The Sunday porch: French Riviera

1 full view, Poincare Residence, Eze, France, ca. 1914, University Caen Basse…The property of M. [Raymond] Poincaré in Èze.  The gardens and the main entrance of the house,” ca. 1914 – ca. 1918, photographer unknown, via the Université de Caen Basse-Normandie Commons on flickr.

Èze is located on the southeastern coast of France, not far from Nice. The Mediterranean was just beyond the railings above.

Detail, Poincare Residence, Eze, France, ca. 1914, University of Caen Basse-Normandie

(To scroll through a number of larger versions of the photo, click on ‘Continue reading’ below and then on any thumbnail in the gallery.)

Raymond Poincaré was President of France from 1913 to 1920.  He had been both Prime Minister and Foreign Minister (simultaneously) during all of 1912.

. . . I  decided this time not to go to Sampigny but to stay somewhere on the Mediterranean. After brief research, I rented, in the Alpes-Maritimes, at the foot of the small town of Saracen Eze-sur-Mer, a quiet villa, hidden in the pine trees. . . . [I]t has an incomparable view of the sea. By winning this early retirement, I am not unhappy to escape a little to the embrace of my job, but at least I have the impression that the state of Europe, while still unstable, allows me to breathe more freely. Peace seems restored in the Balkans. Our relations with all Powers are normal. Whatever the new influences acting on William II, France was determined not provide any pretext for war. It’s almost a feeling of rest and security I feel, when I’ll salute the French Riviera the spring of 1914.

— Raymond Poincaré, from his memoirs.

You can see an image of the long terrace of the house in April 1914 here.

Continue reading “The Sunday porch: French Riviera”

A walk around a Kigali nursery

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Green Passion plant nursery — which I visited yesterday — has beautiful, healthy plants and knowledgable owners who speak French and English.

It’s located on Avenue du Lac Kivu in Kigali, Rwanda.

You can scroll through larger images by clicking on ‘Continue reading’ below.

Continue reading “A walk around a Kigali nursery”

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: palms

Winter garden:enclos*ure - Glover House, via Library of Congress“Glover House, Washington, D.C.(?),” c. 1900, a cyanotype by Frances Benjamin Johnston, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

I haven’t been able to find out anything certain about Glover House.  It seems possible that it was the home of Charles Carroll Glover, who purchased and then donated the land for Rock Creek Park in Washington, D.C., in the 1870s. (He lived at “Westover,” at 4300 Massachusetts Ave., N.W., which is now a modern townhouse development.)

He and  Johnston moved in the same social circles at the turn of the 19th century. As part of her photography business, she took pictures of the homes of many wealthy Washingtonians (and the White House).

Three more winter gardens are here.

The palm at the end of the mind,
Beyond the last thought, rises
In the bronze decor. . .

Wallace Stevens, from “Of Mere Being