Last week I had the pleasure of visiting a private garden on three acres, south…
Though America was producing garden magazines and garden books in the late nineteenth century, English garden writers also had a wide audience among American gardeners.
Seed and nursery catalogs often recommended books by English horticulturists.
Philadelphia nurseryman Thomas Meehan wrote in 1884 that William Robinson’s book The English Flower Garden “should have a wide sale in our country.”
Robinson’s reputation as a both a horticulturist and writer put him in a class all his own. His name became synonymous with the latest thinking about gardening style and fashion.
The tradition of carpet bedding or intricate designs of annuals on the lawn, he considered a waste of resources, time, and energy. That had been the Victorian fashion for decades, but he rejected it.
Meehan wrote in his magazine: “We can cordially commend it [Robinson’s book] to American readers, as perhaps the most profitable floriculture work that has appeared for many a long day.”
And so the American garden industry proposed, once again, an English garden writer as the inspiration for American gardeners.