Thursday, November 29, 2012

Joseph Prentis (1754-1809) His Garden Book 1784-1788 in Williamsburg, Virginia

Joseph Prentis (1754-1809) was a Virginia politician who loved to garden. He represented Williamsburg in the Virginia House of Delegates, and served as that body's Speaker from 1786 until 1788.

Garden Book 1784-1788

Garden Book - March 1784

Sowed Earth Pease in the square next chimney, the 17th.

19. Sowed Rape seed in same square.

Glory of England sowed same Day in square next street oposite.

19. Sowed Carrots in this square.

19. Transplanted Rose Bushes an dRaspbarries

19. Sowed Lettuce seed.

19. Planted square; Beans

29. Sowed Parsley

23d Mar. Sowed Carrott seed Rhadish, Cresses.

April 1st

Sowed Marrow fats

Planted Ovio [?] Planted Flowering peas, sowed Endive, set out Garlick & Onions.


April 2d sowed Colliflower, Savoy Cabbage. Celery Seed.

August 1st Transplanted three rows of Colliflower Brocoli from seed saved this psring.

Transplanted solid Celery.

3.d August.
Sowed two Rows of six week Peas.
Two Rows of Dwarf marrow fats.

Sowed Lettuce seed, on border on left Hand under small Paling in the large Garden.

7th Au.
Sowed four Rows Peas opposite to those sown 3.d

Sowed Lettuce under North Paling. & Garden.

28 Sowed Lettuce on small Border under Yard Pales

28 Planted out Strawberrys in both Gardens.

January 1787
Sowed Peas on the Border of the north Paling on the 17th day of Jany (all rotted)

19th Planted three tows of large Hotspur Beans in Est Garden

Sowed Cabbage seed on north Border, in E. Garden

Feby 19 Sowed Lettuce & Cabbage from E. shore on Border of White Pales in E. Garden

23d Sowed Peas on the north Border, in the place where they were put the 17th Jany, these are of the six Week

February 1788

13th Sowed Peas on the Border of the E. Garden under the north paling in double rows.

15 Planted Mazagan Beans 7 first Rows in first square in E. Garden.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Joseph Prentis (1754-1809) His Monthly Garden Kalender 1775-1779 - Williamsburg, Virginia

Joseph Prentis (1754-1809) was a Virginia politician who loved to garden. He represented Williamsburg in the Virginia House of Delegates, and served as that body's Speaker from 1786 until 1788.

The Monthly Kalender [1775-1779]

In the beginning of this month, if the weather is open, sow Almans Hotspur Pease, Hotspur Beans or the long podded Bean;
In frost weather break the dead wood, from your Raspberry Bushes, and get in Dung,

The first of this month, sow Ormans Master Hotspur, Charltons Hot Spur and Marrow fat Peas, and plant Windsor Beans, Flip Currant and Gooseberry Bushes, and set out the flips.
On the day that the Moon fulls, sow Onions and throw Lettuce, and Rhadish with your Onions.
In the Decrease of the Moon, sow carrots, Parsnips, Spinach, Parseley, Celery, Garden Crefses white Mustard, Cabbage and Colworts.
In the Middle of this Month plant out Cabbages and Colworts, In the last week set out flips of Box.
This is too early for Carrots they will many of them go to seed, ---even if sowed in February. About the 12 or 15 of March I think the best time for sowing Carrots and Parsnips.

Sow all kinds of Peas and Beans, and all forts of feeds. Plant Broad and French Beans, set out Cabbages and Colworts, the flips of Raspberries and Currants, and Gooseberries,
Thyme, fage Baum, Winter favory HySsop, Featherfew Rue, Wormwood, Pot Marjoram, Mint, Tansey, Lavender, Burnett, Scellendine, and Rosemary.
After a rain plnat out Cucumber feed.
Set out Asparagus as follows,
Dig a trench as wide as you intend your beds to be, and two feed deep, lay a layer of Oyster Shells, six Inches, then lay on Six Inches of Horse Dung, and as much Mould, continue so to do, till the Bed is done. Take your Roots raised from feed, and set them out in Rows, a foot Wide let there be a space of about a foot between each Row.

The first of this Month sow, your last Crop of Peas; plant French Beans; Spade up your Artichoak Bed and flip the Plants; leaving two of the Strongest in a Hill.
Sow Cabbage, Lettuce, Rhadish, White Mustard and Cresses Seeds.
Plant our your Cabbages. Sow Colliflower Seed Celery, Cresses, Nasturian Lettuce. Salsafy early in the Month.

