Blue and silver

Château de Dampierre: the château’s façade from the garden side, with a formal parterre garden in the foreground,” Dampierre-en-Yvelines, France, July 8, 1936, a hand-colored glass lantern slide by an unknown photographer, via Archives of American Gardens, Garden Club of America Collection, Smithsonian Institution (used here by permission).

The Archives holds over 60,000 photos and records documenting 6,300 historic and contemporary American gardens.  At its core are almost 3,000 hand-colored glass lantern and 35mm slides donated by the Garden Club of America, which is the source of this image.

(Click on the picture to enlarge it.)


“Sunnie-Holme,” Fairfield, Connecticut, ca. 1930, a hand-colored glass lantern slide by John Duer Scott, via Archives of American Gardens, Smithsonian Institution Commons on flickr.

Sunnie-Holme was the summer residence of Annie Burr Jennings, whose father made fortunes in the California gold rush and as an investor in Standard Oil.  She designed at least some of the garden, influenced by the writings of Gertrude Jekyll. The house was demolished after her death in 1939 — a provision of her will. There is a photo here.

Pasadena, California

A repeat post from July 2013. . .
1930 Pasadena garden, Archives of American Gardens, Smithsonian Institution Unidentified garden in Pasadena, California, 1930, by Diggers Garden Club, via Archives of American Gardens, Garden Club of America Collection, Smithsonian Institution Commons on flickr.

Simple, elegant, and a little mysterious. . .

The Diggers Garden Club was founded in 1924 and still exists today.  It is a member of the Garden Club of America (which celebrated its centennial in 2013).

At its 75th anniversary, the GCA donated 3,000 glass lantern slides (of which this is one) and over 30,000 film slides to the Smithsonian Institution’s Archives of American Gardens.  Its members continue to contribute to the collection, which now has over 60,000 images.

Many of the gardens pictured in the Archives’ slides are unidentified.  The Smithsonian is asking the public’s help in finding names and locations.  Click here to view its “Mystery Gardens Initiative.”

I do think a garden should be seductive. The strength of any garden is its ability to take you away.

— David L. Culp, in “3,000 Plants, and Then Some,” The New York Times.

The Sunday porch: as backdrop

What better setting for some summertime snapshots than a charming porch dripping with vines?

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These are the Cabot children (and probably their mother), photographed by Thomas Warren Sears and via the Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Gardens, Thomas Warren Sears Collection.*

The Archives’ website says that these images were taken in 1930, but I would guess between 1900 and 1910, based on the clothing.

Sears studied landscape architecture at Harvard University between about 1900 and 1906. During that time, he also won awards for his amateur photography. One can well imagine him taking his camera to the summer home of friends and taking some casual pictures.

After graduation, he worked for Olmsted Brothers Landscape Architects.  By 1913, he had established his own office in Philadelphia, from where he designed various types of landscapes in the mid-Atlantic region until the mid 1960s.

The Archives of American Gardens holds over 4,600 of his black and white glass negatives and glass lantern slides taken between c. 1900 and 1966.

Earlier this month, the Archives announced the acquisition of the Ken Druse Garden Photography Collection, which includes thousands of transparencies and slides of over 300 American gardens.  Selected images will eventually be added to the Smithsonian’s online catalogue.

Little girl. . . .

She has things to do,
you can tell. Places to explore
beyond the frame .  .  .

— Tami Haaland, from “Little Girl,” from When We Wake in the Night

*Used with permission.

Shadow-chequer’d lawn

Grosse Pointe, Michigan, garden, 1930, Archives of American gardens, Smithsonian Institution
Unidentified garden in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, 1930, photographer unknown, via Archives of American Gardens, Smithsonian Institution Commons on flickr.

Thence thro’ the garden I was drawn—
A realm of pleasance, many a mound,
And many a shadow-chequer’d lawn. . . .

— Alfred, Lord Tennyson, from “Recollections of the Arabian Nights