Peter Henderson, (1822-1890) a canny and energetic Scotsman trained in European
gardening methods, came to America in 1843. After saving $500 from three years of work
in the New York City horticultural trade, he began his business as a market gardener in
In 1865 Henderson published his immensely influential Gardening for
Profit "written in an aggregate of 100 hours, when the author was working
16 hours a day, largely at manual labor. At the noon intervals and late at night he
wrote this work lying on his back with his head on a pillow." Six years later he
established his seed business and began a new era in seed merchandising by
introducing a 5-color lithograph into his catalog. As a successful market gardener
turned best-selling author, Henderson became the most popular garden authority of
the Gilded Age. He took pride in personally responding to every letter he received.
In the course of 45 years in business, he estimated that he sent out 175,000 letters,
two-thirds of them written by his own hand.