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.

Vintage landscape: Enniscorthy

Garden w:birdbath, FB Johnston, Library of CongressGarden at Enniscorthy, the Cole-Morrill house, Albemarle County, Virginia, 1932, by Frances Benjamin Johnston, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

The 1850 house still exists, and its 500 acres have been placed in a conservation easement. An earlier home on the plantation sheltered Thomas Jefferson’s family when the British raided Monticello in 1780.

Vintage landscape: Yorktown, Va.

More big (boxwood) love.  .  .

#1, Nelson Hse. garden, ca. 1930, FBJohnston, LoC“‘York Hall,’ Captain George Preston Blow house, . . . Main Street, Yorktown, Virginia. Table in boxwood garden,” 1929, by Frances Benjamin Johnston.*

The house is more often called the Nelson House for the family that built it in the 1740s and owned it throughout the 19th century.  George and Adele Blow purchased it and began to restore it in 1914.  In 1968, it became a National Park Service site.

#2, Nelson hse., 1903, WHJackson, LoCThe front of the house and Main Street as it appeared about 1902. Photo by William Henry Jackson for Detroit Photographic Co.

#4, Nelson Hse., c. 1915, HABS, LoC The front of Nelson House in 1915. This photo is part of an Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS).

(There’s a photo of the front of the house and the younger boxwoods in 1862 here.)

#5, Nelson Hse., c. 1915, HABS, LoCThe front door, inside the boxwood hedge, 1915, HABS.

#9, view from hall, Nelson house, ca. 1915, LoCThe center hall, looking out the front door, 1915, HABS (photo cropped by me).

#6, Nelson Hse., c. 1915, HABS, LoCThe side view of the house, ca. 1915 (I think it may be later), HABS.  The front boxwood hedge is on the left.

#16, Nelson Hse, ca. 1930s, FBJohnston, LoCThe side garden in the 1930s by Frances Benjamin Johnston.

The garden during the Blow’s ownership was designed by Charles Freeman Gillette, a landscape architect known for working in the Colonial Revival style. Today, little remains.  The giant boxwoods at the front of the house are gone.

#19, Nelson Hse, ca. 1930s, FBJohnston, LoCAnother view of the side garden in the 1930s by  Frances Benjamin Johnston.

More big boxwood photos here and here and here and here.


*All photos here via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.