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Victorian Garden Fashion Included a Banana Plant

New plants have always been fashionable in the garden.

The nineteenth century was no exception.

When plant explorers to Africa, Asia, and South America brought back new plants, sometimes tropical, it was not unusual for them to appear in the gardens of England, and then America.


The Dreer catalog of 1888 included this image of a banana in a landscape.

The Deer catalog  [above] promoted the Victorian landscape fashion, with carpet beds on the lawn, but also the new Musa plant, or tropical banana.

Musa  ensete, in the words of the catalog “the noblest of all plants”, became the latest fad.  The catalog said, “During the hot summer, when planted out, it grows rapidly, and attains gigantic proportions, producing a tropical effect on the lawn, terrace, or flower garden.”

In the late nineteenth century the gardens of both England and America displayed the new banana plant.

What are your favorite new plants?

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