HCS
webgarden

12th to 1st
1st to 15th
16th
17th
18th
19th to 20th









 

M'Mahon, Bernard 1775-1816 (approx)  

M'Mahon was born in Ireland but came to America in 1796 because of political instability in that country. He settled in Philadelphia and established a seed and nursery business. Very shortly thereafter he began to collect and export seeds of American plants. By this means many nature plants became established in Europe. In 1804 his catalogue of seeds included 1,000 "species."

He became acquainted with Thomas Jefferson as well as other distinguished men of his time. It is said that the famous Lewis and Clark expedition was planned in his home. His horticultural interests were very broad and his seed store became a meeting place for botanists and horticulturists.

M'Mahon and Landreth distributed the seeds collected in the Lewis and Clark expedition. He published in 1806 the first really important horticultural book which was entitled, American Gardeners Calendar. This was a standard encyclopedia for many years. The 11th edition was published in 1857.

Bailey quotes the reminisces of the 11th edition as follows:

"Bernard M'Mahon found American gardening in its infancy, and immediately set himselfvigorously to work to introduce a love of flowers and fruit. The writer well remembers his store, his garden and greenhouses. The latter were situated near the Germantownturnpike, between Philadelphia and Nicetown, whence emanated the rarer flowers and novelties, such as could be collected in the early part of the present century, and where were performed, to the astonishment of the amateurs of that day, successful feats of horticulture that were but too rarely imitated. His store was on Second Street, below Market, on the east side. Many must still be alive who recollect its bulk window, ornamented with tulip glasses, a large pumpkin, and a basket or two of bulbous roots; behind the counter officiated Mrs. M'Mahon, with some considerable Irish accent, but a most amiable and excellent disposition, and withal, an able saleswoman. Mr. M'Mahon was also much in the store, putting up seeds for transmission to all parts of this country and Europe, writing his book, or attending to his correspondence, and in one corner was a shelf containing a few botanical or gardening books, for which there was then a very small demand; another contained the few garden implements, such as knives and trimming scissors, a barrel of peas and a bag of seedling potatoes, an onion receptacle, a few chairs, and the room partly lined with drawers containing seeds, constituted the apparent stock in trade of whatwas one of the greatest seed-stores then known in the Union, and where was transacted a considerable business for that day. Such a store would naturally attract the botanist as well as the gardener, and it was the frequent lounge of both classes, who ever found in theproprietors ready listeners, as well as conversers; in the latter particular they were rather remarkable, and here you would see Nuttall, Baldwin, Darlington, and other scientific men, who sought information or were ready to impart it."

Additional information about Bernard M'Mahon may be found on the Internet.

Plant Trivia Timeline

 



 
 


Website Administrator: Dr. Tim Rhodus
Department of Horticulture and Crop Science
Email: rhodus.1@osu.edu
© 2002 Ohio State University

FAQ factsheets PLANTFACTS