Saturday, February 4, 2017

Regency Gardening - Bulbous Roots for Sale

At this time of year--with two months of winter left where I live--my thoughts turn to my garden. I pore over seed catalogues looking for new flowers to try, new bulbs to plant.

It seems that during the Regency, garden lovers had exactly the same desire to plan their gardens. In the late fall, the newspapers offered advertisements from seedsmen and nurseries for the latest in Dutch 'bulbous roots'.

Carlisle Patriot - Saturday 10 October 1818
Dublin Evening Post - Tuesday 12 October 1819
Public Ledger and Daily Advertiser - Monday 21 October 1816
The Tyne Mercury; Northumberland and Durham and Cumberland Gazette - Tuesday 29 October 1816
Bristol Mirror - Saturday 23 October 1819
In January, the Hull Packet posted the advertisement below. Several familiar plants are on the list--I have an amarillis [sic] blooming in my dining room right now! And martagon lilies are now enjoying a resurgence in popularity...
Hull Packet - Tuesday 17 January 1815
By March the seedsmen were advertising. If I had a garden in Regency times, I would hope to be able to purchase one or two packets of new, different seeds to supplement those I had collected and that I traded with my neighbours.
The Suffolk Chronicle;  or Weekly
General Advertiser & County Express
Saturday 02 March 1816
 By spring and early summer the flower shows were beginning and competition was keen.
Saunders's News-Letter Dublin - Monday 05 April 1819
The Globe - London - Friday 03 May 1811
Durham County Advertiser - Saturday 07 June 1817
There were many astonishing botanical artists practicing during the Regency era. The illustrations in this post are by Pierre Jean Francois Turpin, one of the greatest. He probably became known and appreciated in England after the end of the Napoleonic Wars.

I must go and make up my order for seeds now from my new catalogues. It is nice to know I am continuing a tradition that dates back well before the Regency era.

'Til next time,



British Newspaper Archive
Wikimedia Commons