The winter garden: Parmelee house

Washington conservatory, Library of CongressThe conservatory of “The Causeway,”  or James Parmelee house, Northwest Washington, D.C., 1919, by Frances Benjamin Johnston, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

The estate has also been called Twin Oaks and Tregaron.  Its 1912 house still stands, and some of the land is a campus for the Washington International School.

James Parmelee was a Cleveland financier and co-founder of the National Carbon Company.

More winter gardens are here.

Vintage landscape: yellow plums

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Yellow plums inside the conservatory at Blizhniaia dacha, Kyshtym, Russia, by Sergeĭ Mikhaĭlovich Prokudin-Gorskiĭ, 1910, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Prokudin-Gorskiĭ made early color photographic surveys of the Russian Empire between 1905 and 1915.

The winter garden: the White House

Violet house section of the White House conservatory, early 1900s, by Barnett McFee Clinedinst
The violet house section of the White House conservatory, early 1900s, by Barnett McFee Clinedinst

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a whole greenhouse devoted to growing violets for the house during the cold weather months?

Or orchids and palms?

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Frances Benjamin Johnston took the above photographs (except one) in 1889 and 1890.

Or azaleas?

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A large conservatory complex occupied the west side of the White House from 1857. . .

The White House and conservatory in 1857 by Lewis Emory Walker.
The White House and conservatory in 1857 by Lewis Emory Walker.

until 1902, when the West Wing was built.

The greenhouses in 1889 by Frances Benjamin Johnston.
The greenhouses in 1889 by Frances Benjamin Johnston.

All photos above via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Four more winter gardens are here.

The perfect loveliness that God has made,—
Wild violets shy and Heaven-mounting dreams.

Alice Moore Dunbar-Nelson, from “Sonnet

The winter garden: cacti in Pittsburgh

The winter garden/enclos*ure: Cacti House at the Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh between 1900 and 1910, via Library of Congress.“Cacti, Phipps (Schenley Park) Conservatory, Schenley Park, Pittsburgh, Pa.,” ca 1900-1910, by Detroit Publishing Co., via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

The Cacti House was added to the Phipps Conservatory in 1902. (The conservatory had been founded in 1893.)

Today the space is called the Desert Room.

There are two more winter gardens here and here.

Thousands of these gray-green
cacti cross the valley:
nature repeating itself. . .

Brenda Hillman, from “Saguaro

The winter garden: Mark Twain House

Conservatory, Mark Twain House, HABS, Library of CongressThe conservatory of the Mark Twain House, viewed from the library, Hartford, Connecticut, photographer not noted.*

Samuel Clemens (aka Twain) and his wife built the house in 1874 in a prestigious neighborhood, which included the homes of Harriet Beecher Stowe, garden writer Charles Dudley Warner, and suffragist Isabella Beecher Hooker.

“The Clemenses were known for their ostentatious lifestyle and entertaining,” according to the HABS. “[T]he house was fitted with the most advanced technological equipment of the day, including a telephone, speaking tubes and bells, burglar alarm, gas lighting, central heating, and extensive plumbing.”

The floor of the conservatory is pea gravel.

Another winter garden is here.

Climate is what we expect, weather is what we get.

— Mark Twain


*The photo is part of a 1983 Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS), via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.  You can see and read more of this survey here.