Seedsmen Hall of Fame
Honoring Horticulturalists

Burnet Landreth

Burnet Landreth was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1842.  He was the son of David Landreth, Jr.  Burnet became the third generation to run the company after his father's passing in 1880.

Burnet became chief of the Bureau of Agriculture of the U. S. Centennial International Exhibition at Philadelphia in 1876.  In 1878, he declined President Hayes’ offer of Commissioner of Agriculture.  He was the author of "Market Garden and Farm Notes" (1892), and articles in horticultural journals.

Burnet Landreth, Sr.

1902 Landreth Seed CatalogHe was a partner in the business until it was incorporated in 1904 as the D. Landreth Seed Company, and was the president of the corporation until his death in 1928.

The Landreth family managed the seed company, farms and trial gardens in a direct paternal line for five generations spanning spanned three centuries.  An amazing feat.

In 1942, the D. Landreth Seed Company was sold to Supplee-Biddle Hardware Company of Philadelphia.  This company later sold to the Robert Buist Seed Company.

It was eventually sold to the Goldberg family, moved to Baltimore, Maryland, where it continued to be operated under the name of the D. Landreth Seed Company.  The company, however, ceased breeding its own seeds years prior and according to the then company president, Ben Goldberg, only sold wholesale to nurseries, greenhouses, hardware stores and other mass merchandising outlets from Maine to Texas.  This type of operation continued into at least the late 1990s. (Exact information unavailable.)

It appears that there is an attempt at resurrecting the "brand" as a mail order seed name.  From a letter sent out to past customers, the D. Landreth Seed Company name was purchased by Peter and Barbara Melera, a professor of biochemistry and molecular biology and a venture capitalist, respectively.

"Bloomsdale Seed Farm," near Bristol
"On the Delaware River 20 miles above Philadelphia, is "Bloomsdale," the home of Burnet Landreth, of the firm of David Landreth & Sons, the oldest seed-growing establishment in this country, founded in 1784. Mansion erected 1752. The Arboretum is one of the finest in the United States."



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