About the Collection
John Bodger, a native of England, founded the Bodger Seeds Ltd. in 1896. It is a seed business that had the largest acreage of flower seed in Calfiornia until 2009, when it was sold in 2009 to the German flower company, Benary. Each year it farmed approximately 600 acreas, divided between Lompoc, north of Santa Barbara and Chino, east of Los Angeles. The collection contains seed catalogs and prices lists, black and white photographs of flowers, and records of the travels, celebrations and people which chronicle the business of John Bodger & Sons seed business.
John Bodger is credited for evolving the zinnia from an old fashioned flower to a flower with beautiful colors that is used as a mainstay of garden flowers today. Other flowers that Bodger Seeds specialized in were marigolds, sweet peas and petunias, all evident in the collection.
Bodger is well known for having planted red, white and blue flowers in the shape of a huge American flag several times on its fields facing the south hills, beginning in World War II. The most recent flag, which bloomed in 2002, was created with more than 400,000 Larkspur plants and was made to scale, covering 6.65 acres. Click here to see images of the flag.Finding aid on the Online Archive of California.