Sunnie-Holme


“Sunnie-Holme,” Fairfield, Connecticut, ca. 1930, a hand-colored glass lantern slide by John Duer Scott, via Archives of American Gardens, Smithsonian Institution Commons on flickr.

Sunnie-Holme was the summer residence of Annie Burr Jennings, whose father made fortunes in the California gold rush and as an investor in Standard Oil.  She designed at least some of the garden, influenced by the writings of Gertrude Jekyll. The house was demolished after her death in 1939 — a provision of her will. There is a photo here.

In a vase on Monday: grape hyacinths

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On Saturday, I wandered around the downtown Stuttgart flower market admiring all the blooming spring bulbs — which were being sold both potted and as cut flowers (pictures below). I bought some cut tulips and then went to Butler’s for a vase and another container of seashell chips. On the way home, I stopped at a florist and bought a little pot of forced Muscari, or grape hyacinth, bulbs.

I think I should have set the bulbs lower in the vase, but I didn’t want to disturb their rootball, which I covered with the chips.

Click on any thumbnail in the gallery below to scroll through photos of the flower market.

To see what other gardeners have put in a vase today, visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden.

Life in gardens: Woodbine

Woodbine, Iowa, 1940, J. Vachon, Library of Congress“Planting a garden in the backyard, Woodbine, Iowa,” May 1940, by John Vachon, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division (both photos here).

Woodbine, Iowa, 1940, Library of Congress

In the spring of 1940, John Vachon was on assignment for the Farm Security Administration in the Midwest.

. . . I photographed Spring – clothes blowing on the wash line, kids playing marbles, women planting backyard gardens, blossoms on trees.

— John Vachon’s journal

Woodbine is a town of about 1,400 people on the Boyer River.  It was named for the woodbine vine (Parthenocissus vitacea) by the wife of the first postmaster, according to the community’s website.

The lantern slides

This is really exciting.  Yesterday, the Library of Congress released online the digital images of more than 1,000 hand-colored, glass-plate lantern slides of gardens taken (mostly) by Frances Benjamin Johnston.

The images in the collection were taken from 1895 to 1935.  Originally black and white photographs, Johnston had them hand tinted and made into slides to illustrate her popular garden lectures, which she gave to garden clubs, horticultural societies, and museum audiences from 1915 to 1930.  As part of the Garden Beautiful Movement, she encouraged Americans to grow gardens on tenement lots, in row-house yards and in parks, which had deteriorated from industrial pollution and neglect during the Gilded Age.

The slides have not been seen in public since Johnston last projected them during her lectures.  They depict more than 200 sites — primarily private gardens — in all regions of the United States and in Europe.  The entire collection, 1,130 digital images, can be found in the Library’s Prints and Photographs Online Catalog, here.

I’ve just begun to enjoy this beautiful resource, but here are 11 images that I pulled out quickly during my first enthusiastic look.

The photo above is of Chateau of Bréau, Dammarie-les-Lys, Seine-et-Marne, France.  July 1925. (Click any photo to enlarge it.)

The Touchstone Garden, New York, New York. Sculpture exhibition, summer 1919.

“Cliveden,” Viscount Waldorf Astor house, Taplow, Buckingham, England.  Long Garden, summer 1925.

Myron Hunt house, 200 North Grand Avenue, Pasadena, California. Garden Terrace, spring 1917.

“Inellan,” Walter Douglas house, Channel Drive, Montecito, California.  Pathway to Pacific Ocean, spring 1917.

“Flagstones,” Charles Clinton Marshall house, 117 East 55th Street, New York, New York.  Tea house/sleeping porch.

“Gray Gardens,” Robert Carmer Hill house, Lily Pond Lane, East Hampton, New York, New York.  View to Garden Trellis.

West Potomac Park, Washington, D.C.  Irises along the embankment, April 1905.

Dr. Charles William Richardson house, Chevy Chase, Washington, D.C.   Irises, 1921.

“The Fens,” Lorenzo Easton Woodhouse house, Hunting Lane, East Hampton, New York. Pergola, 1914.

Unidentified city garden, probably in New York, New York.  Pathway, 1922.

A selection of 250 of the color images can also be seen in a new book by house and garden historian Sam Watters, Gardens for a Beautiful America, 1895-1935: Photographs by Frances Benjamin Johnston.  It will be published this month by Acanthus Press, in association with the Library. ($79, here — not yet available.)

The Library of Congress is the repository of Johnston’s personal papers and approximately 20,000 photographs. But the lantern slides lacked garden names, locations, and dates and, therefore, had not been released to  general public access.  Watters took on the challenge of cataloging the collection, and after five years of research in libraries and archives, he has transformed vague earlier library notations into detailed data.  For example, an unlabeled slide was recognized as a prize winner in a 1922 design contest and is now identified as “The Janitor’s Garden, 137 E. 30th St., New York City.”

For more information about Frances Benjamin Johnston, see here and here.