Sow Colliflower, and Cabbage Seeds. Last of this month sow Brocoli, Celery, Cucumbers for Pickles Endive: Featherfew Le Melons, Peas, Radishes -twice- , Kidney Beans.

Plant Cucumbers and Broad Beans---or french Beans.
About the Middle of this Month sow Brocoli Seed. Sow Cabbages, also Rhadishes twice, transplant your Cabbages, prick out Colliflowers, and Brocoli. Draw up all your Weeds by the Roots.

The first of this month plant out Cabbages, and Celery; observing to Water to Ground if it is dry.
About the middle of this Month plant Colliflowers 3 ½ feet distances in very rich Ground. The last of this month sow Carrots and Peas. Transplant your Brocoli to stand, take up your onions. Sow Turnep Seed, plant Kidney Beans.

Sow Onion Seed, the first day of this Month with Rhadish and Lettuce, also Garden Cresses and White Mustard, Carrots may now be sown.
12th August, Sow peas for the Fall, about the same time sow Spinach, Turneps, Rhadishes.

The first of this Month sow Colliflower and Cabbage Seed, and also some Rhadish. After the full of the Moon, sow Spinage. The last of this Month, take your Colliflowers, and plnat them on Beds, to stand till November. This will prevent their flowering.
About the 10th sow your Colliflower Seed, plant cuttings of Currants, also of Gooseberrys, plant layers of Raspberries, plant out Strawberries dress your Strawberry Borders.

Dung your Ground, in order to plant Cabbages set them out on Beds to prevent the Waters standing. Dress your Borders.
20th transplant your Colliflowers, Last of this Month cut down your Asparagus and cover the Beds well with Manure.

In the beginning of this Month lay up the Earth to your artichokes, and fill the space between with Horse Dung, and Litter.
The first Week in this Month, plant out your Colliflowers as follows; Prepare your Ground as for as Hot Bed, then dig a trench Spade Deep; and two feed and a half Wide, make holes at convenient distances, set five Plants in each hole, put your Glasses on, raise them on the South side, when it is warm; plant out three of these plants in the first week in March.
During this month cut your asparagus close to the Ground, cover the Beds, with Horse Dung, then throw the Earth, out of the Vallies over the Horse Dung. Fork them up in March, and fill the allies again from the Beds.
Plant every thing of the Tree or Shrub kind. Prune your Trees and Vines. Take up your Colliflowers, if flowered, and House them.

The first of this Month, take up your Carrots, cut the tops off; and put them in a hole. When the Frost has bit your Parsnips; dispose of them in the same Manner.
If the weather be open, about the 20th of this Month, sow Almans Hotspur Peas, when they come up, earth them up to the Tops, don’t cover them.
Cover your Celery and every thing else that can be destroyed by the Frost.

Friday, November 23, 2012

1806 M'Mahon's Work to be Done in the Kitchen Garden in January

Bernard M'Mahon's 1806 American Gardener's Calendar published in Philadelphia

Work to be Done in the Kitchen Garden in January

IN such parts of the Union, where the ground is not at this time bound up with frost, continue to dig the waste quarters of your kitchen garden, first giving them such manure as they require; laying them in high sloping ridges, to sweeten and be improved by the frost, &e. more especially if the soil be of a stiff nature: by which method, its adhesion is destroyed, the pores are opened for the admission of air, frost, rain and dews, all of which abounding with nitrous salts, contribute, in a high degree, towards its melioration and fertility ; and besides a great quantity of ground thus prepared, can be soon leveled in the spring for sowing or planting; which, if neglected, would require much time to dig in a proper manner, and that at a period, when the throng of business requires every advantage of previous preparation.

When the ground at this time is frozen so hard as not to be dug, which is generally the case in the middle and eastern states, you may carry manure into the different quarters and spread it, repair fences, rub out and clean your seeds, prepare shreds, nails and twigs, for the wall and espalier trees, which are to be pruned in this and the next month; get all the garden-tools in repair, and purchase such as are wanting; provide from the woods a sufficient quantity of pea-rods, and poles for your Lima and other running beans; dress and point them, so as to be ready for use when wanted.

Here it may be well to remark, that many people who neglect to provide themselves with pea-rods at this season, when it can be so conveniently done, are necessitated, when the hurry of business overtakes them in spring, to sow their peas and let them trail on the ground ; in Which situation they will never produce, especially the tall growing kinds, one third as many as if they were properly rodded.

