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Suburban Gardening Launched in the 1870s

In the nineteenth century American homeowners took to gardening with the rise of the suburbs.

Before that, most people lived on farms and were concerned mainly with growing food for the table.

With industrialization after 1870 American gardening also took on current fads and fashion in gardening.

Summer House in Vick's
Summerhouse in the 1880 catalog Vick’s Floral Guide

The book The Art of Gardening: Maryland Landscapes and the American Garden Aesthetic 1730-1930 said: “”After the 1870s, suburban gardening was the trend of the day. Affluence and leisure time now allowed more homeowners a chance to travel and bring home ideas from England, France, and Italy…There were still drying yards, orchards, vegetable and herb gardens, but they were hidden to the rear of the site. Up front for public view were the fashionable bedding designs, garden furnishings, arbors, and summerhouses for leisure outdoor pleasures, both active and passive.”

Around that time Rochester seedsman James Vick included in his seed catalog an illustration of a summerhouse. [above]

The Art of Gardening said, “Homeowners copied the designs and styles of gardening presented by the tastemakers in the new suburban landscape [who included] James Vick from Rochester.”

Ever the keen businessman, Vick wanted to let his readers know the latest in American gardening trends.

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