Category Archives: plants

Vintage landscape: dahlias

Dahlias at Agricultural Show, 1911, Library of Congress“Agriculture Department Dahlia Show,” probably Washington, D.C., 1911, by Harris & Ewing, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

My advice to the women of America is to raise more hell and fewer dahlias.

William Allen White

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Vintage landscape: cabbage

Cabbage portrait, Mississippi Dept. of History and ArchivesCrystal Springs, Mississippi, between 1900 and 1950, via Luther Hamilton Photograph Collection, Mississippi Department of Archives and History Commons on flickr.

The almost 1,000 photos in this collection were taken or collected by the Luther Myles Hamiltons — Sr. and Jr. — during the first half of the 20th century.  They document life in and around the farm town of Crystal Springs.  

Luther Sr. was a portraitist, and his pictures of the babies, children, and women on this page are lovely.

Many of the farm fields in the suburbs of Stuttgart are blue with rows of cabbages right now.  I will try to get a photo before the harvest.

The stump of the newborn
dries in the crook of my arm.
I am the witch, cradling
the pale green head,
murmuring, “Little one,
you look good enough to eat.”

Lisel Mueller, from “Found in the Cabbage Patch

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Life in gardens: dahlias

Woman with dahlia, Library of Congress“Woman with dahlias,” ca. 1930, by Doris Ulmann, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

In this beautiful portrait of an older Appalachian women, you can just see her stand of dahlias behind her.

In the traditional language of flowers, the dahlia is usually said to represent dignity, sometimes elegance.

A well-to-do New Yorker, Doris Ulmann trained as an art photographer with Clarence H. White in the 1910s. In the 1920s, she began traveling to the southeast to photograph rural people, particularly in the hills of Kentucky and the Sea Islands of South Carolina — people “for whom life had not been a dance.” She also documented Appalachian folk arts and crafts, working with musician and folklorist John Jacob Niles.

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Life in gardens: keeping bees (close)

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This lady — probably in Finland, ca. 1900 — must have been really devoted to her bee hives to keep them so close to her open windows.

The photo is via Gallen-Kallelan Museo Commons on flickr, photographer unknown.

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

Deare behold me, you shall see
Faith the Hive, and love the Bee,
Which doe bring.
Gaine and sting.

Lady Mary Wroth
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Vintage landscape: Thornewood

A little Monday morning prettiness. . .

Thornewood, 1923, F.B.Johnston, via LibraryCongressThe walk to the house from the flower garden at “Thornewood,” Lakewood, Washington, 1923, a hand-colored glass lantern slide by Frances Benjamin Johnston, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

The house was built between 1909 and 1911 for Chester and Anna Thorne — constructed partly  from a 400-year-old Elizabethan manor house, which Chester purchased in England and had dismantled and shipped to Lakewood.

Thornewood’s over 30 acres of formal “English” gardens were designed by James Frederick Dawson and John Charles Olmsted of Olmsted Brothers from 1908 to 1913.  They were originally cared for by 28 gardeners.

In 1926, House Beautiful magazine named Thornewood one of the five most beautiful formal gardens in America. In 1929, the Garden Club of America held its national convention there.

Today, the property still exists as the Thornewood Castle Inn and Gardens.

It is magnificent. It is what God would have done if he
had the money.

— [of a perfectly groomed estate] Noel Coward

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