The various kinds of Early-Hotspur Peas, will require rods from four to five feet high, the Marrowfat, Glory of England, White and Green Rouncival, Spanish Morotto, and other tall growing kinds; will require them to be from six to seven fcet high, exclusive of the part to be inserted in the earth ; they ought to be formed or dressed fan fashion, the lower ends pointed, for the ease of pushing them into the earth, and laid by, either under some shed, or in any convenient place till wanted; one set of rods, will with care last for three years. The same kind of rods, that the tall growing peas require, will answer for the generality of running Kidney-Beans; the Lima-Beans require strong poles from eight to nine feet high.

If in this, and the next month, you neglect forwarding every thing that can possibly be done, in and for the garden, you will materially find the loss of such inattention, when the hurry and pressure of spring business overtake you. Every active and well inclined gardener will find abundant employment in the various departments of the garden at this season, and need not be idle, if disposed to be industrious, or to serve either himself or his employer.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Garden History - Walls

State House Garden in Philadelphia.

Although we usually tend to think of walls in 18th century America surrounding the grounds of public buildings like the garden facade of the State House in Philadelphia, often they also enclosed private homes and their gardens & grounds as well.

(Just to let you know how seriously my family takes all this blogging, my husband just called this my Humpty Dumpty blog. Reality check.)

1817 William Strictland (1787-1854). The South Front of the Philadelphia Hospital.

Well, back to the topic (which seems fairly interesting to me). The public gounds of the Philadlephia Hospital, where patients & their families could find a few moments away from their cares, were also enclosed by a brick wall.

It is more difficult to identify private homes with garden walls in early America from paintings & prints, because private clients of artists overwhelmingly chose portraits of themselves & their families over landscapes throughout most of the period. Fortunately, some of the portraits are depicted on the grounds of the subject's house.

1750s Walled Garden and Grounds at Cleve in Virginia. Anne Byrd of Westover (1725-1757) (Mrs. Charles Carter). Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

As we drive through the countryside in both Maryland & Pennsylvania, there is abundant evidence of 18th century stone & brick walls surrounding both houses and plots of land which must have been gardens. But I do not find much discussion of walls in contemporary documents.

Advertisements in the Pennsylvaia Gazette give a glimpse of stone & brick walls around Philadelphia. In 1751, Burlington, New Jersey, a 208 acre plantation sitting on the Delaware River, had two large 2 acre gardens of which one was "walled in with brick, the other fenced in with cedar 7 feet high."

Charles Carrol of Annapolis advertised 12,000 acres within 12 miles of the head of the Patapsco River in Maryland, for sale in 1757. He noted that the property contained "a handsome Garden, inclosed by a Stone Wall."

In Philadelphia in 1766, there was a court dispute over a contract to build a stone wall around a garden in the city. And in the same year, a 170 acre property containing "a good Garden, walled in with Stone" Chester County, about 20 miles from Lancaster, was advertised for sale in the Pennsylvania Gazette.

One of Philadelphia's richest merchants, Samuel Neave (1707-1774) had his house & business at the corner of Second & Spruce Strees. The property, which contained the main house plus a coach house, stable, garden & greenhouse, had 50' on Second Street & 180' on Spruce Street. It wall all enclosed by brick walls.

The home of George Johnson in Alexandria, Virginia, went up for sale the next year. The ad described a dwelling house "upwards of 100 Feet long...a good Garden; the whole enclosed with Pails, and Brick...defended from the Water by a Stone Wall, to which Wall Boats and other small Vessels may come at a moderate Tide."

Also in 1767, a property of 150 acres at Blue Ball, Pennsylvania, was advertised for sale containing a "stone house...a garden, surrounded with a stone wall."

A 1776 Pennsylvania Gazette an additional Philadelphia house-for-sale ad mentioned that, "A considerable part of the fence is well laid stone."

The Pennsylvania Gazette in February of 1791, offered for sale an "extraordinary tract of land for a Gentleman Farmer...county of Montgomery...two orchards of excellent fruit, and a garden of two acres surrounded with a stone wall and terrace."

Walls around private gardens in the British American colonies before the 18th century are even more difficult to find. At the turn of the century in 1700, Virginia had about 58,000 inhabitants; but only 7 houses remain standing, that were built before that date. In contrast, Massachusettes had fewer people, but at least 65 houses from before 1700 survive in that state.

