Our native sunflower is one of my favorite flowers. It comprises the genus Helianthus, which…
Victorian home landscape demanded flowerbeds.
Flowers for a home landscape of any size were important in the late nineteenth century.
Rochester, New York seedsman James Vick (1818-1882) wrote that farmers, laborers as well the middle class, anyone, could plant flowers to enjoy. Flowerbeds belonged not only to the garden of the estate owner.
He made promoting floriculture his life-long goal in his business.
In many ways Vick followed the practices of other seed merchants. His appeal to sell flowers, particularly to women, was what other companies were also doing at that same time.
Seedsman Azell Bowditch from Boston, for example, wrote in his catalog: “We shall endeavor to keep pace with the ‘Flowery Age’ in which we live, and hope to be able, by attention and care, to supply our patrons with all the valuable varieties of seeds that can be obtained at any other seed establishment in the Union.”
In this illustration from Vick’s 1874 seed catalog you see a family outside their home, enjoying the outdoors. [below]
On the lawn near the house the owner planted flowerbeds, or, as they called then, carpet beds.
Annuals filled three lage beds to bring color to the landscape.
This image introduced Vick’s annual seeds in the catalog.
Thus he illustrated for his customers what the home landcape could look like with beds of colorful flowers.