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Nineteenth Century American Gardeners Needed Instruction on Lawn Maintenance

I am still on the West coast. This morning I am in Reno where I can see the lawn in many home landscapes around the city.

The lawn, according to English garden writer William Robinson (1838-1935), is the “heart of the English garden.”

American gardeners have always needed instruction on how to maintain a lawn.

Nineteenth century owners of seed companies and nurseries often wrote on the topic of lawn care in their catalogs, magazines, and books .

Philadelphia nurseryman Thomas Meehan wrote in the March 1861 issue of his magazine Gardener’s Monthly, “As soon as the frost is thoroughly out of the ground, and while the surface is yet soft, lawns should have a thorough rolling, which will not only tend to level the surface, but also press into the earth the roots of any of the fine grasses that the frost may have drawn out.”

The lawn at Filoli Gardens. Notice the sign "Keep off the Grass".
The lawn at Filoli Gardens. Notice the sign “Keep off the Grass”.

At the Filoli Gardens in Woodside, California, where I recently visited,  the lawn plays a central role throughout the gardens. In most cases it is surrounded by shrubs and borders of flowers.

Here on the West coast the lawn seems still to be important in gardens.

That means, of course, that people still need instruction on maintaining a lawn.

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