Louisa Johnson

Important Publication Day

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Today is the day that Gardening Women is officially published. This doesn't mean a great deal since it's been available for several days from Amazon and 'all good bookshops'. But I did get a beautiful bouquet of flowers from my brilliant publishers, Virago.

So I thought I'd mark the day by posting the frontispiece from a little-known nineteenth-century book, Every Lady Her Own Flower Gardener, by another 'gardening woman', Louisa Johnson, who is, of course, mentioned in the book. This title was originally published in 1839 (my copy is from 1851 so it remained in print for quite a while!). We know very little about Louisa Johnson but in her time she was a rival to the most successful nineteenth-century female horticultural writer, Jane Loudon, whom she had a dig at for using too many Latin words and technical terms.

However, as useful and compact as Louisa Johnson's little books were (she also wrote one on greenhouse gardening), it was Jane Loudon, wife of famed horticulturalist John Claudius Loudon, who triumphed in sales. Let's hope Gardening Women follows in Jane's footsteps!