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The Victorian Garden Appeared both in England and America

English garden historian Brent Elliott refers to gardening in nineteenth-century England simply as Victorian.

In his book Victorian Gardens he lists the major trends in the English garden during that period, many of which were often mentioned in nineteenth century American seed and nursery catalogs as well.


Elliott Victorian Gardens coverElliott’s book traces the following Victorian garden trends that appeared in England during the nineteenth century:

  • Natural landscape design
  • Lawn
  • Rock garden
  • Gravel parterres
  • Spring bedding
  • Dwarfed trees as bedding plants
  • Dutch topiary
  • Mixed border
  • Carpet bedding
  • Wild garden
  • Continual transplanting for constant color in the garden
  • Color in drifts
  • Sweet peas as the dominant vertical flower
  • Arts and crafts style, including rustic bridges, arbors, and pergolas

In 1860 Philadelphia nurseryman Thomas Meehan wrote in his magazine Gardener’s Monthly: “To those anxious to know the rapid progress horticulture is making on the American continent, the catalogues of the nurserymen are very instructive.”

Thus in their catalogs the owners of the seed companies and nurseries instructed the American gardener in the garden trends mentioned by Elliott from natural landscape design to the need for arbors and pergolas.  America embraced the Victorian garden in all its style and fashion.



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