Category Archives: landscape

The Sunday porch: irises

Japanese Iris GardenTwo women in a pavilion overlooking irises in Japan, between 1860 and 1910.

Japanese Iris Garden, cropped 1

Detail of photo above.

This hand-colored photograph comes from the National Museum of Denmark Commons on flickr — part of a collection that belonged to journalist Holger Rosenberg.

Unfortunately, the museum does not have any additional information about it.

Japanese Iris Garden, cropped 2

Detail of top photo. The flowers are probably growing in slightly sunken, wet or damp ground.

In Heian Period [794 -1185] Japanese gardens, built in the Chinese model, buildings occupied as much or more space than the garden. The garden was designed to be seen from the main building and its verandas, or from small pavilions built for that purpose. In later gardens, the buildings were less visible. Rustic teahouses were hidden in their own little gardens, and small benches and open pavilions along the garden paths provided places for rest and contemplation. In later garden architecture, walls of houses and teahouses could be opened to provide carefully framed views of the garden. The garden and the house became one.

— “Japanese garden,” Wikipedia

Click here to see all the Museum’s online photos of Japanese landscapes (and some wonderful kimonos).

There’s also a 1913 Japanese iris garden in East Hampton, N.Y., here.

To scroll through larger versions of these images, click on ‘Continue reading’ below and then on any thumbnail in the gallery.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under architecture, art, culture and history, design, garden design, landscape, nature, plants, The Sunday porch, vintage landscape

The fire pit in May

There is a fire pit underneath, awaiting summer cleanup — but I was drawn to the nice arrangement of shaggy grass and logs* (and, of course, the bench and the other beautiful pile of wood in the background).

This is at my brother’s and sister-in-law’s home in Loudon County, Virginia. The picture is from her (mostly about) quilting blog, deeroo designs.  Check out the spring color in their garden and also some ideas for half-square triangles here.

Tomorrow Tuesday, about my own long grass. . .

*I imagine a nice little snake has been drawn to it too.

Photo © deeroo designs.

1 Comment

Filed under American gardens, D.C., design, garden design, gardens, landscape, nature, Washington, working in the garden

Vintage landscape: Verona, Italy

Watercolor of Italian courtyard, Natl. Archives of EstoniaSan Giorgio cloister, Verona, Italy, May 19, 1878, via National Archives of Estonia Commons on flickr.

The watercolor is one of many Italian scenes collected (perhaps painted?) by a Baroness Meyendorff in the 1870s and early 1880s.

1 Comment

Filed under architecture, art, design, garden design, landscape, nature, vintage landscape

The Sunday porch: Delta Farm

Front porch, Delta Coop Farm, 1937, Library of CongressThe front porch of a Delta Farm home, Hillhouse, [Bolivar County,] Mississippi,” June 1937, by Dorothea Lange, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division (all photos here).

Delta Cooperative Farm was a privately owned and administered agricultural resettlement project for white and African-American sharecroppers evicted in the mid-1930s.

Founded in 1936 by several religious thinkers, educators, and organizers — including well-known missionary author Sherwood Eddy, who had $20,000 to spend from a follower — the enterprise avowed a commitment to economic equality among the races.

Over half of the first group of 31 farmers to settle at Delta were Black. All members worked together to grow cotton and cut and mill the land’s cypress timber.  All of them shared in the first year’s profits: $327 per family.

Delta Coop Farm houses, 1937, Library of Congress

The farm’s small houses had the same simple plan and amenities — “Screen windows and porches are uncommon in cotton cabins,” noted Lange — but they were segregated in two rows: one white, one African-American, separated by a road. And the children attended segregated schools.

All the families shared the produce of a 10-acre vegetable garden, however, which appears in the photos above to have engulfed the cabins.

And they all used the farm’s clinic, nursery, and library and attended the integrated cooperative meetings.  There had to be at least two Black members on the five-person farm council.

Delta Coop Farm, 1937, Library of Congress

At the start of World War II, the project lost members to wartime industry jobs and military enlistment, and, in 1942, the land was sold.

Four years before, in 1938, the Delta trustees had established a second inter-racial farm project in Mississippi — Providence Cooperative Farm in Holmes County. It operated until 1955, when its staff and residents fled after being threatened by the white citizens of nearby Tchula.  The empty land was sold the following year.

You can read a more complete story of the two visionary cooperative farms here.

Continue reading


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

Vintage landscape: groundcover dreams

10 Groundcover Dreams, ca. 1912, via NasjonalbiblioteketBlue flowers (blå blomster) in Målselv, Troms, Norway,1912, an autochrome by Hanna Resvoll-Holmsen, via Nasjonalbiblioteket (National Library of Norway) Commons on flickr (all photos here).

Resvoll-Holmsem was a Norwegian botanist, natural history educator, and conservationist. She took these rather moody early color pictures for her research.

2 Groundcover Dreams, ca. 1912, via NasjonalbiblioteketFerns (bregner), 1912,  in Målselv, a municipality in the county of Troms in northern Norway.

9 Groundcover Dreams, ca. 1912, via NasjonalbiblioteketWild berries, in Målselv, 1912.

8 Groundcover Dreams, ca. 1912, via NasjonalbiblioteketWild berries, in Målselv, 1912.

3 Groundcover Dreams, ca. 1912, via NasjonalbiblioteketAntennaria alpina (alpine catsfoot) and Phyllodoce caerulean (mountain heath), July 27, 1911, in Lom, Oppland, in southern Norway.

11 Groundcover Dreams, ca. 1912, via NasjonalbiblioteketGentianella tenella (Lapland gentian) and Sagina nodosa (knotted pearlwort) in Lom, July 6, 1911.

5 Groundcover Dreams, ca. 1912, via NasjonalbiblioteketSedum villosum (hairy stonecrop), Lom, July 16, 1911.

6 Groundcover Dreams, ca. 1912, via NasjonalbiblioteketAconitum lycoctonum  (northern wolfsbane) and yarrow (tyrihjelm og ryllik i naturlige omgivelser),  in Lom, August 7, 1911.

12 Groundcover Dreams, ca. 1912, via NasjonalbiblioteketPedicularis lapponica (Lapland lousewort),  in Lom,  July 5, 1911.

7 Groundcover Dreams, ca. 1912, via NasjonalbiblioteketScrub vegetation, at Lom, July 25, 1911.

To scroll through larger versions of the photos, click on ‘Continue reading’ below.

Oh I think of Alice gone down, down
under groundcover dreams. . .

— John Unterecker, from “…Within, Into, Inside, Under, Within…

Continue reading


Filed under art, landscape, nature, plants, vintage landscape