“Nursery catalogues sell more than seeds and plants; they also sell dreams and aspirations…. Mickey has thoughtfully woven together an American landscape design history with a critical examination of how commercial interests and mass media shape our preferences, even in our humble backyards.”
“This is an illuminating book packed with very readable results of dedicated and thoughtful research. It helps give a greater understanding of how and why English garden style has been admired in North America for such a long time.”
“Mickey convincingly demonstrates how catalog companies used advances in color printing, rural postal service, and railroad networks to reach a mass audience, uniformly promote the English ideal, and create demand for their own products. Thoroughly researched and footnoted, the book includes examples from powerful and enduring catalogs such as Burpee's but also from lesser-known and regional seed companies, including some from the burgeoning West.”
“In his wonderfully enlightening book, Thomas J. Mickey describes how the garden of this early period in this country became a cultural symbol for the American middle class. Also this period of our history was when our fascination with expanses of green lawn originated. If you read America’s Romance with the English Garden, you will be glad that you did. Better still, you could share it with a fellow gardening Anglophile.”
Focus on Flowers, Indiana Public Media
Named one of “the year's best gardening books” by The Spectator (UK, Nov. 2014)
The 1890s saw a revolution in advertising. Cheap paper, faster printing, rural mail delivery, railroad shipping, and chromolithography combined to pave the way for the first modern, mass-produced catalogs. The most prominent of these, reaching American households by the thousands, were seed and nursery catalogs with beautiful pictures of middle-class homes surrounded by sprawling lawns, exotic plants, and the latest garden accessories—in other words, the quintessential English-style garden.
America’s Romance with the English Garden is the story of tastemakers and homemakers, of savvy businessmen and a growing American middle class eager to buy their products. It’s also the story of the beginnings of the modern garden industry, which seduced the masses with its images and fixed the English garden in the mind of the American consumer. Seed and nursery catalogs delivered aspirational images to front doorsteps from California to Maine, and the English garden became the look of America.
Thomas J. Mickey is Professor Emeritus of Communication Studies at Bridgewater State University, Bridgewater, Massachusetts. He is a graduate of Boston University, the University of Iowa, and the Landscape Institute at the Boston Architectural College, and has been a garden columnist for the Brockton Enterprise, Quincy Patriot Ledger, and Portsmouth, New Hampshire’s Seacoast Media. His other books include Best Garden Plants for New England (with Alison Beck, 2006), Deconstructing Public Relations (2003), and Sociodrama: An Interpretive Theory for the Practice of Public Relations (1995). More info →
Save 20% ($21.56)
US and Canada only
Availability and price vary according to vendor.
Permission to reprint
Permission to photocopy or include in a course pack via Copyright Clearance Center
The Midwestern Native Garden offers Midwestern gardeners and landscapers—amateurs and professionals—a comprehensive selection of noninvasive regional native wildflowers and plants to replace or complement popular nonnative species.
The Brown Goose, the White Case Knife, Ora’s Speckled Bean, Radiator Charlie’s Mortgage Lifter — these are just a few of the heirloom fruits and vegetables you’ll encounter in Bill Best’s remarkable history of seed saving and the people who preserve both unique flavors and the Appalachian culture associated with them.
Landscaping with Trees in the Midwest: A Guide for Residential and Commercial Properties describes sixty-five desirable tree species, their characteristics, and their uses. More than 325 color photographs illustrate the appearance of each species through the seasons—including height, shape, bark, flowers, and fall colors—as well as other factors that influence selection and siting in order to help the landscape professional or homeowner make informed choices.
Gardeners of today take for granted the many varieties of geraniums, narcissi, marigolds, roses, and other beloved flowers for their gardens. Few give any thought at all to how this incredible abundance came to be or to the people who spent a good part of their lives creating it. These breeders once had prosperous businesses and were important figures in their communities but are only memories now. They also could be cranky and quirky.