Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Poinsettia's Philadelphia Roots


Hardy Christmas flower got its U.S. start in 1829 at the first Flower Show.



By Virginia A. Smith, The Philadelphia Inquirer Staff Writer
December 18, 2011

"The red poinsettia has been a Christmas tradition forever, it seems. Did you know it has a historic connection to Philadelphia?

"Bartram's Garden, established on the banks of the Schuylkill around 1728 by botanist John Bartram, was the first to successfully grow the poinsettia outside its native Mexico. Bartram's officially introduced it to the American public and commercial trade at the inaugural Philadelphia Flower Show on June 6, 1829.

"At this one-day affair, the public reacted to the poinsettia and hundreds of other plants with such excitement that the show's host, the fledgling Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, decided to make it an annual event.

"The exotic Mexican beauty was described as "a new Euphorbia with bright scarlet bracteas, or floral leaves, presented to the Bartram collection by Mr. Poinsett, United States Minister to Mexico." "Mr. Poinsett" was Joel Roberts Poinsett, a prominent South Carolina politician and diplomat with an interest in horticulture.

"Nevertheless, according to historian Joel T. Fry, it was not Bartram's that became known as the poinsettia's patron. English garden historians bestowed that honor on Philadelphia nurseryman Robert Buist, who introduced it to his Scottish homeland in 1834, fully five years after the flower show.

"Even though something new might be discovered, Bartram's didn't sit around recording each one," Fry said.  As opposed to the Brits, who did.

"Late in life, Buist corrected the record. He wrote an article describing his presence at Bartram's when "two plants with stubby little roots were unpacked. They turned out to be poinsettias," Fry said.

"From the get-go, the now oh-so-familiar poinsettia was the province of botanists, "plant nerds," and wealthy hobbyists, according to Paul Ecke 3d, whose great-grandfather Albert Ecke started the family's poinsettia business in Los Angeles a century ago.

"Nobody else had the money to heat their house to keep the flowers alive, and certainly not a greenhouse," Ecke said.

"For decades, the poinsettia was field-grown and sold as a cut flower, like roses. In the 1960s, the Eckes moved their growing operations indoors, commercial breeding began in earnest, and potted plants quickly superseded cut stems as the norm.

"With aggressive marketing, poinsettias soon became "the Christmas plant," which is an honest claim; their natural bloom time is winter.

"Today, besides the ubiquitous red, poinsettias come in lots of colors, even yellow, and designs, including marbled, painted, and glittered. Ecke has a new early-bloomer he promotes for outdoor landscapes in places such as Texas and California.

"Remarkably, red is still the public's favorite color. "It's the tradition," he says.

But the poinsettia industry struggles to attract a younger audience - with novelty and supersized plants, as well as specimens sold in "cool pots that promote lifestyle."

"We don't want poinsettias to just be Grandma's plant or Mom's plant. We have to make poinsettias cool for Gen XYZ," Ecke said... The family business, which moved to Encinitas, Calif., in 1923 and expanded to Guatemala in 1995, still controls 70 percent of the worldwide market in poinsettia cuttings, 50 percent of the domestic.

"As for "Mr. Poinsett," turns out he was vain and opinionated and caused such a scandal in Mexico, he was eventually kicked out. Today, Fry said, "he is always portrayed as an evil American gringo."

"As if that weren't grinch-y enough: In papers left behind, Poinsett never once mentions the curious plant that set Philadelphians on their head in 1829.

"Said Fry: "It was not a big thing in his life."

The Christmas Poinsettia


I was going to write a history of the traditional Christmas poinsettia plant this year, but then I remembered the 2011 myth-breaking article by Joel T Fry, curator at Bartam's Garden in Philadelphia. (Joel T. Fry, B.A., Anthropology, Univ. of Penn. M.A., American Civ./Historical Archaeology, Univ. of Penn.)  I could not write a better history than his, so I will present it here.  See his original here.

America's First Poinsettia: The Introduction at Bartram’s Garden
Poinsettia's first public display was in 1829 at the PHS Flower Show
by Joel Fry, Curator, Bartram's Garden - 12/12/2011

Color plate illustrated in Paxton's Magazine of Botany 1837
"It is a little known fact that the poinsettia was introduced to the gardening world from the Bartram Botanic Garden in 1829. This international symbol of winter cheer was first successfully grown outside its Mexican homeland by Robert and Ann Bartram Carr at the Bartram’s Garden in Philadelphia.

The plant now known as poinsettia, Euphorbia pulcherrima, is native to the pacific coast of Mexico and has an ancient history of human use. It was almost certainly seen by early European explorers and colonists, but somehow never entered cultivation in Europe. It was re-discovered or at least brought to the attention of the outside world in the 1820s by an American, Joel Roberts Poinsett (1778-1851).

"Poinsett, a native of Charleston, South Carolina, held various diplomatic and political positions through his life, but always continued a strong interest in natural science and horticulture. He first served as a special envoy to Mexico in 1822-1823, and when the new Mexican Republic was recognized in 1824, Poinsett was first U. S. Minister Plenipotentiary. He resided in Mexico from 1825 to early 1830. During this period, perhaps in the winter of 1827-1828 Poinsett encountered the unnamed plant that now bears his name.

