Eighteenth-Century Garden Manuals: Old Practice, New Professions

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Abstract

This article sketches the cultural significance that garden manuals had in England, from exemplifying a pleasurable and an aesthetic activity to encouraging the setting up of a profitable business. By investigating gardening manuals and treatises from the period, this study argues that eighteenth-century gardening manuals played an important role in shaping the cultural meanings of English gardens, in conveying “a practical knowledge of gardening, to gentlemen and young professors, who delight in that useful and agreeable study” (Abercrombie, The Preface, 1767) and in producing an original type of discourse which was employed to describe and represent the newly created professions.

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