At a time of year when many gardeners are poring over seed catalogues, this image relates to the very first published in England. The vase represents January, from Twelve Months of Flowers, engravings by Henry Fletcher. All 33 plants, listed here, are “from the Collection of Rob’t Furber, Gardiner at Kensington 1730”. The rather ostentatious display makes more sense when placed in context. Robert Furber (1674–1756) was a horticulturist, owner of a nursery in Kensington, London. England’s first seed catalogue was commissioned by him and published in the form of floral arrangements for each month. Each vase depicts desirable seasonal plants in bloom, though you would have needed an Orangery or large greenhouse to keep up.
1 Pellitory with daisy flowers; 2 Winter Aconites; 3 Great early Snowdrop; 4 Single Snowdrop; 5 White edged Polyanthus; 6 Double Peach coloured Hepatica; 7 Double blue Violet; 8 Winter blue Hyacinth; 9 Lesser black Hellebore; 10 Dwarf white King Spear; 11 Ilex leav’d Jasmine; Red Spring Cyclamen; 13. Acacia or sweet button tree; 14 White cyclamen; 15 Creeping Borage or Bugloss; 16 Strip’d Spurge; 17 Lisbon Lemmon tree; 18 Canary Campanula; 19 Dwarf Tithymann; 20 Double Stock; 21 Filberd tree in flower Hazelnut, Filbert or Cobnut); 22 True Venetian Vetch; 23 Seville Orange; 24 Grey Aloe; 25 Winter White Hyacinth; 26 Spotted Aloe; 27 Narrow curl’d leave Bay; 28 Tree Savory; 29 Triangle Yellow Ficoides; 30 Strip’d Orange; 31 Strip’d Candy tuft; 32 Tree Sedum; 33 Single blue Anemone.