"As part of his mission to expand cooperation between the two countries, Poinsett shipped plants and seeds between Mexico and the United States. At present there is evidence that four different collections of seeds and plants were sent from Mexico to Bartram’s Garden in Philadelphia in the period 1828-1829. Poinsett was elected a member of the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia in early 1827, and this seems to have cemented his connection with the Philadelphia scientific community and with Bartram’s Garden .In early 1828, William Maclure, a longtime friend of Poinsett, and Thomas Say, a Bartram nephew, travelled to Mexico, visiting Vera Cruz and Mexico City. William Keating, a geologist from the University of Pennsylvania also traveled to Mexico in 1828 to prospect for American mining interests. Poinsett, Maclure, Say, and Keating all arranged for Mexican seeds of plants to be sent to Bartram’s Garden.

"Thomas Say sent over a hundred varieties of seeds from Mexico, “of my own collecting” in a letter to Robert Carr dated July 23, 1828. This list is in large part made up of fruits and vegetables offered in the markets in Mexico, but some trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants from the wild were included, notably several forms of cactus. William Maclure returned briefly to Philadelphia in the fall of 1828, and he brought yet more Mexican seeds and plants with him. This is the most likely route for plants of the poinsettia to Bartram’s Garden.


Engraving of poinsettia at Chatsworth UK in 1837 courtesy Joel Fry Bartrams
"Robert Buist, a Philadelphia nurseryman, remembered seeing the first poinsettia roots unpacked at Bartram’s Garden in 1828: “On my arrival in this country from the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh, in 1828, I paid a visit to the famed “Bartram Botanic Garden,” and there saw two cases of plants which had just arrived from Mexico. Among the contents were the stumps of a strange-looking Euphorbia, which, after a few months’ growth, showed some very brilliant crimson bracts.” (The young Buist soon built a very successful career on the new scarlet plant, and as a result he was credited with the introduction of the poinsettia to Europe in 1834.)

"The paper trail of the poinsettia next appears at “The first semi-annual Exhibition of fruits, flowers and plants, of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society,” held June 6, 1829. This was the first public show of the PHS, a tradition continued today as the Philadelphia Flower Show. One of the noteworthy exhibits was “A new Euphorbia with bright scarlet bracteas or floral leaves, presented to the Bartram collection by Mr. Poinsett, United States Minister to Mexico.” There can be no doubt that this was the poinsettia, now known as Euphorbia pulcherrima. The plant on display, apparently the original sent from Mexico, was still colorful in early June. And while we now take for granted the connection of poinsettias and Christmas, it would take a while for nurserymen to reliably flower the new scarlet plant in time for the early winter holidays.

"A year later, in July 1830 a committee of the PHS, For visiting the Nurseries and Gardens in the vicinity of Philadelphia,” made particular note of the “Euphorbia heterophylla, with its large scarlet flowers,” as well as “some curious species of Cactus, lately received from Mexico” at the Bartram Botanic Garden. At this early stage, the appropriate scientific name for the poinsettia was still in doubt. Poinsettia resembled a known North American native, Euphorbia heterophylla and so for a time it was referred to under that name. Philadelphia nurserymen also used the name “Poinsett’s euphorbia” and around 1832 Robert Buist began using “Euphorbia poinsettia” for the new plant. Between 1833 and 1836 the poinsettia went through a rapid series of scientific names as it was described and published in the US and Europe—first Pleuradena coccinea, then Poinsettia pulcherima, and finally Euphorbia pulcherima. (Although there is still some debate whether some North American Euphorbia species should be split off into a new genus Poinsettia.)

"In the summer of 1833, the botanist Constantine Rafinesque published the first scientific description of the poinsettia in Philadelphia, for his Atlantic Journal. Rafinesque recorded the brief history of the plant in Philadelphia to date: “The Botanical Garden of Bartram received some years ago from Mr. Poinsett our ambassador in Mexico, a fine new green-house shrub, akin to Euphorbia, with splendid scarlet blossoms, or rather bracts. It has since been spread in our gardens near Philadelphia, and is know in some as the Euphorbia Poinseti; but appears to me to form a peculiar genus or S. G. at least

"In the early 1830s Robert Buist began sending plants or cuttings of poinsettia to Europe, and particularly to his friend James McNab at the Edinburgh Botanic Garden. Buist had trained at the Edinburgh garden, and he returned to Scotland in 1831 to acquire stock for his new nursery business. James McNab also visited Philadelphia, and Bartram’s Garden in the summer of 1834, and probably took the first successful poinsettia plants back with him to Edinburgh in the fall.

