Pasadena, California

The garden terrace of the Myron Hunt house, 200 North Grand Avenue, Pasadena, California, 1917, a hand-colored glass lantern slide by Frances Benjamin Johnston, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

This looks like such a tranquil and comfortable garden space — while at the same time, just a little mysterious. If you look closely, you can see that there is a simple rope and board swing hanging from a tree limb in the center, and at least one of the chairs is a rocking chair.

Hunt was a successful architect in Southern California in the first half of the 20th century. He designed this house and garden for himself in 1905. Today, the house survives, but the garden is gone.

There is another Johnston image of the garden here, looking across an open garden room to the steps and elevated bust shown above.

Cheshire County, N.H.


“Ladies playing croquet,” probably Cheshire County, New Hampshire, ca. 1900, by Bion Whitehouse, via Keene Public Library and the Historical Society of Cheshire County Commons on flickr.

Technically, they are playing roque, an American variant* of croquet, which is played on a hard sand or clay surface. Introduced in the late 1880s, it was extremely popular in the first few decades of the 20th century — and an Olympic sport in 1904 — and then almost entirely disappeared after the 1950s.

The roque grounds.

The photo above was published between 1900 and 1919, photographer unknown. It is part of the Termaine Arkley Croquet Collection and via UBC (University of British Columbia) Library Digitization Centre Commons on flickr.

There’s also a photo of 1918 roque grounds in Florida here.


*There is also a modern game of beach croquet.

San Francisco, California

Palace of Horticulture, Panama-Pacific International Exhibition, San Francisco, California, 1915, an autochrome by an unknown photographer, via George Eastman Museum Commons on flickr.

The Exhibition was open from February to December 1915 and celebrated the completion of the Panama Canal in 1914. It also showcased the city’s recovery from the devastating 1906 earthquake. Its palaces and halls were built on a 635-acre site along the city’s northern shore, between the Presidio and Fort Mason.

“Constructed from temporary materials (primarily staff, a combination of plaster and burlap fiber), almost all the fair’s various buildings and attractions were pulled down in late 1915,” according to Wikipedia.

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.