Last week I had the pleasure of visiting a private garden on three acres, south…
Who doesn’t love flowers?
The book The Rescue of an Old Place tells the story of restoring a house and its garden in the late nineteenth century.
The location is Hingham, Massachusetts, a New England seacoast town.
The author Mary Caroline Robbins shows little tolerance for those who would doubt America’s love of flowers.
She writes, “While we and our neighbors are doing our best to stock our grounds with ornamental shrubs and blossoms, it is discouraging to be told by some of our periodicals, which are probably edited by gentlemen who live chiefly in towns, that Americans do not love flowers, because they are used among the rich and fashionable in reckless profusion, for display rather than enjoyment.”
The book traces her journey to restore the flower gardens on the seacoast property she and her husband had purchased.
She says, “I wish that our urban critics could walk through this ancient town, and be introduced to its flower lovers, and get a glimpse of its interesting gardens, before they make up their minds so positively about the tendencies of our people.”
Loving flowers – basic to human nature
“The flower-dealers of the country” she says “need have no apprehension as to the future of their industry. It is based on one of the elementary wants of our nature. Flowers will be loved until the constitution of the human mind is radically changed.”
She writes about the popular flower California poppy. [below]
She says, “The State flower of California was introduced to the children of that commonwealth as the Eschscholtzia before they could spell it, but this does now prove any lack of love or admiration for it on their part.
Nineteenth century Rochester, New York seed company owner James Vick (1818-1882) loved flowers.
He wrote these words about California’s poppy in his magazine Vick’s Illustrated Monthly in 1878:
“The Eschoscholtzia Californica, as its name indicates, is a native of California. We have seen it in Europe grown by the acre for supplying the world with its seeds, but no where so gorgeous as in its native home.“
Because of his own passion for flowers Vick tirelessly encouaged growing them in the garden.
Like Vick, Mary Caroline Robbins thought flowers were an essential part of any garden.