"The poinsettia flowered in Edinburgh for the first time in the spring of 1835, but imperfectly. When it flowered again in 1836 it was drawn for Curtis’s Botanical Magazine. The new euphorbia was re-named Poinsettia pulcherrima by Robert C. Graham, Regius Professor of Botany at Edinburgh, in an article prepared both for Curtis’s and the Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal. The modern common name “poinsettia” arose from Graham’s description, and as the plant spread rapidly in cultivation in the UK and Europe it was known under the name poinsettia. Unfortunately for history, Graham relied on Buist’s own incorrect account of the introduction of the plant, and omitted any mention of the Carrs or Bartram’s Garden. (Graham’s new genus Poinsettia has since been returned to Euphorbia.)

"It has long been the story that Poinsett personally introduced the poinsettia first to Charleston, bringing the plant on his return from Mexico, and from there it was discovered or sent to the Carrs in Philadelphia. This is impossible for the poinsettia was shown to the Philadelphia public in June of 1829, over six months before Poinsett returned from Mexico. All available evidence suggests that the poinsettia was first sent to the Bartram Garden in Philadelphia in the fall of 1828. The successful transport of live plants from Mexico to Philadelphia in 1828 was almost certainly due to the fact that a number of friends of Bartram’s Garden were on the scene in Mexico. After the new scarlet euphorbia was introduced to the public in 1829, the plant was widely propagated, and became a popular mainstay of the Philadelphia florist trade. The young gardener, Robert Buist, returned to Europe in 1831 and found the scarlet flower was unknown. Buist was a great popularizer of the new plant, but has undeservedly received major credit for its introduction. When Poinsett began to grow his namesake plant in Charleston after his return, it probably returned to him via the Philadelphia nursery community."

 A little more to the tale...

Poinsettia plants are native to Central America, especially an area of southern Mexico known as 'Taxco del Alarcon,' where they flower during the winter. The ancient Aztecs called them 'cuetlaxochitl'. The Aztecs had many uses for them including using the flowers (actually special types of bright leaves known as bracts rather than flowers) to make a purple dye for clothes & cosmetics The milky white sap, latex, was made into a medicine to treat fevers.

Poinsettias were cultivated by the Aztecs of Mexico long before the introduction of Christianity to the Western Hemisphere. These plants were highly prized by Kings Netzahualcyotl & Montezuma, but because of climatic restrictions could not be grown in their capital, which is now Mexico City.

Perhaps the 1st religious connotations were placed on poinsettias during the 17C.  Because of its brilliant color & convenient holiday blooming time, Franciscan priests, near Taxco, began to use the flower in the Fiesta of Santa Pesebre, a nativity procession.  The poinsettia may have remained a regional plant for many years to come had it not been for the efforts of Joel Roberts Poinsett (1779 – 1851). The son of a French physician, Poinsett was appointed as the first United States Ambassador to Mexico (1825-1829) by President James Madison. Poinsett had attended medical school himself, but was a dedicated, almost obsessive botany-lover.

A German botanist, Wilenow, named it Euphorbia pulcherrima (most beautiful) in 1833, the correct scientific name to this day.  The common name we use today was believed to have been coined around 1836.  Philadelphia nurseryman Robert Buist 1st sold the plant as Euphorbia poinsettia, although a German botanist had already given the plant the botanical name Euphorbia pulcherima.

The Poinsettias native to southern Mexico & Mesoamerica, unlike today’s commercial cultivars, grow into straight & tall trees. Often these trees can reach heights up to 10 feet tall. Through selection & breeding by growers, many cultivars have been developed in the United States & Europe.

After its introduction in Philadelphia, the poinsettia was shipped around the country during the 1800's, usually as an outdoor plant for warm climates.  Around 1920 in southern California, a horticulturist named Paul Ecke became the next key person to promote the poinsettia.  He felt this shrub growing wild along roadsides would make a perfect Christmas flower, so set about producing these in fields in what is now Hollywood.  A few years later, due to the commercial & arts development in Hollywood, he was forced to move south to Encinitas where the Paul Ecke Ranch continues to produce poinsettias today.  Through the marketing efforts of Paul Ecke and his sons, the poinsettia has become symbolic with Christmas in the United States.  An Act of Congress has even set December 12, the death of Joel Poinsett, as National Poinsettia Day to commemorate a man and his plant.


Notes: Joel T. Fry has served as curator for Bartram’s Garden, the home of John and William Bartram in Philadelphia, PA, since 1992. He first became involved in archaeological research at Bartram’s Garden in 1975, and has participated in a number of archaeological and historic research projects at the garden site since. He studied anthropology, historical archaeology, and American Civilization at the University of Pennsylvania, and has written extensively on the history of Bartram’s Garden and the Bartram family plant collections. 
Recent publications include: “America’s ‘Ancient Garden’: The Bartram Botanic Garden, 1728-1850” in Amy R. W. Meyers, ed., Knowing Nature: Art and Science in Philadelphia, 1740-1840. Yale University Press, New Haven, 2011; work as associate editor, and author of “William Bartram’s ‘Commonplace Book’ and ‘On Gardening’ in the volume, William Bartram, The Search for Nature’s Design: Selected Art, Letters, and Unpublished Writings. Thomas Hallock, and Nancy E. Hoffmann, eds., University of Georgia Press, Athens, GA, 2010; “William Bartram’s Oenothera grandiflora: ‘The Most Pompous and Brilliant Herbaceous Plant yet Known to Exist,’” in Fields of Vision: Essays on the Travels of William Bartram, Kathryn E. Holland Braund and Charlotte M. Porter, eds. The University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa, 2010; and “Historic American Landscapes Survey, John Bartram House and Garden (Bartram’s Garden), HALS No. PA-1, History Report,” U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, HABS/HAER/HALS/CRGIS Division, Washington, DC, 2004.
Bartram’s Garden, 54th Street & Lindbergh Blvd., Philadelphia, PA 19143 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Early American Fence for gardens, yards, & fields


