forget that our readers extend from the St. Lawrence to the Gulf of Mexico, and that the same number which is delighting someone in Lower California, is being eagerly scanned by someone in Massachusetts or Maine.”
To take advantage of his national readership Meehan could advertize a variety of garden products.
The time when a seed or nursery business appealed to a local customer base was long gone by the 1880s.
To reach a national audience was the way any business sought to grow. The garden industry was no different.
The result was mass production of seeds and plants. Dozens of varieties of plants like coleus and sweet pea appeared.
More inventory for the company meant of course more pages and illustrations in the catalogs. It was the birth of the modern garden industry.