In Maryland, a painting of Holly Hill from about 1730, depicts a walled brick garden attached to the house. Originally a primitive, two-room, 1 1/2-story frame dwelling constructed in 1698, Holly Hill still exists.

em>Holly Hill with brick wall around its garden about 1730 Maryland Historical Trust

Its owner Samuel Harrison added the 18 ft. section in 1713, and before his death in 1733, he encased the entire structure in brick. This is probably when the garden was walled-in as well. Holly Hill is one of the few extant examples of the medieval transitional style of architecture used in Maryland during the mid-17th century. Its transition from a primitive frame dwelling to a comfortable brick house reflects a pattern repeated in early Tidewater houses.

em>Holly Hill in Anne Arundel County, Maryland as it exists today

Virginia's Royal Governor William Beverley's (1605-1677) home Green Spring, built in 1649, was nearly 97' long and 25' wide. The house & grounds were named for a spring near the house, which a 1680s visitor described as "so very cold that 'twas dangerous drinking the water thereof in Summer-time." The Governor's wife Lady Frances Berkeley described her home in 1677 as "the finest seat in America & the only tollerable place for a Govenour."

Berkeley was an involved farmer & gardener who raised the Virginia cash crop tobacco, of course, plus fields of cotton, flax, hemp & rice. He planted fruit trees by the thousands. A a contemporary reported seeing "Apricocks, Peaches, Mellcotons (peaches grafted onto quince trees), Quinces, Warden (Winter Pears), and such like fruits." He grew grapes to produce his own wines, as well as vegetables and roses.

Although Green Spring was heavily damaged during Bacon's Rebellion in 1676-7, the restored house stood until the last decade of the 18th century, when Benjamin Latrobe (1764-1820) painted a watercolor of it in 1797. The watercolor depicts brick curvilinear garden walls planned by Philip Ludwell II (1672-1726), & probably in place, when the property was bequeathed to Philip Ludwell III (1716–1776) in 1727. The Ludwells came to own Green Spring, when widow Lady Frances Berkeley married Phillip Ludwell.

Green Spring by Benjamin Latrobe (1764-1820) in 1797.

The Baroque curved garden walls replaced a straight-line 100' brick garden wall set at a right angle to the house which led down to the amazingly cold spring and which was probably on the property before 1680-83, when the restored brick house was completed.

Ironically, the other remaining Virginia house built before 1700 having a brick garden wall was Bacon's Castle. It was also known as Allen's Brick House and was used as a headquarterers for the attack against Berkeley. The house had the earliest known private formal gardens in the British American colonies. The Jacobean house on the James River was built in 1665, by Arthur Allen. The garden was 195' by 360' divided into 6 large beds each 74' wide & between 90-98' long. The west side of the garden was defined by a brick forcing wall.

Bacon's Castle garden in Virginia with brick wall in background. The oldest identified private formal garden in the British American colonies.

In Virginia, Robert Beverley wrote in 1705, when there were a little over 75,000 folks in his colony, "The private buildings are of late very much improved; several Gentlemen of late having built themselves large Brick Houses." With these brick houses, brick garden walls were inevitable.

Of course, in Virginia, it is much easier to identify public buildings with walled gardens & grounds before 1700, thanks to the Bodliean Plate and to Colonial Williamsburg's ongoing research.

Bodliean Plate from about 1740 of The College of William and Mary and the Governor's Place and Public Buildings in Williamsburg.

My favorite depiction of walls in the Middle Plantation, Williamsburg's early name, is from a 1702 drawing by a Swiss traveler Franz Ludwig Michel which depicts the brick walls at both the 1699 Capitol and the 1680 Bruton Parish Church. (Some of my way-back relatives are buried in that walled churchyard.) I know these aren't garden walls, but there is an antique peace that envelopes that graveyard.

There is some evidence that the walled gardens at both the Governor's Palace and the College of William and Mary were plotted by English garden designer George London, who was working on Hampton Court under architect Christopher Wren during the same period. London was building brick walls around gardens there as well.

In a letter from English garden writer John Evelyn (1620-1706) to Virginia planter John Walker, Evelyn wrote in 1694, "Mr. London (his Majs Gardner here) who has an ingenious Servant of his, in Virginia, not unknown to you by this time; being sent thither on purpose to make and plant the Garden, designed for the new College, newly built in yr Country."

Williamsburg Brick Wall

In 1706, the act of the Virginia legislature authorizing the building of the Governor's Palace allocated 635 pounds for the construction of the garden with these instructions, "that a Court-Yard, of dimensions proportionable to the said house, be laid out, levelled and encompassed with a brick wall 4 feet high with the balustrades of wood thereupon, on the said land, and that a Garden of the length of 254 foot and the breadth of 144 foot from out to out, adjoining to the said house, to be laid out and levelled and enclosed with a brick wall, 4 feet high, with ballsutrades of wood upon the said wall, and that handsome gates be made to the said court-yard and garden."

