Each month, a color
March heralds spring with light blue
Paintings of flowers
Watercolors from the J. Horace McFarland Collection
J. Horace McFarland founded his printing business in 1878 at the age of 19, after purchasing his father’s printing press. The business grew and was moved to the former Mount Pleasant School in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in 1889, where it became known as Mount Pleasant Press. The company started printing stock lists and unillustrated catalogs, which were the customary materials used at that time by nursery operators to advertise their products and prices. McFarland began to envision these lists as the basis for a new approach to horticultural advertising, using emerging processes for printing color imagery and photographs to increase the materials’ impact. He marketed his ideas to growers and nursery operators, and began to carve out a business niche for himself as a specialist in horticultural printing.
McFarland emphasized accuracy in printed color representations. He employed staff artists to work in gardens, painting true-to-life images of the plants and flowers. These images were collected by the company and used as examples in the printing process to achieve precise color renderings.
In addition to nursery catalogs, the J. Horace McFarland Company/Mount Pleasant Press produced books, magazines, and other horticultural trade publications. The company employed writers, editors, artists, and photographers in order to provide full publishing services to its customers.
March 2016 calendar page (26mb PDF). 8.5 x 11 and 11 x 17.