Author Thomas Mickey will give an in person talk this evening about his new book called All About Flowers: James Vick’s Nineteenth Century Seed Company, in a program called “Victorian Flowers We Still Love,” Nineteenth century seed company owner James Vick (1818-1882) believed in being fair and honest with his customers. That ethical stance inspired his communication methods with his customers at a time when business owners thought “hype” was essential. Vick had been an editor and writer before his seed business. He wrote his catalog and monthly magazine with words inspired with what would most help his customers. The new book shown above, which will be discussed in this presentation, illustrates how Vick’s seed company influenced both gardeners and the kind of garden that became essential – the Victorian flower garden. The second half of the nineteenth century made possible a media-driven garden which included what it should look like, where it should be in the home landscape, and what plants ought to be in it. The seed catalogs, garden magazines, and horticultural papers of the day suggested the plant varieties and indicated where to plant them in the garden.
James Vick’s story has not been told yet, but he played a key role in gardens everywhere in this period of American history, whether of the wealthy, the middle class, the working class, or the city dweller. Mr. Vick – of Rochester, NY – grew seeds, dried them, packaged them, and shipped them around the country, well before Sears and Montgomery Ward sent out their first catalog. His list includes favorites like geranium, nasturtium, lobelia, dahlia, morning glory, and hollyhock, and they are among the Victorian flowers that remain our favorites today.
Professor Emeritus Mickey is retired from teaching in the Communications Studies program at Bridgewater State University, Bridgewater, MA, where he taught public relations writing and directed student interns. He is also a graduate of the Landscape Institute of Boston Architectural College. He is a Master Gardener and has been gardening for over 30 years. Prof. Mickey posts weekly on his blog americangardening.net and he is the former garden writer for Seacoast Media of New Hampshire’s seacoast and southern Maine newspapers. He is the author of three books about gardens and his title America’s Romance wih the English Garden was named “best garden book of the year” by the UK magazine Spectator. All About Flowers… was published by Ohio University Press in May 2021. Please join us if you love plants and enjoy gardening!
Advance registration is required here. (This will not be available via Zoom.) For questions, Email email@example.com This program is kindly sponsored by the Friends of the Milton Public Library and is free and open to all.
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