Florence, Italy


Pergola covered in wisteria and ivy in a garden of Villa Palmieri, Florence, ca. 1915, from the Arthur Peck Collection, via Oregon State University (OSU) Special Collections & Archives Commons on flickr.

The 14th century Villa Palmieri is credited with being the story-telling setting for Boccaccio’s Decameron.

To see this garden, its handsome ordering, the plants, and the fountain with rivulets issuing from it, was so pleasing to each lady and the three young men that all began to affirm that, if Paradise could be made on earth, they couldn’t conceive a form other than that of this garden that might be given it.

However, the garden was completely restructured in 1697 and then partially redesigned several times thereafter, according to current fashions, through to the 1920s.

Since 1986, the villa has been owned by the Italian government and houses part of the European University Institute.

Arthur Peck was a Professor of Landscape Architecture at the Oregon Agricultural College from 1908 to 1948. During his long career, he created a teaching library of 24 boxes of glass lantern slides — now in OSU’s archives.

Vintage landscape: Louisville, Kentucky

Colonade, Louisville, Ky, park, Library of CongressColonnade, Central Park, Louisville, Kentucky, between 1900 and 1910, Detroit Publishing Co., via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

The park’s 17 acres were owned by the Dupont family in the 1870s, yet open for public use as “Dupont Square.”  In 1883, the space — temporarily “roofed in” — was used to demonstrate Thomas Edison’s light bulb.

In 1904, the Duponts sold the land to the city, and Frederick Law Olmsted, who was already working in Louisville, designed a large open-air shelter and colonnade for the park’s high point.  The colonnade still exists and is undergoing restoration.

Vintage landscape: the sunken garden

Vintage landscape/enclos*ure: sunken garden, Hammersmith Farm, 1917, by F.B. Johnston, via Library of Congress. . . at Hammersmith Farm, Newport, Rhode Island, 1917, by Frances Benjamin Johnston, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Vintage landscape/enclos*ure: sunken garden, Hammersmith Farm, 1917, by F.B. Johnston, via Library of CongressThe pergola overlooking the sunken garden. The hand-colored lantern slide is also by Johnston from 1917.

The house, originally on 75 acres, was built for the great-grandfather of Jackie Kennedy’s stepfather.  She lived there during her childhood, and her wedding reception was held there.

The garden at the time of the photo had been designed about 7 years before by James Frederick Dawson and Henry Hill Blossom of Olmsted Brothers. Today, the house still stands, but the garden is not the same, according to the Library’s online catalogue.