The American Gardener's Calendar: Adapted to the Climates and Seasons of the United States
Philadelphia: B. Graves, 1806.
First Edition. Hardcover. Very good. 8vo, pp v, ,648 + index, with one folding table, in original full calf with red spine label. Leather scuffed, corner torn from table, with small loss of text, otherwise sound and clean. Bookplate of Benjamin Lincoln Lear (1792-1832, attorney and godson of George Washington) on front pastedown, three manuscript notes in Lear's hand, and several newspaper clippings laid in -- all relating to gardening. "M’Mahon came from Ireland in 1796 and began to collect and export seeds of native American plants in 1800. His catalog of 1804 listed seeds of about 1,000 species. In 1806, he published his book The American Gardener’s Calendar, that was for 50 years the standard gardening authority in America. There were eleven editions of his book by the last edition published in 1857. A general catalog of garden plants was published at the end of the book. He knew Jefferson and his store became the meeting place of botanists and horticulturists. M’Mahon helped to distribute the seeds collected by the Lewis and Clark Expedition" (Smithsonian). The book's lengthy subtitle offers a good explanation of its content: "Containing a complete account of all the work necessary to be done in the kitchen-garden, fruit-garden, orchard, vineyard, nursery, pleasure-ground, flower-garden, green-house, hot-house, and forcing frames, for every month of the year; with ample practical directions for performing the same. Also, general as well as minute instructions for laying out or erecting each and every of the above departments, according to modern taste and the most approved plans; the Ornamental Planting of Pleasure Grounds, in the ancient and modern style; the cultivation of Thorn Quicks, and other
plants suitable for Live Hedges, with the best methods of making them, &c. To which are annexed catalogues of Kitchen Garden Plants and Herbs; Aromatic, Pot, and Sweet Herbs; Medicinal Plants, and the most important Grapes, &c., used in rural economy; with the soil best adapted to their cultivation." Benjamin Lincoln Lear was the only son of President George Washington's secretary, Tobias Lear, and was born in Washington's house in Philadelphia. He became a prominent attorney in the District of Columbia. The three manuscript notes laid into this book pertain to gowing asparagus and to gardening tasks for the end of the growing season.