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Strange that Few Gardeners Had Herbaceous Borders in the 19th Century

Today we accept the perennial bed as a mainstay in our gardens.

In the nineteenth century it was not as common.

Philadelphia nurseryman Thomas Meehan wrote in the 1886 issue of his magazine Gardener’s Monthly, “Those who desire to thoroughly enjoy flowers, will have a rich treat in the herbaceous border. It is a surprise that so few have this adjunct to the garden. From early spring to winter there is a continuous succession of flowers.”

Black-eyed Susan, rudbeckia hirta, from my garden. One of my favorites.


The English garden included perennials that came from America.

It would be decades however before such plants were accepted in our gardens.

One example is Rudbeckia hirta, black-eyed Susan, which English travelers to America brought back home in 1714.

By the end of the nineteenth century it was finally considered  a valuable plant here for American gardeners.

After that the plant appeared in seed and nursery catalogs.

Rudbeckia could then become part of the herbaceous border that was finally catching on in America as well.

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