Life in gardens: two boys

Two boys, 1860, NY Public Library“Two boys sitting in a garden,” Orange, New Jersey, ca. 1860, cropped from a stereoscopic view, via Robert Dennis Collection of the New York Public Library.

The boys look a little as if they were sharing a secret joke.

They may have just been working in a garden plot of their own; there’s a cultivated space with a low rustic border on the lower right side.  The boy on the right — with lilacs in his hat — is sitting in a small wheelbarrow, and there’s a child-size shovel or spade beside him.  The other boy has a bunch of lilacs in his hand.

Lilacs, . . .
You are brighter than apples,
Sweeter than tulips,
You are the great flood of our souls
Bursting above the leaf-shapes of our hearts,
You are the smell of all Summers,
The love of wives and children,
The recollection of gardens of little children . . .

— Amy Lowell, from “Lilacs

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