Natchez, Mississippi

Myrtle Bank terrace, Natchez, Mississippi, ca. 1900, from the Stewart Photograph Collection,* via Mississippi Department of Archives and History Commons on flickr (both photos).

The two houses shown here are about two blocks from each other, both on N. Pearl Street.

Major Benbrook residence, corner with B Street, ca. 1895, also from the Stewart Collection.

The neighborhood evidently had good water pressure. Both houses still stand.

In ancient Greece, the first hoses (for fire fighting) were made from ox intestines. In the late 17th century, Jan van der Heiden and his son sewed leather into long tubes for Amsterdam’s fire department. Then, in 1821 Boston, James Boyd invented a rubber-lined, cotton-webbed hose. By the 1870s, the first rubber and cotton fiber hoses for gardeners appeared on the market.

In 1895, a garden hose was the subject of what is believed to be the first comedy film, L’Arroseur Arroséby Louis Lumière. You can see it here.


*By brothers Robert Livingston Stewart and William Percy Stewart of Natchez, Mississippi, from ca. 1890 to ca. 1905.

New York City


The finishing touch. . .

Schoolchildren’s victory gardens on 1st Avenue between 35th and 36th Streets, New York City, June 1944, by Edward Meyer for U.S. Office of War Information, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division (all photos here).


The first taste.

The location was St. Gabriel’s Park at the time of the photos. It is now called St. Vartan Park.

Please click on any of the thumbnails below to see a few more pictures of this garden.

Life in gardens: delicately

Aileen Parker, by John Boyd, 1920s, Library and Archives Canada“Aileen Parker watering a garden with a hose, Toronto, Ontario,” June 26, 1920, by John Boyd, via Library and Archives Canada on flickr (used under CC license).

. . . To love,
this song of water,
the insects work their garden long into the sun,
and the apples, still far away,
dream October.

— Richard Barnes, from “Watering the Lawn

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day for August

Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer . . .

by our water hoses.

We are just below the equator here in Rwanda, so technically it is near the end of winter — and of the long dry season, which began in May and normally ends in September.

But last night there was a light rain for about seven hours, so today I don’t need to water anything in the garden, not even the new plants.

The cutting garden (left) and the vegetable garden (right).
The cutting garden (left) and the vegetable garden (right).

We’ve really cut back on watering this year, anyway — none for the grass and a lot less for the planting beds. The grass is going brown, but we still have a lot of flowers, particularly my stalwarts, yellow daylilies and pink gerbera daisies.

The vegetable garden with kale, sunflowers, Missouri primroses, nasturtiums.
The vegetable garden with kale, sunflowers, Missouri primroses, nasturtiums.

My biggest project in the last month has been to tackle our mess of a vegetable garden, which has consisted of several not very productive, but very wide and long raised beds.  Their dimensions just weren’t manageable, so we’ve dug new paths and now all the beds are about 4′ x 5′.

Orange nasturtium in our vegetable garden.
Orange nasturtium bloom in our vegetable garden.

Growing among the argula, lettuce, kale, strawberry, and tomato plants are also celosias, nasturtiums, Missouri primroses, and sunflowers.

Sunflower (one of the shorter varieties) in our vegetable garden.
Sunflower (one of the shorter varieties) in our vegetable garden.
The garden with celosia, feverfew, supports for tomatoes and beans, with lettuce gone to seed in the back.
Our still rather disorderly garden with celosia, feverfew, supports for tomatoes, with a row of lettuce going to seed along the back.

Recently, I tried to grow American hardy hibiscus from seed (in the vegetable garden, where the soil is best), and, despite the fact that I have always read that this is a very easy thing to do, only about ten seedlings appeared from two packets of seeds, and for weeks they have remained at 2″ tall.

Nothing at all came up from a packet of black-eyed Susan seeds; only one plant from a packet of Verbena bonariensis.  However, alpine strawberry seeds have produced about 15 plants.

Lettuce flowers.
Lettuce flowers.

I have also done well with re-seeding lettuce, dill, basil, garlic chives, and coriander and with rooted rosemary cuttings. I have high hopes for my cherry tomato plants, many of which have clusters of tiny fruit.

Feverfew in the vegetable garden.
Feverfew in the vegetable garden.
Celosia in the vegetable garden. The fading blooms are full of seeds.
Celosia in the vegetable garden. The fading blooms are full of seeds.

In the long flower border along the lower lawn, I have one bloom from several purple coneflower plants that I have grown from seed.

The first coneflower bloom.
The first coneflower bloom from plants I grew from seed.

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day is the 15th day of every month.  Check out May Dreams Gardens to see what’s blooming in other garden bloggers’ gardens today.