In early America, just as it had been for centuries, a fence was a structural barrier built of wood, or other materials, used to define, separate, & enclose areas like fields, pastures, yards, & gardens.  Fences were mandated by the local & colonial governments in many of the British American colonies in the 17C & 18C.


1742-46 attributed to William Dering, Anne Byrd Carter.  Brick walls were usually confined to enclosing the grounds of public buildings. Most homes & gardens were "well paled in."  These brick wall fences had balustrades of wood atop the wall.

Some of the earliest legislation in the colonies were directives for fencing in cultivated grounds & other spaces requiring protection from animal & human intruders. Land in early America was often refered to as "well-fenced," "under a good fence," & "within fence."


1787 Ludwig Gottfried von Redeken. Farmer working in his field near the Moravian settlement of Salem, North Carolina.

In 1623, the Virginia General Assembly declared "that every freeman shall fence in a quarter of an acre of ground before Whitsuntide next to make a garden."


Jonathan Welch Edes (American artist, 1750-c 1793-1803) Overmantle Captain David Thacher’s home in Yarmouth on Cape Cod. Showing men drying cod on racks with the entire operation surrounded by fences.

An act of the Virginia General Assembly of 1705, intended to protect the gardens from stray pigs, horses & cattle, required the owners of every lot on Duke of Gloucester Street in Williamsburg, to "inclose the said lots, or half acres, with a wall, pales, or post and rails, within six months after the building, which the law requires to be erected thereupon, shall be finished."  The minimum height of the fence was set at 4 & one-half feet & but many were built higher. 


1796 Ralph Earl (American artist, 1751-1801) Houses on New Milford Green, CT

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."


1787-1791 Edward Savage (American artist, 1761-1817) The East Front of Mount Vernon

By 1776, the wooden fences portions of the fences & walls around the Governor's Palace in Williamsburg needed attention. The Virginia Council Journal reported "Repairing Fodder Houses & paling round Garden."  The "General appoints 25 men to repair fences of park."

Also receiving attention were the wooden fences around the pasture near the Governor's Palace in 1777, "Repairing the pailing and railing Round the Pasture." In order to complete the fence repair the workmen needed "60 foot of plank, 250 nails."


1787-1791 Edward Savage (American artist, 1761-1817) Mount Vernon Detail A View from The Northeast

Many fences were built by slave & indentured servant laborers. 



Gottlieb Mittelberger traveled to Pennsylvania from Germany in 1750, on a ship primarily filled with poorer immigrants who would become indentured servants upon arriving in Philadelphia.


1800 Francis Guy (English-born American painter, 1760–1820) On the Harbor in Baltimore, Maryland, where fences run down to the water & protect those on the pier from falling into it.

Mittelberger observed the working conditions for German immigrant, indentured servants in Pennsylvania & wrote of them upon his return to his homeland. He noted, "Work mostly consists in cutting wood, felling oak-trees, rooting out, or as they say there, clearing large tracts of forest. Such forests, being cleared, are then laid out for fields and meadows. From the best hewn wood, fences are made around the new fields; for there all meadows, orchards and fruit-fields, are surrounded and fenced in with planks made of thickly-split wood, laid one above the other, as in zigzag lines, and within such enclosures, horses, cattle, and sheep, are permitted to graze."

1803 Charles Fraser (1782-1860). Utility fence depicted in A Bason & Storehouse Belonging to the Santee Canal.

Most gardeners could not afford brick walls & chose traditional paling---a picket fence--to protect their kitchen gardens. Occasionally Virginians denoted property lines with rail fences constructed in a zig-zag form. One traveler wrote in 1777, “the New Englanders have a saying, when a man is in his liquor, he is making Virginia fences.”

1800 Felice Corne (1752–1845) Ezekiel Hersey Derby Farm near Salem, Massachusetts. Here is a combination of wooden fences & stone walls.

In Baltimore, Maryland in 1797, fenced gardens divided into quadrants but not terraced & with few other embellishments appeared at 13 Baltimore homes. At least one of these kitchen gardens had a stone wall surrounding its four beds. 

1800 Francis Guy (1760-1820). Bolton From the South Garden Facade falling toward the harbor.  This view of Bolton shows the rectangular fenced kitchen gardens at the bottom of the more formal green terraces.


