Category Archives: design

Life in gardens: geography lesson

Life in gardens/enclos*ure: geography lesson, ca. 1920, State Library of New South Wales“[S]chool yard, Jindalee Primary School, [Cootamundra, Australia,] c. 1920s,” photographer unknown; via State Library of New South Wales Commons on flickr.

The children have made a map of the world in dirt. It includes cut-out ships and animals.

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The Sunday porch: Airlie, N.C.

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“Miss Lula Thorne’s house,” Oakland Plantation, Airlie in Halifax County, North Carolina, between 1935 and 1938, by Frances Benjamin Johnston, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Beautiful vines and interesting columns.  And I really like the four small sconces — one on each side of the door and one at each corner.

There were similar vines and sconces on this other North Carolina house here.

Oakland house was probably built between 1823 and 1828 for Elizabeth Williams Thorne Drake and either her first or second husband. It still stands, but, at some point after the 1930s, the porch was rebuilt to match the late Federal “temple form” style of the rest of the house. You can see it about 2012 here and here.

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Vintage landscape: Yorktown, Va.

More big (boxwood) love.  .  .

#1, Nelson Hse. garden, ca. 1930, FBJohnston, LoC“‘York Hall,’ Captain George Preston Blow house, . . . Main Street, Yorktown, Virginia. Table in boxwood garden,” 1929, by Frances Benjamin Johnston.*

The house is more often called the Nelson House for the family that built it in the 1740s and owned it throughout the 19th century.  George and Adele Blow purchased it and began to restore it in 1914.  In 1968, it became a National Park Service site.

#2, Nelson hse., 1903, WHJackson, LoCThe front of the house and Main Street as it appeared about 1902. Photo by William Henry Jackson for Detroit Photographic Co.

#4, Nelson Hse., c. 1915, HABS, LoC The front of Nelson House in 1915. This photo is part of an Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS).

(There’s a photo of the front of the house and the younger boxwoods in 1862 here.)

#5, Nelson Hse., c. 1915, HABS, LoCThe front door, inside the boxwood hedge, 1915, HABS.

#9, view from hall, Nelson house, ca. 1915, LoCThe center hall, looking out the front door, 1915, HABS (photo cropped by me).

#6, Nelson Hse., c. 1915, HABS, LoCThe side view of the house, ca. 1915 (I think it may be later), HABS.  The front boxwood hedge is on the left.

#16, Nelson Hse, ca. 1930s, FBJohnston, LoCThe side garden in the 1930s by Frances Benjamin Johnston.

The garden during the Blow’s ownership was designed by Charles Freeman Gillette, a landscape architect known for working in the Colonial Revival style. Today, little remains.  The giant boxwoods at the front of the house are gone.

#19, Nelson Hse, ca. 1930s, FBJohnston, LoCAnother view of the side garden in the 1930s by  Frances Benjamin Johnston.

More big boxwood photos here and here and here and here.

*All photos here via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

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Vintage landscape: Danville, Virginia

Oak Hill, Danville, Va,1930s, via Library of CongressMore massive boxwood hedges — this time at Oak Hill, near Danville, Virginia, ca. 1930s, by Frances Benjamin Johnston, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

The house was built in 1825 by the Hairston family. It burned down in 1988.

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Vintage landscape: brick walk

genthe autochrome, steps, via LoC
“Women on the steps of a multi-story white building with dark timbering,” between 1906 and 1942 (I think before 1920), an autochrome by Arnold Genthe, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

The small size of the digital copy of this image makes it difficult to be sure whether the walk areas are brick (like the steps). But I believe they are. (They could be something like decomposed granite.) I love how the tree has been preserved as part of the space.

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