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Nineteenth Century English Garden Writer William Robinson Encouraged Naturalizing of Plants

One of my favorite places to visit is the public garden Blithewold in Bristol, Rhode Island.

The property dates to the early twentieth century both in the architecture of the house and the extensive gardens.

Every spring the area under the trees  fills with daffodils that have now naturalized in that spot over the years.

The spring bulbs naturalize in the bosquet section of Blithewold.
The spring bulbs naturalize in the bosquet section of Blithewold.

The English horticulturist and writer William Robinson (1838-1935) proposed the idea of naturalizing for the gardener.  Alicia Amherst in her book A History of Gardening in England wrote in 1895: “The idea of naturalizing plants in shrubberies, grassy banks and wild places, is also a new departure of the late nineteenth century. Mr. W. Robinson, by his works, The Wild Garden and The English Flower Garden, has done more than any one to bring in this taste.”

Now that fall is approaching, and gardeners often think of planting spring bulbs, thoughts might also turn to creating an area where bulbs like daffodils can naturalize. You can have flowers return year after year, and expand in their spread as they reappear.

Today Robinson’s idea of naturalizing provides a truly beautiful display at Blithewold each spring.

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