1804 Chairback by John & Hugh Findley c 1804. View by Francis Guy 1760-1820. Garden Facade of Mt Deposit. Baltimore Home of David Harris (1752-1809)

Few paintings of the garden facades of Baltimore's country homes exist, but thanks to some inventive furniture makers, several chairback paintings of a variety of entrance facade fences remain.

1800 Francis Guy (1760-1820). Imporved Entrance Facade of Bolton.

Most of Baltimore's country seats had fences defining the entrance & garden areas of the property. Fences close to the house were usually painted white.

1804 Chairback by John & Hugh Findley c 1804. View by Francis Guy 1760-1820. Entrance Facade of Grace Hill Home of Hugh McCurdy from 1790-1805 in Baltimore.


1804 Chairback by John & Hugh Findley c 1804. View by Francis Guy 1760-1820. From the North Entrance Facade of Bolton, Home of George Grundy (1775-1825) Baltimore.


1804 Chairback by John & Hugh Findley c 1804. View by Francis Guy 1760-1820. Rose Hill. Home of William Gibson (1735-1832) Baltimore Lanvale Street at Eutaw Place.


1804 Chairback by John & Hugh Findley c 1804. View by Francis Guy 1760-1820. St. Paul's Chairity School. Baltimore.


1805 Chairback by John & Hugh Findley c 1804. View by Francis Guy 1760-1820. Woodville. Baltimore Home of Jeremiah Yellott .

Some of the homes dotting the hills above Baltimore's harbor did not have fences on the entrance facade of the home, exhibiting a more natural grounds approach toward their landscaping. Fenced kitchen gardens usually were tucked away at the rear of the house.


1805 Francis Guy (1760-1820).  Bolton in Baltimore from the extended South Garden Facade.  Here, the garden area at the bottom of the formal falling garden terraces had been fenced with a curved picket fencing.

French traveler Moreau St. Mery wrote of the country seats around New York City, when he was there in 1793.  "I have spoken frequently of "pretty" country houses in this description; but when one hears this expression, he must not think that it has the same sense here as it has in Europe, particularly in France.

"In America, a very pretty country house corresponds only to a place moderately kept up on the outskirts of a large French city, and even then one will find in the former neither the good taste which embellishes the European house nor the comforts which make living in it a pleasure.


In America almost everything is sacrificed to the outside view. To accomplish this the fences of the houses are sometimes varied by these six combinations:
1. Planks are laid vertically and close together.
2. Planks are laid the same way, with a space between them.
3. Little narrow boards are laid across without joining.
4. Vertically placed laths are joined.
5. Vertically placed laths are not joined.
6. Laths are placed vertically, but passing alternately on the outside and the inside of cross members.

"Further elegance is obtained by using different shades of paint on lattices and partitions. Doors are handled in the same way." 

1800 Michele Felice Corne (1752–1845) New England Country Seat with rather intricate entrance fencing.

New Yorker John Nicholson suggested a few practical, utilitarian fence designs in The Farmer's Assistant in 1820, "Log-fences are often made on new-cleared lands...White-pine log-fences are very good, and will last 20 years without any essential repairing. Clear white-pine timber may, however, be split into rails, which are very durable. All kinds of wood will last much longer in rails, when the bark is peeled off.


1780 Unknown Artist. The End of the Hunt.

"What are called worm-fences are made with most ease, but require more timber than some other kinds. If, therefore, timber be scarce, post-and-rail fences...ought to be prefered, where good durable posts can be had.


1796 Ralph Earl (American artist, 1751-1801) Ruggles Homestead


"If the posts are too small to have holes made through them, the rails may be flated at the ends and fastened to the posts with spikes.. or with wooden pins well secured.

1816. Charles Willson Peale. Belfield Farm in Pennsylvania.

Utility fences, when painted, were usually reddish in color. More formal fences were usually painted white.


1800 An Overmantle from the Gardiner Gilman House in Exeter, New Hampshire.  This painting shows a combination of wooden fencing & stone walls.

"Post-and-rail fences...arc very good where the soil is dry, and the same may be observed of board fences; but, where the soil is wet, the posts will be thrown out by the frosts. In all cases, the posts ought to be set at least 2 feet in the ground.


Francis Guy (English-born American painter, 1760–1820) Summer View of Brooklyn, NY.  The most unusual thing about these utilitarian town fences is that the artist painted them in the summer & in the winter with and without folks working around them.

"Red-cedar is best for posts. Locust, chesnut, butternut, and black-walnut are also good. Good oak will also last pretty well. Burning the ends of the posts which go into the ground, so as to make them black, will make them last longer...



1817-20 Francis Guy (English-born American painter, 1760–1820) Winter Scene in Brooklyn, NY

"It is advisable to have a close high fence round your kitchen and fruit-gardens. This, in the first place, renders every thing within it secure from Pillagers; and also serves to keep out fowls. Another, benefit consists in keeping off the strong cold winds of the Spring, which are very injurious to the young plants, and also to the fruit, which is then about puting forth."



1817 Francis Guy (English-born American painter, 1760–1820) Winter Scene in Brooklyn, NY  How the fence was used in the winter.


