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New Book Review

Garden historian Judith Tankard just wrote a book review of my new book about James Vick called All about Flowers.

It appeared in the international quarterly garden journal Hortus.

I am including the review here as this week’s blog post.

Hope you enjoy it.


All About Flowers: James Vick’s Nineteenth-Century Seed Company (Ohio University Press, $26.95) by Thomas J. Mickey is a welcome addition to American horticultural history.

James Vick (1818-1882)

It is a well-researched account of the career of the American horticulturist, James Vick, who was known for his seed company and his many publications aimed at middle-class American gardeners.

Mickey, an expert on nineteenth-century American gardening and the author of another popular book, America’s Romance with the English Garden, has done a prodigious amount of research, not only on the American seed industry, but also horticultural journals.

A substantial library archive in Rochester, New York, allowed him to write this fascinating account of an important nineteenth-century author and seed merchant.

James Vick (1818–82) began his career in publishing, eventually specialising in illustrated horticultural journals.

One of his most popular publications was Vick’s Illustrated Monthly, which, according to Mickey, set the standard for the nation’s horticultural writing.

From this he branched out to a major seed company where he systemised production from growing to shipping.

Many of the plants that Vick promoted for home gardeners in the 1850s, such as pansies, petunias, marigolds and impatiens, are still popular in the superstores today.

This is the fascinating account of a long-forgotten, energetic man who single-handedly changed the face of American horticulture.

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