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Nineteenth Century Seed Company and Nursery Owners Inspired Gardeners

      At the moment I am researching nineteenth  century English middle class landscapes.
     In that process I found this quote  from English garden historian Jane Brown in her book The Pursuit of Paradise: A Social History of Gardens and Gardening:  “It is suggested that the Victorians [1840-1900] prized their lawns in imitation of the lords in their landscape parks, but the velvet green is a much older icon: what is certain is that the seedsmen and gardeners of late nineteenth-century Britain brought lawns to the peak of their perfection.”
     The same thing was happening here in the suburbs where middle class Americans could finally cultivate a lawn just like the estate owners had done for decades, thanks to the marketing of the seed companies.
     Rochester seedsman James Vick (1818-1882) inspired gardeners in his seed catalog of 1873. He wrote: “Man may be refined and happy without a garden; he may even have a home of taste, I suppose, without a tree, or shrub, or flower; yet, when the Creator wished to prepare a proper home for man, pure in all his taste and made in His own image, He planted a garden and placed this noblest specimen of creative power in it to dress and keep it.”
     Vick then presented the reader with instructions on how to  landscape a home. The vehicle for that instruction was the modern seed catalog, illustrated and printed by the hundreds, and delivered by rail and post across the country.
From Pinterest
Thanks to Pinterest I found this wonderful Henderson catalog cover of 1901.

He  announced that his readers could learn about gardening and landscape from the catalog.

In a similar theme the beautiful cover of New York seedsman Peter Henderson’s catalog of 1901 [left] illustrated the kind of landscape important for the middle class home, the Romantic English garden style with its lawn.

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