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Why Garden? For Inspiration & Remembrance...


Gardening for Inspiration & Remembrance

Plantings of both trees & flowers triggered emotional responses in both garden owners & vistors. In the British American colonies, some groves of trees were planted for remembrance honoring a passed friend or relative. Groves were often seen as solemn, whether intentionally planted as a memorial or not.



Eliza Lucas Pinckney (1722-1793) wrote in a letter in 1742, from Charleston, South Carolina, "You may wonder how I could in this gay season think of planting a Cedar grove, which rather reflects an Autumnal gloom and solemnity than the freshness and gayty of spring. But so it is...I intend then to connect in my grove the solemnity (not the solidity) of summer or autumn with the cheerfulness and pleasures of spring, for it shall be filled with all kind of flowers, as well wild as Garden flowers, with seats of Camomoil and here and there a fruit tree--oranges, nectrons, Plumbs."

American colonists understood that flowers were inspirational symbols for higher thoughts. In 1766, Charles Carroll of Carrollton (1737-1782) wrote to a friend from Annapolis, “If you have a turn for gardening or for exotick Plants & flowers I shall perhaps be able to send you such of these which as uncommon in England may afford you some pleasure as a florist, or matter of thought & speculation as a naturalist, or Philosopher.”

Flowers could signify a personal friend as well as a distant hero. William Gordon wrote George Washington (1732-1799) in 1786, “Shall I endeavor to furnish your garden…with flowers & plants that may keep up the remembrance of an absent friend.”

Becoming a gardener helped a person understand the cycle of life & death, & many American gardeners chose to bury their loved ones in their gardens & went there to remember departed relatives & friends. If the spiritual garden was the place we all began, they reasoned, then it was comforting to return to the garden when we died. Where sufficient land was available, a cemetery was often created adjacent to the garden.

As one traveler recorded in 1790, “It is very common to see in large plantations in Virginia, & not far from the dwelling house, cemeteries walled in, where the people of the family are all buried. These cemeteries are generally built adjoining the garden.”

Christoper Wormley (1646-1701), in his 1698 Middlesex County, Virginia will, asked to be buried "in my own Garden and Betwixt my first wife..." Wormley's first wife Frances Armistead died in 1685, and his second wife Elizabeth Travers died in 1693, and he obviously did not want to play favorites. In the same county, Joshua & Thomas Long reserved a part of a tract that they were offering for sale "a certain Spott...twenty foot square Lying in the orchard it being the place where their father and mother were buryed."

Employees as well as relatives were buried in southern plantation gardens. At Nomini Hall on June 23, 1789, Robert Carter (1728-1804) recorded, “On Saturday the 20th June Mr. George Randell departed this Life & his Remains were interred in the Garden near to the Grave of Mr. Jos. Taylor School Master.”

Burying a dear one close to home may have resulted from a concern in addition to remebrance. Some preferred burial in their own gardens was security. In his journal on January 29, 1774, Philip Vickers Fithian (1747-1776), visiting Nomini Hall in Virginia, quoted his host, Robert Carter, on this subject, “he much dislikes the common method of making Burying Yards round Churches…almost open to every Beast…he would choose to be laid under a shady Tree where he might be undisturbed, & sleep in peace & obscurity---He told us, that with his own hands he planted, & is with great diligence raising a Catalpa-Tree at the Head of his Father who lies in his Garden.”

Others felt that burying the dead in a common community or church cemetery was too impersonal and made the sight & thought of death too familiar. One observer commented, Instead of producing those solemn thoughts & encouraging those moral propensities…it renders death & the grave such familiar objects to the eye as to prevent them from awakening any serious regard…&…to eradicate every emotion naturally excited by the remembrance of the deceased.”

The peace & quite of a personal garden, especially one planned & tended by the survivor, was seen as the most appropriate & intimate place to reflect & remember. A writer explained in the 1811 Philadelphia Port Folio, "My garden is my scene of reflection, and of rational amusement. If I wish to indulge myself in that pleasing melancholy, which is sometimes so grateful to the imagination, I repair to my garden."


Monday, December 2, 2013

Garden History - Gardeners - Renting out Indentured Servants in colonial America


Indentured & Convict Servant Gardeners Rented Out in the Mid-Atlantic & South

Mid-Atlantic & South landowners commonly rented the unused time of their indentured gardeners to others. The practice of renting out servants & slaves with special skills allowed those who could not afford to buy an entire indenture or a slave to have an opportunity to use their expertise in the planning & installation of their gardens or to undertake special projects without a large capital outlay.


In May 1738, Sarah Blakeway advertised in the South Carolina Gazette that she had a gardener to hire out. Blakeway was apparently a planter of some importance in her own right. She often advertised in the newspaper for slaves to hire out, houses for rent, Indian corn and land for sale. In 1741, she announced her intention to leave the province selling her land, slaves, piano, mahogany chairs, beds, and books.

In 1750 Philadelphia, William Sellars in Letitia Court advertised in the Pennsylvania Gazette to sell the time of his English indentured servant. The servant had 4 years left to serve on his 7 year indenture, and he understood "gardening very well."

