Uptown garden


“Artist’s uptown residence,” New York City, ca. 1860, via Robert Dennis Collection of Stereoscopic Views, New York Public Library.

Detail from above image.

Upper Manhattan at this time was rapidly transforming from country to city — as villages and small farms became blocks of middle-class rowhouses. This backyard, with its neat latticed sitting area and then large cabbage garden, seems to encapsulate the change.

Detail.

Unfortunately, we don’t have the name of the artist or the address. Is he one of the two men in top hats sitting by the door, or was she standing in front of them, balancing a small boy on the fence — or maybe taking the picture?

Vintage landscape: O cabbage gardens

cabbage garden, FBJohnson collection, Library of CongressCabbages in the vegetable garden of Chelmsford, Greenwich, Connecticut, ca. 1914, by Frances Benjamin Johnston, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Alaska cabbage garden, via Library of CongressA cottage garden in Alaska, between 1909-1920. By National Photo Company, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Puerto Rico cabbage garden, ca. 1941, J. Delano, Library of CongressWoman in her garden, Puerto Rico, Winter 1941/42, by Jack Delano, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

cabbage garden, Maxey Hse, Paris TX, flickrThe vegetable garden and cold frames of the Maxey House, Paris, Texas, undated, from the Samuel Bell Maxey Collection, via Texas State Archives Commons on flickr.

Norris gardenMrs. Jim Norris with homegrown cabbage, Pie Town, New Mexico, October 1940, by Russell Lee, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

eternity swallows up time
                        O cabbage gardens
summer’s elegy
                        sunset survived

Susan Howe, from “Cabbage Gardens