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New Orleans Gardeners Still Prefer the English Garden

A while back I attended the annual meeting of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers in New York. We saw many gardens that impressed us and heard lectures that inspired us.

In one lecture the speaker made this comment: “People in New Orleans wanted an English style garden.” I do not remember much of the context but it was in a contemporary setting where homeowners wanted that kind of landscape.

I came across this quote from that meeting recently and what struck me was that New Orleans gardeners preferred the same kind of garden in the nineteenth century.

Here is the cover of the 1899 catalog from  the Steckler Seed Company which was located in New Orleans on Gravier Street. [below]

[Photo courtesy of Smithsoian Seed Catalog Images]
[Photo courtesy of Smithsonian Seed Catalog Images]
Notice the cover garden design includes a  lawn, a curved pathway to the house, a circular flowerbed on the lawn, and trees to line the properly.  By the end of the nineteenth century these elements made up the classic English garden design.

So even though the Steckler Company owner Ms. Frotscher knew French garden design and probably Spanish, Dutch and Italian as well, she preferred to encourage the English garden style on her catalog cover.

Today there still remains this preference in New Orleans for the English garden.

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  1. I just love old seed catalog covers! I’ve been looking at Iowa seed and nursery catalogs from the 19th and early 20th centuries recently and they’re just fascinating. I’m also looking forward to reading more about southern gardens in Martha Turnbull’s garden diary, which my local library just notified me has arrived on ILL. Thanks again for recommending it. -Beth

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