Landscape Architecture from the Past

Recently, I was eyeball deep in research for an upcoming historical release. 

In the story, set in 1913, the heroine is a nanny and the hero is a landscape architect. 

The hero, Flynn, runs a landscaping business with his sister. Not only does he design elaborate (or simple) gardens and yards, he also has a huge greenhouse where he develops and experiments with plants. 

When I started working on Flynn’s character and his profession, I did some research into landscape architects and greenhouses.

The first recorded greenhouses were in Rome around 30 AD. Legend states that the physicians of Emperor Tiberius told him he needed, for health purposes, to eat a cucumber every day. Supposedly, his scientists and engineers brainstormed how to grow plants year round and the greenhouse came to be.

Greenhouses traveled to America in the 1700s. They grew in popularity in England in the mid-1800s when glass began to be widely manufactured. The inspiration for Flynn’s greenhouse comes from the spectacular Temperate House at Kew Gardens in London. My gracious, I’ve added this impressive garden to my bucket list of places I hope to someday see.

Temperate House is the world’s largest Victorian glasshouse and recently reopened after an extensive renovation process. Some of the world’s rarest and most threatened species of plants are among the 1,500 species of plants from Africa, Australia, New Zealand, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific Islands included on display.

Of course, Flynn’s greenhouse isn’t as magnificent as this or nearly as large, but it did give me some wonderful ideas of what his greenhouse might look like. And he has an interesting collection of plants and flowers he’s collected from his travels around the world.

When I first considered Flynn’s career, the term landscape architect seems so modern. But I discovered the roots of the profession go back to 1828 when Gilbert Laing Meason, a Scotsman, wrote a book offering insights into the art of relating architecture to landscape. William Andrews Nesfield was reportedly the first person hired as a “landscape architect. He designed garden areas for Buckingham Palace in London and Castle Howard in Yorkshire. In 1863, Fredrick Law Olmstead used the term landscape architecture for designing public open space (parks). Olmstead is known as the father of American Landscape Architecture. I like to think his work helped inspire my character Flynn.

In the story, Evie (releasing May 23), Flynn is hired to design and install an elaborate garden at the home of a well-to-do couple with three young children. Flynn finds himself falling for the nanny and scheming ways to spend time with the effervescent woman. 

Will love bloom between a spunky nanny and a distracted landscaper?

Unconventional nanny Evie Caswell views it as her duty to bring fun and laughter to the residence of her strict, aloof employers. Full of life and spirit, she is determined to teach the couple’s children how to be young and carefree. With hardly a minute to herself, she long ago surrendered her dreams of having her own home and a family. Then her employer hires Flynn Elliott, a landscape architect, to turn the yard into a spectacular garden. Enchanted with the intriguing man, Evie realizes after meeting Flynn nothing in her life will ever be the same.

Renowned for his landscape designs and ability to make anything grow, Flynn Elliott is a bit of an enigma. He spouts romantic poetry to the plants in his greenhouse and stealthily avoids social interactions, yet can charm birds right out of the trees when the need arises. While his sister handles the finer details of their business, he often loses himself in his work, forgetting the outside world exists. A chance encounter with a beautiful woman in a moonlit garden leaves him seeking opportunities to discover more about the effervescent Evie and the joy she radiates to those around her.

Will the two of them be able to set aside their doubts and fears to embrace a happily ever after?

Brimming with lighthearted moments, snippets of history, and the hope of true love, Evie is a sweet historical romance sure to warm your heart. 

Available May 23, you can pre-order your copy today! 

If you could travel back to 1913, what career would you choose?

Shanna Hatfield
After spending her formative years on a farm in Eastern Oregon, hopeless romantic Shanna Hatfield turns her rural experiences into sweet historical and contemporary romances filled with sarcasm, humor, and hunky western heroes.
When this USA Today bestselling author isn’t writing or covertly hiding decadent chocolate from the other occupants of her home, Shanna hangs out with her beloved husband, Captain Cavedweller.

19 Comments

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  1. Good morning Shanna. This book sounds amazing, but then it’s one of yours and you always deliver outstanding books.
    That’s a great question. I’m not sure, I’d probably be of lower class but I’d like to work in the livery and take care of the horses, if not that, I’d want to be a baker. Creating wonderful cakes and pasteries, that would be rewarding.
    Have a great week and I can’t wait until May 23rd.
    Love & hugs my sweet friend.

    1. A pastry making livery stable hand! LOL! You’d do great at whatever you did, Tonya!
      Thank you so, so much. I’m excited to share Evie with everyone!
      Love and hugs to you! <3

  2. Avatar

    Sounds like another great book! I believe I’d want to be a boarding house that also sells baked goods on the side. I’d also have dine-in customers first come first served until the food runs out kind of thing. My boarders food needs would come first of course. I’d have a small stable in the back where boarders could take care of their own horses instead of having to board them at the livery. Price would be included in their boarding fee but extra for hay and feed.

    1. You’d do great with your boarding house, Stephanie. Just think of all the interesting people you’d meet!
      Thanks for stopping in today!
      Smiles!

  3. I always wanted to pwn my own boutique, so if I were living back then, I would most likely work in a some sort of store.

    1. I think that would be so fun, Janine! Thank you for stopping in today!

  4. It would be hard but I would like to be a bookseller

    1. I think that’s a great profession to choose, Debra. How fun would it be to hold all those beautiful hardback books in your hands!

  5. I would like to be a teacher back then.

    1. That’s a great career to choose, Kim! Thank you so much for popping in today!

  6. Congratulations Shanna. Welcome today. Ohhh this research must be so fun and cool. This sounds like a wonderful book of opposites attract. My mom was a lot like Flynn. I loved watching her become one with nature. Like Flynn, she truly got lost into the world God made and she made the most of it all.

    1. Hi Lori! I do enjoy researching details for my books. How awesome your mom was like Flynn. I just love that!
      Thank you for stopping in today! So appreciate it!

  7. I would love to be the store owner to the general mercantile because my interest vary from day to day and that way I would have access to a little of everything and I also could maybe sell my one of a kind craft creations and floral arrangements. I am counting down till Evie is released. Your books always lift my spirit and I am definitely needing a uplift

    1. Hi Glenda!
      Oh, I think that would be such an interesting place to work. And you’d hear little tidbits of what was going on around town. 🙂
      So appreciate your kind words about my books. Evie will be here before you know it! Hugs!

  8. i would be a baker and have a bakery

    1. I think that would be so fun, Patricia (and a lot of work, too!). Thank you for stopping in today!

  9. I’m a teacher now, so I would think I would still want to be that. Though it would be a challenge with all grades together, it could be fun. I’ve been rereading all your Pendleton Petticoats books to my husband. He got hooked listening to Aundy on audible during a road trip! We are on Quinn, and I’ve pre-ordered Evie. Can’t wait to read it!

    1. I think it would be fun (and challenging) to have all the grades together, but I bet you’d do great at it!
      So awesome you got your husband hooked on the Pendleton Petticoats series. I love hearing that, Cindy! Thank you so, so much!
      Have a beautiful day!

    2. I would likey have been a teached, librarian, or nanny.

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