New York–Ellwanger was born in Gross-Heppach in Wurtemberg, Germany on
December 2, 1816. In 1830, he apprenticed himself for four years
to the leading nurseryman and florist in Stuttgart. In 1835, he set
sail for America. He traveled to the home of relatives in Ohio, but
stopped in Rochester. After spending the summer with his relatives
in Ohio, he returned to Rochester to seek employment. William A.
Reynolds and Michael Bateham who owned the Rochester Seed Store and Horticultural
Repository hired him in the spring of 1836. In 1838, Reynolds and
Bateman suffered a huge loss after a failed experiment with mulberry
trees. The nursery was put up for sale, and in January1839, Ellwanger,
their manager, offered to lease the nursery and buy the remaining stock.
Ellwanger formed a partnership with Thomas Rogers, a mulberry tree salesman
from the east. By May of 1840 Ellwanger bought out the interests
of Rogers and joined with Patrick Barry, a more experienced nurseryman,
who had newly arrived from Ireland. This new establishment was called
Mount Hope Nursery. Their first catalogs were issued in 1843.
In December 1844, Ellwanger went to Europe in order to increase the nursery’s
stock. He went to England, France, and Germany and collected buddings
and graftings from different nurseries, and stuffed his bags with the catalogs
and other publications of the leading horticulturists of the day.
Shortly after his return the nursery issued a second and larger catalog
where he had adopted the London Horticultural Society’s method of listing
plants and describing their features. The fruit department was their
specialty. Ellwanger married in 1846 and had four sons. His
son William D. was an active member of the firm. By 1851, the seven
original acres in the nursery of 1841 had grown to one hundred acres.
In another five years it had grown to four hundred acres, and by 1871 there
were six hundred and fifty acres. By 1851, there were also nurseries
in Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio and Toronto. In 1900, Mount
Hope Nursery won a gold medal diploma at the Paris Exhibition for their
display of 118 varieties of pears. Ellwanger died on November 26,
1906. The Mount Hope Nursery closed in July 1918.
1, 1906; FlorEx-Dec.
8, 1906; URLB; APS-1907;