Two years later, another English indentured servant, a 22 year old "gardiner by trade who understands the management of trees" was offered for sale for about 3 1/2 years of the remainder of his contract. Inquiries about buying his time could be made at the Philadlephia New Printing Office.


Occasionally, landowners simply lent idle or unfriendly garden servants to family & friends. In the spring of 1751, in Williamsburg, John Blair Sr. (1687-1771) lent to Peyton Randolph (1722-1775) his gardener, of whom “Mrs. Randolph gave a fine account.”

The servant had a history of picking fights with Blair’s slaves; & in the end, apparently Blair valued his slaves more that his feisty gardener. Shortly after the servant’s return, Blair “ordered the gardener to go, for I couldn’t bear him.”

In 1752, Maryland's Provincial Secretary Edmund Jennings & his wife Catherine of Annapolis, attempted to sell the time of their indentured gardener, noting that he was “an extraordinary good Gardener… understands the laying out of new work or anything belonging to a Garden.”

Even the wealthy rented the services of others’ skilled workers, when they undertook extraordinary projects. Charles Carroll of Annapolis (1702-1782) rented two servant gardeners in 1770. He wrote to his son, “I will give Colonel Sharpes Gardener 3 pounds per month computing 26 Working days to the Month & I will allow the Man who Works with Him 40/ per month if He be a good Spadesman.”

When these particular rented servant gardeners arrived at the Carroll home in Annapolis, the elder Carroll was less that enthusiastic, “Mr. Sharpes…Gardener…I do not like His looks as they are very Scottish, He may buy Rum.”


Sunday, December 1, 2013

1764 Parsnip - Virginian John Randolph's 1727-1784 Treatise on Gardening 1764


A Treatise on Gardening Written by a native of this State (Virginia)
Author was John Randolph (1727-1784)
Written in Williamsburg, Virginia about 1765
Published by T. Nicolson, Richmond, Virginia. 1793
The only known copy of this booklet is found in the Special Collections of the Wyndham Robertson Library at Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia.

Parsnip

Parsnip...The seed should be sown about February or March in light ground dug pretty deep, and may be mixed with Carrots, though Miller advises against mixing with any thing else, because they spread very much in the latter end of summer. They should be kept very clear of weeds, and should be drawn to about ten or twelve inches asunder. When the leaves begin to decay, which will be about February, after frosts, they should be dug up and put into dry sand, which will preserve them until April. They are not sweet until bit by the frosts. In order to have seed, your strongest plants should be planted out in the spring, and in August or beginning of September your seed will be ripe; you must then cut off the heads, and let them be exposed to the sun three days in order to dry them, after which they should be beat out, and put up for use. Seed are not to be trusted after a year old.



The Hedge


Early Americans planted hedges, plantings of bushes or woody plants in a row, to act as defensive fences, decorative garden dividers, or windbreaks.

As colonial British America was just being settled, Francis Bacon (1561-1626), English philosopher, statesman, scientist, lawyer, jurist, & author, wrote of the more formal garden hedges of the 17th century in his 1625 Essayes or Counsels, Civill and Morall in the essay entitled Of Gardens. "The Garden is best to be square, encompassed on all the four sides with a stately arched hedge; the arches to be upon pillars of carpenter's work, of some ten foot high, and six foot broad, and the spaces between of the same dimension with the breadth of the arch. 

"Over the arches let there be an entire hedge of some four foot high, framed also upon carpenter's work; and upon the upper hedge, over every arch, a little turret, with a belly enough to receive a cage of birds: and over every space between the arches some other little figure, with broad plates of round coloured glass gilt, for the sun to play upon: but this hedge I intend to be raised upon a bank, not steep, but gently slope, of some six foot, set all with flowers.

"Also I understand, that this square of the Garden should not be the whole breadth of the ground, but to leave on either side ground enough for diversity of side alleys, unto which the two covert alleys of the Green may deliver you; but there must be no alleys with hedges at either end of this great enclosure; not at the hither ends for letting your prospect upon this fair hedge from the Green; nor at the farther end, for letting your prospect from the hedge through the arches upon the Heath."


In 1705, "An act for prevention of trespasses by unruly horses, cattle, hogs, sheep, and goats" passed by the General Assembly of Virginia. It stated that "an hedge two foot high, upon a ditch of three foot deep and three foot broad" was "so close that none of the creatures aforesaid can creep through."


The South Carolina Gazette advertised a garden in a house-for-sale ad in 1749, "genteely laid out in walks and alleys, with cassini and other hedges."

At Riversdale in Prince George County, Maryland, Rosalie Steir Calvert wrote he father in 1805, "We are...going to surround" the orchard "with a hedge."


New Yorker John Nicholson emphasized the practical use of hedges in early America as fences in The Farmer's Assistant in 1820, "For making these, different sorts of trees have been used, and the hedges have been made in different ways. Some have prefered planting the hedge on the top of a bank, thrown up for the purpose; while the more modern method is, to plant it on the surface, without any bank.