Further authorizations for money to construct the garden were made in 1710. The garden authorized in 1706 was not complete until 1720. When new Virginia Governor William Gooch (1681-1751) arrived in 1727, he wrote of a "handsome garden, an orchard full of fruit, and a very large park."

Brick Wall Around Governor's Palace in Williamsburg, Virginia.

The entrance courtyard was separated from the rear formal garden by brick walls. A gate in the brick wall of the formal garden to the east led to Lieutenant Governor Alexander Spotswood's (1676-1740) "falling garden," a series of 3 terraces descending to a ravine where Spotswood had a stream dammed to create a "fine canal."

While the Palace's formal gardens & protective brick walls reflected the Baroque style, which had been popular for years since Le Notre's Versailles, opening the gate in the brick wall & stepping out into the countryside to a natural ravine with its canal was an anticipation of the freedom of the picturesque jardin anglais just over the horizon.

Even Williamsburg's Powder Magazine, built in 1714, had an octagonal 10' high brick wall constructed around it in 1755, leaving a 20' wide green courtyard surrounding the building.

Powder Magazine at Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia.

Hugh Jones (1669-1760) descibed the William and Mary College garden about 1716, "It is approached by a good Walk, and a grand Entrance by steps with good Courts and Gardens about it."

The 1740 Bodleian Plan shows long rectangular parterres at William and Mary dissected by an Baroque axial walkway bordered by boxwood or similar plantings all adhering to a sense of classical proportion.

Detail 1755 Joseph Blackburn (fl 1753-1763). Isaac Winslow & His Family with a brick wall with finials at the gate in background. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Paintings from the early American period depict stone and brick walls in private gardens and grounds, whether real or for affect is difficult to determine. I will try to include only one painting of each type of wall depicted by an artist who used walls in his portraits.

1760 William Williams (1727-1791). Deborah Richmond in front of a sophisticated curved wall.

In a letter to Charles Carroll of Carrollton (1737-1832) written when he was away at school in England, his mother Elizabeth Brook (d. 1761) wrote of Annapolis, in 1756, "This place... is greatly improved, a fine, flourishing orchard wtih a variety of choice fruit, the garden inlarged and a stone wall built around it, 2 fine meadows."

Portrait of William Paca with the brick wall of his garden barely visible in the background by Charles Willson Peale (1741-1827)

Archeological excavations have also proven that the 1760s Annapolis town garden of William Paca (1740-1799) also was surrounded by a brick wall. The garden wall can be seen in the background of a portrait of William Paca painted by Charles Willson Peale (1741-1827).

c 1763 John Singleton Copley (1738-1815). Mary Turner (Mrs. Daniel Sargent) in front of a wall.

One traditional commercial garden, Gray's Chatsworth Garden, sat just north of the harbor in Baltimore. Owners converted this old, private garden into an updated public pleasure garden with the addition of serpentine pathways meandering around the tree-lined perimeters of the grounds. The heart of the commercial garden, however, remained an elegant eight-bed falling terrace garden laid out in geometric symmetry during the 1760s, which was completely surrounded by a brick wall.
1767 James Claypoole (1743-1814). Ann Galloway (Mrs Joseph Pemberton) sitting at a low wall.

When Philadelphia botanist John Bartram (1699-1777) visited Henry Laurens's (1724-1792) at his town garden in Charleston, South Carolina in 1765, he wrote that Laurens was "making great improvements," and noted that his garden was walled with brick--200 yards long and 150 yards wide.
1771 William Williams (1727-1791). The Wiley Family in front of a tall formal wall.

The Virginia Gazette placed a sale notice in 1770, "that beautiful seat and plantation on river, in King & Queen county, whereon John Robinson , Esq; late Treasurer, lived... a large falling garden inclosed with a good brick wall." In 1782, the Marquis de Chastellux (1734-1788), describing William Byrd's Westover in Virginia noted that "the walls of the garden and the house were covered with honeysuckle"

1787 Charles Willson Peale (1741-1827). Deborah McClenachan (Mrs. Walter Stewart) in front of a curving sophisticated wall.

William Stebbins described the grounds around the White House in Washington D. C in 1810, "Extended my walk alone to the President's house: -- a handsome edifice, tho' like the capitol of free stone: the south yard principally made ground, bank'd up by a common stone wall: a plain picket fence on each side, the passage way to the house on the north: --some of the pickets lying on the ground."

1772 William Williams (1727-1791). The William Denning in front of a tall, relatively simple brick wall.

In 1806, from her home called Riversdale in Maryland near, DC, Rosalie Stier Calvert (1778-1821) wrote to her father in Europe, "Our house comes along rapidly. At the moment we have brick-makers, masons, carpenters, plasterers--we lack only painters to have all the crafts represented, and we expect one tomorrow. The masonry of the wing will be finished this week, but in addition to what has to be done to the house and the porticoes, we also have to build a small house, a smoke house, a dairy, and an orangerie."

