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Modern Style of Planting Shrubs

This Weigela rosea [left]  bursts with spring color in my New England garden. The shrub variety came to America in 1848 from England where three years earlier plant hunter Robert Fortune had brought it from China. 

Walter Elder, a Philadelphia horticulturalist, wrote many articles in nurseryman Thomas Meehan’s popular magazine Gardener’s Monthly, published in the same city.

In the 1865 issue of GM, Elder wrote about landscape,” The modern is the most  admirable and ennobling mode of embellishing large grounds with flowering shrubbery, namely massing them in groups of various dimensions and forms. All sharp points are avoided; even at the junction of two roads or paths, sharp, projecting points are rounded and made blunt, if a group of shrubbery is to be planted there.”

He goes on, “Where there is a fine view in the distance to be seen from the mansion, it would not do to plant trees to hide it, but the lawn can be ornamented with groups of shrubs.”

And so seedsmen and nurserymen in their catalogs, books, and magazines taught America landscape principles. In this case they instruct gardeners on how to plant shrubs in the English picturesque or gardenesque manner.


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