Biographies of American Seedsmen and Nurserymen Childs, John Lewis–(1856-1921)–Floral Park, New York–Childs was born on May 13, 1856.  He acquired a few acres and set up his business as a seedsman and florist at age eighteen, after one year as a florist’s helper on Long Island.  He was known internationally for his monthly magazine Mayflower, a magazine of gardening and home adornment.  It appeared from 1885-1906, 23 volumes in all, with a circulation of half a million copies.  He wrote Guide to Lily Culture that had seven editions, the last one was published in 1888.  By 1892 he had several hundred acres with glass houses, seed beds, seed stores, Victorian gardens, and a rail spur, canal, and farm.  He established the village of Floral Park to provide for services and housing for his business.  Eight thousand orders arrived each day from around the world.  By the turn of the century, Childs had set up a seed house in Pasadena, California, and raised geraniums, freesia, and amaryllis bulbs.  Another farm in Suffolk County, New York, was devoted to the wholesale florist business and grew gladioli, cannas, and dahlias.  Many exotic plants were the subjects of his chromolithographs in his catalogs.
Sources: HG; CP; Bryan