I continue to read the great book English Garden Eccentrics. The main idea is that…
The nineteenth century seed companies and nurseries sold American gardeners the English garden.
That message appeared in the company catalogs, in garden magazines like Gardener’s Monthly, and books by landscape designers like Elias Long and Frank Scott.
The plant grower Monrovia now promotes the cottage garden in a new marketing campaign for its plants.
The cottage garden has a long tradition in the history of the English garden.
The English nurseryman and writer William Paul in his book The Hand-Book of Villa Gardening (1855) recommended the periodical Cottage Gardener, first published in 1850.
William Robinson (1838-1935) recognized that we could learn a great deal from the gardening skill of the cottage gardener. He wrote in his book The English Flower Garden: “Why should the cottage garden be a picture when the gentleman’s garden is not? The reason is that one sees plants and the vegetation not set out in any offensive geometrical or conventional plan.”
On its webpage simply alled Cottage Garden Monrovia writes, “The romantic English cottage garden is the ancestor of American country. Both were born in the spaces around ordinary homes filled with extraordinary flowers.”
The essentials of the cottage garden, described in detail, include the arbor gate, white lattice, containers, and, of course, old-fashioned plants like flowering shrubs, roses, lilacs, and trees like the magnolia. Flowers from perennials add a bit of color.
The tradition of recognizing the garden skill of the English continues.
Nurseries have always been at the forefront of telling their customers that the English garden is the model.
Philadelphia nurseryman Thomas Meehan wrote in the 1862 issue of his magazine Gardener’s Monthly: “All of our readers have heard of the excellence of English gardening.”
In 1862 Philadlephia