The Sunday porch: Strawberry Hill

My first “Sunday porch,” from August 2013. . .
Vintage Photo of Strawberry Hill, Forkland vic., Greene County, Alabama, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Strawberry Hill plantation, Greene County, Alabama, in 1939, by Frances Benjamin Johnston, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

The front porch is often a box seat for the theater of the garden or the street.  This one seems to have half drawn its curtains against the buzzing, chirping action of the cottage garden below.

Strawberry Hill, 1936, HABS, Library of Congress
Strawberry Hill, November 1936, by Alex Bush, for HABS, via Library of Congress.

The mid-19th century house still exists, although without the vines and flowers.  Its surrounding land is now a cattle ranch.

The Downing Urn

Still looking through some photos that I took this fall, when we visited Washington, D.C. . .

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I admired the Andrew Jackson Downing Urn in the Enid A. Haupt Garden behind the Smithsonian Institution Castle. It was designed by Downing’s architectural partner, Calvert Vaux, and sculpted from marble by Robert E. Launitz several years after Downing’s death.

In 1850, Andrew Jackson Downing transformed the Mall into the nation’s first landscaped public park using informal, romantic arrangements of circular carriage drives and plantings of rare American trees. Downing’s design endured until 1934, when the Mall was restored to Pierre L’Enfant’s 1791 plan. Downing (1815-1852), the father of American landscape architecture, also designed the White House and Capitol grounds.

The memorial urn stood on the Mall near the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History for 109 years (1856-1965). In 1972, it was restored and placed on the lawn east of the Smithsonian Building (“Castle”) flag tower. In 1987, it was relocated to the Rose Garden at the Castle’s east door. The urn was moved to its location in the Enid A. Haupt Garden in 1989.”

– text of the plaque near the foot of the urn’s pedestal

I wonder where the urn will go in the new design plans for the area, recently released by the Smithsonian.

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