Printed seed and nursery catalogues were rare in Britain before the mid 18th century, but as competition between nurseries gradually grew so did the practice of producing catalogues to reach an ever expanding range of clients.
By the 1840s the production of catalogues played a key role in the expansion of the nursery trade alongside the growth of the railway network and improvements in postal services.
One of the earliest to be issued annually was that of Carter's Seeds, founded in 1816 by James Carter.
Opposite is an advert taken from The Gardeners' Chronicle in 1861 promoting the latest catalogue of "new flowers, florists' flowers and vegetables" from Messrs EG Henderson & Son, a nursery based in St John's Wood, London.
Owner Edward George Henderson (1782-1876) was a botanist, taxonomist and nurseryman who ran the business with his son Andrew Henderson (1823-1906). Together they identified and classified descriptions of 19 species, subspecies and varieties of plants.