"We are also going to build a wall to the north and west of the garden, beginning at the wash-house and going alongside the orchard...We also need a house for the cattle. We won't stop making bricks until we have 170,000. You can see that we don't lack for work, which takes all my time. Riversdale is now open as a historic house. While the brick wall is no longer there, archeologists have found evidence of it on the grounds."

1787 Charles Willson Peale (1741-1827). Sarah Chew Elliott (Mrs. John O'Donnell) in front of a curving wall with urns used as finials.

As towns developed, brick walls occasionally separated the street front of the house from private rear utility and garden areas.

Wall Separating Public from Private City Spaces in Washington, D.C. in 1817. F Street in the District of Columbia. Baroness Hyde de Neuville.

Early colleges in America often had walled grounds. My absolute favorite description of one of these walls was by Moreau de St. Mery (1750-1819), when he visited Princeton, New Jersey in the 1790s. In a 1764 print, Nassau Hall is depicted with a wall and urns.

College at Princeton, New Jersey in 1764

"The central part of the facade protrudes. There are ten windows on each side of it, and below the pediment there are six other windows on the facade. All in all, this building has an impressive appearance for America." em>(Moreau de St. Mery on Princeton)

Cambridge, Massachusettes, Harvard College in 1726

"Before it is a huge front yard set off from the street by a brick wall, and at intervals along the wall are pilasters supporting wooden urns painted gray. This front yard is untidy, covered with the droppings of animals who come there to graze." em>(Moreau de St. Mery on Princeton)

New Haven, Connecticut, Yale in 1786

"In its center is an old iron cannon, a four-pounder, without a carriage. This cannon, the dilapidated condition of the encircling wall, the number of decorative urns that have fallen to the ground, everything bears the imprint of negligence, and one reaches the building grieved that the pupils have such an unpleasant example before their eyes."em>(Moreau de St. Mery on Princeton)

University of Pennsylvania depicted in 1837

As the influence of Humphrey Repton (1752-1818) and John Claudius Loudon (1783-1843) crossed the Atlantic, high brick walls came into disfavor. The natural landscape designers called for evergreen shrubs or fences which were nearly invisible if at all possible, posts & chains and iron railings were preferred. Repton noted, "It is hardly necessary to say, that the less they are seen the better; and therefore a dark, or as it is called, an invisible the proper colour."

Humphrey Repton's Business Card designed by Thomas Medland ( c.1765 – 1833) depicts Repton's open, "natural" (although well-planned) landscape design. No fences or walls here.

Monday, November 19, 2012

19th-Century Advice on Boys and Gardens

The Christian Recorder, August 21, 1890, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Boys and Gardens

By all means, let the boy have a garden, If it be only a bunch of sunflowers in a six-feet square city back yard, let him have something of his own to plant and watch the growing of.

But if you live in the country, you can let him have a considerable plot of ground, where he can raise flowers, and also edible vegetables. Nothing will ever taste so good to him as his own lettuce and beets and radishes.

Don’t imagine for a moment, however, that your boy, unless he be a genius, will know how to take care of these plants of his. No matter how much he loves them, he will require a good many weary hours of careful teaching and training before he is able to do efficiently even his small duty by his garden patch.

The trouble is that boys love so many things. If they loved their garden only, or their lessons only, or ball-playing only, or stamp-collecting only; but it is with them as it is with the perplexed lover – “how happy could they be with either were t’other dear charmer away!” It is a good deal more trouble to see that the boy keeps his garden well than it would be to keep it yourself; but it is a good deal of trouble to bring up a boy right anyhow, and that is something that a mother might as well understand at the outset. Those who try to do it by easy means generally rue it with anguish of soul in the end.

“I never knew a boy who was fond of a garden,” said a wise man who had brought up many boys , “to go far astray. There seems to be something about working in the soil and loving its products that does the boys good morally as well as physically.”

And honest Jan Ridd says, “The more a man can fling his arms around Nature’s neck, the more he can lie upon her bosom like an infant, the more that man shall earn the trust of his fellow-men.” Again he says, “There is nothing better to take hot tempers out of us than to go gardening boldly in the spring of the year.” And every one who has tried this can testify that it is true.

A certain little boy , who left a garden at home to take a trip with some friends, wrote home to his mother,” I am having a splendid time, but I wish every morning that I was sitting on my little green cricket in the backyard, watching my plants grow.” This little boy always thought that some time, if he watched closely enough, he should see a flower open, but beyond a few four o’clocks, he has never witnessed this ever-recurring but magically secret phenomenon.

