Category Archives: American gardens

The Sunday porch: somewhere in Texas

The Sunday porch/enclos*ure: unidentified Texas porch, by Fanny Ratchford, 1936, via Texas State Archives Commons.“Unidentified house,” probably by Fanny Ratchford, 1936, via Texas State Archives Commons on flickr. (You can click on the photo to enlarge it.)

It’s interesting to me that the roof of the house extends beyond the edge of the porch. The pretty columns are not attached to the railings, but come down to the ground a few feet beyond them.

There seems to be a word — maybe a name — on the wall above the chair on the left side, but I can’t read it.

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Among a little wind grit, in a grid on a grid, somewhere
like the crossroads of outer space and Earth, Texas,
a handful of ragged elms withstand a long sway
of heat and wind. These old guards of a home haunt
the field but wither even as ghosts must. Honor them
with a walk among homesick bricks, and prophesy good.

John Poch, from “The Llano Estacado

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Life in gardens: White House

Sadat and Carter at the White House, 1980, Library of Congress“President Jimmy Carter and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat have refreshments in the garden of the White House,” April 8, 1980, Washington, D.C. Photo credited to Marion S. Trikosko and Warren K. Leffler,via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.*

The previous spring, Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin had signed the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty on the White House lawn.

*U.S. News & World Report Magazine Photograph Collection.

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Vintage landscape: spring rain

Showers, White House, early 1920s, via Library of Congress“Sidewalk in front of White House, Washington, D.C.,” early 1920s, by Harris & Ewing, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Whan that Aprill with his shoures sote
The droghte of Marche hath perced to the rote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licour,
Of which vertu engendred is the flour. . .

– Geoffrey Chaucer, from “The General Prologue” of The Canterbury Tales

Translation: April showers bring May flowers.

Today is Whan that Aprille Day – a day to enjoy “alle langages that are yclept ‘old,’ or ‘middel,’ or ‘auncient,’ or ‘archaic,’ or, alas, even ‘dead.’” This is the idea of @LeVostreGC (or Chaucer Doth Tweet), who blogs at Geoffrey Chaucer Hath a Blog.

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The Sunday porch: Gothic Revival anyone?

Peter Neff Cottage in Ohio, via Library of CongressEntrance porch of the Peter Neff Cottage, Kenyon College, Gambier, Ohio. Photo taken 1951 by Perry E. Borchers for an Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS), via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Gothic Revival hse. in Ohio, via Library of CongressAnother 1951 photo of the porch, also by Perry E. Borchers for the HABS (cropped by me).

The HABS report for this house said it “may be the finest example of Gothic Revival cottage style and wood detail in Ohio.”  It was built about 1860 for Peter Neff, a co-inventor of the tintype and an alumnus and benefactor of Kenyon College.

All was not happy in this charming abode, however. Neff quarreled with Kenyon over the bells of the campus’s Church of the Holy Spirit, “which he claimed had driven him to the brink of nervous collapse,” according to the Historic Campus Architecture Project.

“Place yourself and family in my location, about seven hundred feet distant,” he wrote in a 19-page open letter. “How would you like this ding dong every fifteen minutes? . . . [It is] machinery wearing out flesh and blood to those who have any nerves. It is too much bell-ringing . . . it is a sickening nuisance.”

Neff finally moved away from the campus and its bells in 1888.

The house is now named Clifford* Place and is the residence of the Dean of Students.

*The name of one of Neff’s daughters.

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Life in gardens: Jackson, Mississippi

E. von Seutter photo, via Mississippi Department of Archives and History“View of a scene in Jackson, Mississippi,” c. 1869, probably taken by Elisaeus von Seutter.

Below are detail views.

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This is another photo from the E. von Seutter Photograph Collection of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History – 35 stereocards and 48 photographs of Jackson after the Civil War assembled by the von Seutter family. Most were taken by Elisaeus and his son, Armine.

There are also more images of Ivy Cottage (from Tuesday’s post) after ‘Continue reading’ below.
Continue reading

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