All About Flowers James Vick’s Nineteenth-Century Seed Company by Thomas J. Mickey should be considered a floral love story. This book shares the story of the man, his passion, and how he sowed seeds to build his community.
Victorian Flowers of all types have played a role in my garden life. My Dad admired them and well…the blossom does not fall too far from the stem. They evoke emotion and are just timelessly beautiful. From tulips, carnations, roses, and more, Victorian flowers have been a part of our lives for quite some time. With beginnings as an aficionado of the written word, James Vick, a writer, used that experience and created a career in horticulture. In today’s world, James Vick would be considered a Master Marketer. Known for his publications, such as Vick’s Floral Guide, you could say he was one of the first Horticultural Influencers. I would say he was a man before his time. This man has a story and the world needs to be made aware that many times, heroes do not wear capes, they embrace horticulture.
In my opinion, this book is a beautiful floral love story. I love finding out about people who are like everyday seeds found in our gardens. When we get to know them, they germinate into specialty seedlings in our living landscapes. The author, Thomas J. Mickey, literally helps the reader get to know Mr. Vick. The journey takes us to 1856, where Mr. Vick published his own magazine until 1878 – Vick’s Illustrated Monthly and beyond. As most garden writers know, there are always words to express our joy of seeds, buds, flowers, and more. I sincerely wish I had known Mr. Vick to hear about his love story in person.
At one point, Mr. Vick had more than one housand tulip bulbs blooming in his home garden. Can you imagine that display? At the time, his seed company was being operated out of his home. So many people wandered by to observe what was blooming in the garden, it created a local distraction in the best way possible. Mr. Vick had to move the business to a warehouse nearby. He inspired so many people to garden, he disrupted his neighborhood.
This man was such a horticultural hero, one of his customers wrote a poem about twelve of their favorite annuals. Each of these plants was grown from seed purchased from Mr. Vick. Appreciating the love, James Vick made certain to feature the poem in his magazine. That is just one way he connected with the community. The community supported his efforts to beautify the home inside and out with the finest florals from around the world. Mr. Vick was not just writing about flowers, but collecting, sharing, and encouraging others to experience the world of horticulture.
For once, I really cannot say what my favorite part of this book was. In its entirety, All About Flowers has introduced me to a Horticultural Hero I wish I had known. I strongly encourage others to read this book. Getting to know the man, his ideology, and discovering his favorite flowers is like meeting someone very special.
From now on, when I consider which Victorian flower I will choose to grow, I will think of how James Vick influenced the world of gardening.
Thomas J. Mickey has truly shared a floral love story, celebrating the spirit of this Englishman, Mr. James Vick.by