If possible, supply your own table with your boy’ s produce at ruling market rates, having it well understood beforehand how the money will be expended. Praise whenever you consistently can; offer prizes for the best fruits, flowers and vegetables, if you have several boys at work; and in every way treat the enterprise with consideration and respect. Many a boy who has put his best efforts into his garden loses heart when he hears it sneered at or made light of ” Your garden? Oh dear! I never thought of that! What does that amount to?”

It cannot be too early impressed upon a boy that whatever he does should be done well. Therefore make his garden seem as important as you can without dwelling unduly upon it; and remember that the physical and moral effects of the garden are not all. The information that a boy gets from it concerning a variety of seed and soil may be invaluable to him later on.

Thanks to Accessible Archives.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Garden History - Trees-Espalier


I love the great links in this article from giving practical advise for creating espalier in home gardens and want to share it with you.

Espalier: Tips For Limited Garden Spaces

The art of espalier is a horticultural and artistic feat that requires skill and patience. It involves training various types of trees by pruning and grafting them, resulting in beautiful patterns and shapes. Originally performed in the Middle Ages, espalier is a fun and worthwhile craft that uses both agricultural knowledge and artistic technique to create a gorgeous result. The trees grown in a garden using espalier are usually much smaller than a traditional tree, making this practice ideal for smaller gardens or for garden areas in cities or patio spaces.

History of Espalier

Originally, espalier was used to form walls or dividers in Europe in the Middle Ages. The trees were also grown within castle walls in this manner in order to provide fruit within a confined space without allowing the tree to completely engulf or take over the area. Some research shows that espalier growing methods were used even further back, dating to ancient Egypt. The French word espalier traditionally referred to the trellis in which the tree was grown on. Today, the term refers strictly to the growing technique itself.

The Art of Espalier – This article discusses the art form, as well as its history.

Early Espalier – Informative photos and examples of espalier in early America and Europe.

About Espalier – An overview of the technique as well as a brief history.

Types of Espalier/History – A wonderful web page that describes the origins and forms of espalier from around the world.

Tradition – The tradition of espalier in Europe.

Types of Espalier Techniques

Most espalier trees are grown against a solid wall, usually brick or stucco. They can also be trained to grow against a trellis or other free-standing object to help hold them up. Freeform espalier is much more difficult and takes a lot more work, however espaliered trees in a garden can be quite breathtaking. In France, the technique for free flowing espalier trees is quite popular. Trees grown against a wall are more common in urban areas. No matter which technique is used, this art form can be demanding and take a lot of work, but the results are well worth it.

Training of Fruit Trees Learn more about this fun yet demanding gardening technique.

Planting and Pruning Tips – This article contains some helpful planting and pruning tips.

Technique Tips – Some tips on how to follow the on-wall technique.

Tree Shapes – This page gives some examples of various espalier tree shapes.

Types of Techniques – Discusses the various types of espalier techniques that can be used.

Types of Trees/Plants To Use

Fruit trees are the most commonly types of plants used in espalier, however Japanese Maple and other species are also a good choice. For fruit trees, apple, olive, fig, and pear tree are excellent species. Ivy is also a typically choice for espalier and can be easily trained. Flowers such as camellia, hibiscus, and magnolia are also beautiful and simple. Colorful fruit or flower producing trees give espalier a more spectacular look. Since the compactness of the trees is key, it's no wonder those during the Middle Ages chose to grow them this way in order to obtain fruit easily and in smaller confined spaces.

Species to UseThis article contains a good list of species of plants and trees that can be used for espalier.

20 Favorites – A list of 20 favorite choices of types of plants to use for espalier in any garden.

Apple Tree Espalier – This article explains how to properly grow an apple tree espalier.

Fruit Trees – Features some beautiful examples of fruit trees grown with the espalier method.

Selecting a Tree – Simple advice on choosing the right tree to espalier.

Tips for Successful Espalier

Espalier takes patience and a lot of dedication. There are some things the every day gardener can do to help ensure that their tree grows properly. The plant should only be grown from about six to ten inches away from its support at the maximum. The support can be a trellis or wall. Young plants are best because their branches can be trained. Remove any unwanted growth right away before planting, and plant the tree on the south or eastern facing side of your home or building. The side branches or shoot should be grown to at least one foot before pruning, and always prune any unwanted excess growth as soon as possible. Patience is truly the most important factor in espalier, as it can take five years or even more to get the desired look.

