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Meehan’s Magazine of 1859 Encouraged the Gardenesque Landscape

Nineteenth century Philadelphia nurseryman Thomas Meehan (1826-1901) published his magazine The Gardener’s Monthly for over thirty years.

He filled the publication with stories about people and plants, but also included landscape ideas.

Meehan voiced his preference for a certain kind of landscape. In the page [below] from his magazine of 1859 he calls the article on the right “Design for a Small Garden.”

The black and white drawing showed the  house and the land around it, owned by Mr. A. C. Pracht, and located in Baltimore.

This plan included the lawn, flowerbeds, the kitchen garden, fruit trees, grape vines, but also a large collection of trees and shrubs, carefully placed within the front area of the property.

The owner who cultivated many varieties of plants, and wanting to show them off,  designed this kind of landscape, referred to as the gardenesque style, a word first used by English garden designer and writer John Claudius Loudon.

GM Vol 1, #7, July 1859
The Gardener’s Monthly, Volume 1, No. 7, July, 1859. [Courtesy of the book From Seed to Flower]
Readers of this magazine learned about gardening along with its newest styles and fashion.  In fact, you could trace the history of American horticulture by a careful review of this magazine over its decades of publication.

Meehan was also keen to let people know what was the best kind of landscape design.  In his view it was the English style, or at that time, the gardenesque which was a more natural design with a focus on showcasing certain plants in the landscape. He does that in this Pracht design for his collection of trees and shrubs.


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