The Sunday porch: rooftop retreat

As the summer heat comes to an end,* I thought you might enjoy this repeat porch from July 2012.

This sleeping porch for hot summer nights was added to the roof of the White House during the Taft Administration (1909 – 1913). Photo by National Photo Company, via Library of Congress.

It’s a little funny to think of the country’s first family climbing up to the roof to bed down in what is basically a shed with screened sides.

Click here to read more about sleeping porches.

*Fall officially begins on Tuesday in the northern hemisphere.

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Filed under architecture, culture and history, design, landscape, The Sunday porch, vintage landscape, Washington, D.C., gardens

Life in gardens: more chickens

Hugh Magnum chickens, via Duke on flickrChild with white chickens, taken between 1890 and 1922, by Hugh Mangum, via David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University (on flickr).

Mangum was a traveling photographer who worked along a rail circuit in North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia. You can see his portraits here.

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Filed under American gardens, art, culture and history, landscape, life in gardens, nature, vintage landscape

Life in gardens: feeding the chickens

Feeding chickens, ca. 1899 Georgia, Library of CongressA fenced-in backyard in Georgia, ca. 1899, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

These photos were included in one of several albums depicting African American life, which were compiled by W. E. B. Du Bois for the 1900 Paris Exposition.

Feeding chickens in ca. 1899 Georgia backyard, Library of Congress

There’s a brief history of the American backyard here.  Until the 20th century, it was a space for work, not recreation.

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Filed under American gardens, culture and history, garden design, landscape, life in gardens, nature, vintage landscape, working in the garden

Foliage Follow Up in September

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Our garden in Kigali, Rwanda, this morning.

This is an area at the end of our front terrace, composed of mostly tropical foliage plants and shaded by a large red-blooming Mussaenda erythrophylla.

Thanks to Pam at Digging for hosting Garden Bloggers’ Foliage Follow Up the 16th of every month.

imagine it as one of those survivors in the old
swamps, shadowed by the grown, light-headed conifers:
fit for the damps, whose gentlest odor seems
corrosive, mightily akin to older, shadowed ferns

Alan Dugan, from “Philodendron


Filed under African gardens, garden design, nature, plants, Rwandan gardens

September Bloom Day

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Our garden in Kigali, Rwanda, September 2014.

To see what’s blooming in other garden bloggers’ gardens, visit Carol at May Dreams Gardens.


Filed under African gardens, design, garden design, landscape, nature, plants, Rwandan gardens