Pompeii, Italy

Peristyle of the House of the Golden (or Gilded) Cupids, Pompeii, Italy, March 28, 1921, by Auguste Léon, via Archives of the Planet Collection – Albert Kahn Museum /Département des Hauts-de-Seine.

There are recent photos of the garden here and here and here. It has been restored to what is believed to be its Roman appearance, based on archaeological research, including taking root castings.

This autochrome is one of about seventy-two thousand that were commissioned and then archived by Albert Kahn, a wealthy French banker and pacifist, between 1909 and 1931. Kahn sent thirteen photographers and filmmakers to fifty countries “to fix, once and for all, aspects, practices, and modes of human activity whose fatal disappearance is no longer ‘a matter of time.'”* The resulting collection is called Archives de la Planète and now resides in its own museum at Kahn’s old suburban estate at Boulogne-Billancourt, just west of Paris. Since June 2016, the archive has also been available for viewing online here.


*words of Albert Kahn, 1912. Also, the above photo (A 25 797 S) is © Collection Archives de la Planète – Musée Albert-Kahn and used under its terms, here.

Life in gardens: Ax-les-Thermes

1906 garden with steps in France, Bibliotheque ToulouseThe walled garden of Chalet Magazin, Ax-les-Thermes,  France,” July 1906, by Eugène Trutat, via Bibliothèque de Toulouse Commons on flickr.

From over the wall I could hear the laughter of women
in a foreign tongue, in the sun-rinsed air of the city. . . .

. . .  the sound filled up the garden and lifted

like bubbles spilling over the bricks that enclosed them. . .

Mary-Sherman Willis, from “The Laughter of Women

A view of Sibylle’s garden

Small urban garden by Sibylle Pietrek, Gartenblick/enclos*ure

Back in October, I posted some photos from photographer Sibylle Pietrek’s blog Gartenblick (Garden View) of her small dachterrasse or roof terrace.

Today, I wanted to show you her garden on the ground —  on a mid-summer morning, a few days ago.

Sibylle says that the garden at the back of her rowhouse is 450 sq. meters (4,844 sq. ft.)  and “close to town,” which would be Dusseldorf.

I love the combination of clipped boxwood with the mix of flowers and grasses that, lit from behind, conjure up a sliver of meadow.

Small urban garden by Sibylle Pietrek, Gartenblick/enclos*ure

Above is the garden in May (with Sibylle). In the post, she wrote: “Do not go out in the midday sun in the garden, but only in the early morning, when the back light streaks across the tulips; it looks great.”

Urban garden by Sibylle Pietrek, Gartenblick/enclos*ure

Sibylle’s garden and her photography have also been featured in the magazine Gärtnern leicht gemacht (Gardening Made Easy).

Urban garden by Sibylle Pietrek, Gartenblick/enclos*ure

All the above photos: ©Sibylle Pietrek, used here with permission.

I see the wild flowers, in their summer morn
Of beauty, feeding on joy’s luscious hours. . .

— John Clare, from “Summer Images”