Category Archives: nature

Life in gardens: Rochester, N.Y.

Rochester, NY, c. 1910, via George Eastman House Collection“Schoolchildren with teachers under Magnolia trees on Oxford* Street,” c. 1910, an autochrome by Charles C. Zoller, via George Eastman House Collection on flickr.

Click on the photo to get a better look.  I like the outfits, particularly that of the little girl on the far right.

The Collection describes the process of making an autochrome like this:

After decades of wishing for a practical color process, photographers were thrilled when Auguste and Louis Lumière announced the invention of the autochrome process. . . in 1904. The process used a screen of tiny potato starch grains dyed orange-red, green and violet. Dusted onto a glass plate, the dyed grains were covered with a layer of sensitive panchromatic silver bromide emulsion. As light entered the camera, it was filtered by the dyed grains before it reached the emulsion. While the exposure time was very long, the plate could be processed easily by a photographer familiar with standard darkroom procedures. The result was a unique, realistic, positive color image on glass that required no further printing.

*Commenters on the image’s flickr page thought the cross street in the picture was either Harvard St. or Brighton St.

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

Life in gardens: Easter Monday

Life in gardens/enclos*ure: may pole dancing at WH, 1929, Library of CongressMay pole dance at the White House Easter Egg Roll, Monday, April 1, 1929, National Photo Company Collection, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

First Lady Lou Hoover added may pole and folk dancing to the annual event — but only briefly.  Apparently, the Depression was bad enough on its own.

(If you click on the photo and enlarge it, you can see the wonderfully fierce expression of one of the girls on the right side.)

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Filed under a garden in history, American gardens, culture and history, landscape, life in gardens, nature, vintage landscape, Washington, D.C., gardens

Vintage landscape: Union Square

Vintage landscape/enclos*ure: buying Easter flowers, NYCity, 1908, via Library of CongressBuying Easter flowers, Union Square, New York City, April 18, 1908 (the Saturday before Easter) by Bains News Service, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Vintage landscape/enclos*ure: buying Easter flowers, NYCity, 1908, via Library of Congress

Vintage landscape/enclos*ure: buying Easter flowers, NYCity, 1908, via Library of CongressThings look pretty calm in these pictures, but only a week and a half before, on March 28, the park was the scene of a demonstration by the unemployed and then a bombing, which killed the bomber and a bystander.

Vintage landscape/enclos*ure: buying Easter flowers, NYCity, 1908, via Library of CongressSince 1976, Union Square has been the site of a thriving greenmarket (every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday), which includes flower sellers.

Vintage landscape/enclos*ure: buying Easter flowers, NYCity, 1908, via Library of Congress

You can scroll through larger versions of these images (and several more) by clicking on ‘Continue reading’ below and then on any thumbnail in the gallery.

Continue reading

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

Vintage landscape: lilac bush

Lilacs, between 1905 and 1915, by  via Library of CongressSirenʹ  or lilacs – an early color photograph taken between 1905 and 1915 – by Sergeĭ Mikhaĭlovich Prokudin-Gorskiĭ, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

In the dooryard fronting an old farm-house near the white-wash’d palings,
Stands the lilac-bush tall-growing with heart-shaped leaves of rich green,
With many a pointed blossom rising delicate, with the perfume strong I love. . . .

– Walt Whitman, from “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d

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Our garden: bird droppings (sort of)

On Friday morning, I looked down from our upstairs porch and cursed the hawks.

For about a year now, they have had a huge nest in the tree right next to the house – and they have “feathered” it with all sorts of garbage, particularly dirty pieces of cloth and scraps of paper.  They regularly redecorate by pushing some of their treasures out over the side.

Whenever I look up, I take in the sight of what looks like someone’s old underwear lapped over a branch.

This appeared to be the worst yet — chips of styrofoam (?) all over the ground.  They really were flying pigs.

Tiny mushrooms in the grass/enclos*ure

A closer inspection, however, revealed that I had to take it all back.

Tiny mushrooms in our garden/enclos*ure

Thousands of tiny, tiny white mushrooms were in the grass and the planting bed.

Tiny mushrooms in our garden/enclos*ure

Below, the white grains under the mushrooms are yet more mushrooms.Tiny mushrooms in our garden/enclos*ure

Sorry, hawks. . . until next time.

Petit à petit, l’oiseau fait son nid

In more news from the same tree, the weaver birds and their amazing basket nests are back.

The yellow-colored males have been building and re-building for several weeks now, chattering loudly as they work.  According to a guidebook, the males weave and the females inspect (and destroy any subpar work).

Our garden and the birds/enclos*ure(There are much nicer photos of last year’s nests here.)

I guess the girls — who are plain brown — were finally satisfied, because it recently got much quieter up there. Then, a few days ago, I started finding halves of eggshells on the grass under the tree.

Our garden and the birds/enclos*ure

Here’s my collection so far.Our garden and the birds/enclos*ure

 

There are birds here,
so many birds here
is what I was trying to say
when they said those birds were metaphors
for what is trapped
between buildings
and buildings. . .

Jamaal May, from “There Are Birds Here

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Filed under African gardens, nature, our garden, plants, Rwanda life, Rwandan gardens