Henderson, Peter 1822-1890

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Peter Henderson was a market gardener, florist, seeds man and author. He was born in Scotland and died in Jersey City, N.J. He was trained in Old World methods of gardening, and came to America in 1843. He started market gardening in 1847 with a capital of $500.00. The publication Gardening for Profit (1868) was the first American book devoted entirely to market gardening and it encouraged many to enter the business. The book was written in 100 hours, when the writer was writing 16 hours a day at manual labor and 150,000 copies were sold. Revisions were made in 1874 and 1887. This was an epoch making book in vegetable crops.

Henderson's Practical Floriculture (1868) was also an epoch making book in commercial floriculture. Until this time most books of gardening were written for the amateur. For this audience he wrote Gardening for Pleasure (1875). In 1881 he was aided by C.L. Allen in producing The Handbook of Plants. Garden and Farm Topics was issued in 1884. It is said that nearly 250,000 copies of his book were sold. (It is interesting to note that several of the books in the Department of Horticulture and Forestry Library at The Ohio State University came from the library of C.L. Allen).

His seed business was started in 1865. Few men have done more to simplify the handling of plants for commercial use. His greenhouses were models for his many visitors and his methods were widely copied. He was a frequent contributor to horticultural and agricultural magazines and write or dictated over 175,000 letters. His influence was very decisive in these fields of horticulture.