Starting an Espalier – Explains how to begin an espalier garden so that it is successful.

Espalier Success – One grower lists their techniques and what they did to get a healthy collection of espaliered plants.

Pruning Advice – Some information about pruning apple and pear trees for espalier.

Espalier Guide – A very informative, helpful guide to growing espalier trees, as well as diagrams.

How to Espalier a Tree – This simple guide shows how anyone can grow a tree into a beautiful espalier form.

While espalier is not a common way to grow trees, it has caught on in popularity, particularly with the growth of urban gardening in cities. This ancient technique of growing trees in a small, compact format can produce beautiful results. Espalier takes patience, dedication, and a willingness to work hard in order to get the wanted results. Time and effort are well worth it when the beautiful trees begin to take shape and grow into an amazing pattern that will beautify any garden.

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Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Ice House - John Beale Bordley 1799 Essays & Notes on Husbandry & Rural Affairs

John Beale Bordley. Essays & Notes on Husbandry & Rural Affairs. Printed by Budd and Bartram, for Thomas Dobson, at the stone house, no 41, South Second Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1799

Ice House

The Ice-house is to be detached from the milk-house, that it may be clear of all moisture, and receive air on all fides. The ice-house at Gloster point, near Philadelphia, strongly recommends that it be mostly above ground. Four feet under ground, six above ground and twelve square, would hold 1440 solid feet; which is enough for family and milk house purposes though very freely expended.

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Milk House - John Beale Bordley 1799 Essays & Notes on Husbandry & Rural Affairs

John Beale Bordley. Essays & Notes on Husbandry & Rural Affairs. Printed by Budd and Bartram, for Thomas Dobson, at the stone house, no 41, South Second Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1799

The Milk House

The Milk-house adjoins the Laboratory, which is a scalding house to it. It may be two feet under ground. The offal milk is conveyed to the pigs in wheel-barrows, and might be conveyed in a tube, under ground, to the pig-stie. Ice is at hand for hardening butter as it is taken from the churn and worked on a cold marble table. Water cold from the pump is constantly ushered, through pipes, to an upper shelf, and passing round the room, falls on the under shelves and runs off.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Pigeon House or Dovecote - 1799 John Beale Bordley - Essays & Notes on Husbandry & Rural Affairs

John Beale Bordley. Essays & Notes on Husbandry & Rural Affairs. Printed by Budd and Bartram, for Thomas Dobson, at the stone house, no 41, South Second Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1799

The Pigeon House or Dovecote

Pigeon-house. Pigeons feed expensively, when it is alone on the corns: but they also feed on many wild feeds. They make an agreeable variety on the table; but ought not to be suffered to become too numerous; and therefore their house is to be of a moderate size.

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Poultry House & Yard - 1799 John Beale Bordley - Essays & Notes on Husbandry & Rural Affairs

John Beale Bordley. Essays & Notes on Husbandry & Rural Affairs. Printed by Budd and Bartram, for Thomas Dobson, at the stone house, no 41, South Second Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1799

The Poultry Yard

The Poultry-house and yard are rooms; and kept sweet by being frequently cleaned out; and fresh sand and gravel are strewed in the yard. Their food is to be steamed potatoes and meal, in winter; cut grass, potatoes and a little meal in summer. Poultry ranging at large, feed on grain, feeds, grass and insects. Gravel is necessary to them.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Family Yard & the White Rose Bush - 1799 John Beale Bordley - Essays & Notes on Husbandry & Rural Affairs

John Beale Bordley. Essays & Notes on Husbandry & Rural Affairs. Printed by Budd and Bartram, for Thomas Dobson, at the stone house, no 41, South Second Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1799

The Family Yard

The Family-yard, is a barrier against farm-yard intrusions. It is covered with a clean, close yard of spire grass. Its margin alone may be admitted to grow flowers. It is fenced by a sunk fence; on the top whereof may be, if necessary, alow, light palisade; which with the bank may be hid by rose trees planted in the ditch, which is to slope gently up towards the mansion. The white rose bush or tree is the hardieft and handsomest fort, and something the tallest.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Placement of Mansion House and Lawn - 1799 John Beale Bordley - Essays & Notes on Husbandry & Rural Affairs

John Beale Bordley. Essays & Notes on Husbandry & Rural Affairs. Printed by Budd and Bartram, for Thomas Dobson, at the stone house, no 41, South Second Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1799

Placement of House and Lawn

The Mansion, is airy on every fide. The offices, being on the northeast and northwest angles, leave the mansion open to the south, east, and west, in a clean lawn: and from the north rooms there is a view of the farm yard and its business.