By the late nineteenth century, a colossal enterprise was composed of seed purveyors, florists, market gardeners, along with millions of customers across the country. The enterprise of gardening was a dynamic entity that had a great impact on U.S. society and culture—1880 to 1950— through many different avenues, several of which are covered in this section: education, innovation, imagery and imagination.

Although the enterprise of gardening may not be as common in U.S. society as it once was, its history is quite real and inspiring. This section explores several ways in which seed companies of the nineteenth and twentieth century capitalized on the enterprise of gardening. While, to a degree, it was as simple as securing a legitimate supply for the demand of seeds in the U.S., the enterprise of gardening was an arena for innovation in agricultural methods, technological machinery, and business strategy. Documenting the gardening enterprise between 1890 and 1950, this section looks at three components of the enterprise: education, innovation, as well as imagery. Primary resources include educational booklets, guidebooks, special mailings, and advertisements published by the Burpee Seed Company; customer testimonials, contests letters and legal cases that document some of the trade’s innovative qualities; and artwork, curated and executed by professionals in advertising, illustration, painting, photography, and prose, that sparked the imagination of potential customers all over the globe.