“There is much in this sin-plagued world of ours; and, had we no flowers, I believe existence would be hard to be born.” So states a customer’s 1881 letter—one of thousands James Vick regularly received. Vick’s business, selling flower seeds through the mail from Rochester, NY, wasn’t unique, but it was wildly successful because he understood better than his rivals how to engage customers’ emotions. He sold the love of flowers along with the flower seeds. In his new history, All about Flowers: James Vick’s Nineteenth Century Seed Company, Thomas Mickey illustrates how Vick inspired gardeners everywhere with his passion for flower gardening, and created the modern flower garden as we know it today.
“Thomas Mickey has brought to life the work of nineteenth-century flower seedsman James Vick through historical documents, catalogs, customer testimonials and charming illustrations. In All about Flowers, Mickey reveals where our enduring love for flowers came from and examines the role flower gardening played in the Victorian era, particularly for women.”—Susan Mulvihill, Susan’s in the Garden
Thomas J. Mickey is Professor Emeritus of Communication Studies at Bridgewater State University, Bridgewater, Massachusetts. A graduate of the Boston Architectural College’s Landscape Institute, he is a Master Gardener and a garden columnist. His earlier books include America’s Romance with the English Garden and Best Garden Plants for New England.