"This latter method is the cheapest, and, as is observed by Mr. Pickering, of Massachusetts, would seem to be the only proper method, in some hilly situations...

"In level lands, however, a hedge set on a bank, properly made, would seem to be most formidable to cattle; but the bank we should prefer would be one raised between two small ditches...


"We have, at the same time, no doubt that a good hedge may eventually be made, in dry level lands, without the aid of a bank...

"We have seen the Washington-thorn (crataegus cordata) planted in Maryland, without any bank, on uplands; some of which were sufficiently dry...the thorn...requires a bed of moderately dry earth...



"Where hedges are to be made of this tree, without being set in a bank, we should advise to the method pursued by Mr. Quincy, of Massachusetts, which is, first, to cultivate the ground, intended for bearing the hedge, with potatoes; having it properly manured, and kept clear of weeds...

"When the plants of thorn are about 2 feet high, they should be set out in a single row...at the distance of about eight inches apart, and beded in good mould.



"Mr. Miller (Philip Miller) directs that, before transplanting, they should be cut off at the height of about 8 inches from the ground; and that, after having had a years growth, they should be headed down, similar to the manner directed by Mr. Forsyth (William Forsyth).

"Which operation will produce a stronger and thicker growth...when they get to about the height of 6 or 7 feet, or less where they grow on a bank, the tops are to be cut down to an uniform height, and the trees to be trimed, and then plashed.



"In the plashed state...the young trees, after having been headed down, as before mentioned, are supposed to send out at least two sprouts from each tree, which number, and no more, are to be trained up, the rest being cut away. Of the shoots thus trained, every 4th one is to be left standing erect, and the others are to be bent downward...and wove alternately on each side of the upright shoots, in the manner of weaving threads in making common cloth...

"The failure of one or two trees in a place produces a chasm in the fence; and this at first is only to be obviated by some temporary method of filling up the gap; as it must at least require time to make any after-growth supply the place of trees which may be missing.



"With all the imperfections, however, to which hedges may be liable, we consider them a much safer protection to the growing crop, and...less expensive, than the wooden fences which at present are commonly made in this Country.

"Instead of plashing the hedge, a substitute is recommended by Mr. Main, of Georgetown, which he has found effectual. This is to cut or trim the top of the hedge down to an even height, of about 3 and a half, or 4 feet, and then to lay thereon light durable poles, tied together at the ends; and presently the new shoots will start up on each side of the poles, and thus hold them to their places...the young hedge soon becomes enabled to withstand the attempt if any creature to push its way through...



"The Palmetto Royal ( Yucca Aloefolia) is said to make the best hedge that is known; but it will not endure the severity of the Winters of the more northerly States. It is well adapted to the more southerly part of this Country.

"Mr. Kirk, of Pennsylvania, particularly recommends his method of making hedges. He makes them of the common Locust. He merely makes a furrow, with the plough run once or twice each way, to serve as the bed for the young trees. These are to be of 2 years growth when set out in the furrow; they are to stand at the distance of about 11 inches from each other, and they are to be set leaning, or slanting, alternately in opposite directions, in order to be plashed or wove together, and tied in that position...



"In 4 or 5 years, Mr. Kirk says, the young hedge, when thus made, will form a sufficient fence; and as the shade of locust is not injurious to the growth of the adjoining grain, and is even beneficial to that of grass, the hedge may be suffered to grow up as high as it will.

"In about 30 years after planting, it will reach the full meridian of its growth; when the whole may be cut down, at the height ot about 5 feet from the ground, and then the stumps, thus left, will stand and serve as an impenetrable fence for as much as 15 years more; giving about 40 years as the length of time which that growth of locust will serve the purpose of a fence.



"Mr. Kirk says that, on cuting the locust down, a new growth of sprouts will start up in abundance; from which sufficient may be selected for training up a new hedge, to supply the place of the stumps when they shall have failed...

"The culture of locust, for hedges, we should be disposed to place this tree in the first rank...It forms a timber of the first rate for every use, where hardness, durability, and strength are required: It is also rapid in its growth, and excelent for fuel...



"Mr. Taylor, of Caroline, Virginia, makes his hedges of cedar; and he says that, in 7 years, a hedge made of this tree becomes as close, from bottom to top, as box, of a breadth not exceeding tour feet; and that it is more likely to prove effectual against Hogs, than any of the family of shrubs, as it unites great density...

"The boughs of this tree, being pliant, are easily wove between the bodies of the trees, without any bending of them, for the purpose of plashing...



"Mr. Peters, of Pennsylvania, thinks that, in point of elegance at least, the common hemlock (Pinua Abies Ccmadenais) is entitled to a preference to cedar...

"M. De La Bigarre recommends the white-mulberry for hedges, particularly on account of the value of the leaves of this tree for feeding silkworms."



Sunday, October 27, 2013

Classic Roman garden & farm writings read in 18th century America


During the late colonial & early federal period, Roman works on farming were recorded in several 18th century colonial libraries including:

~Marcus Porcius Cato (234–149 b.c.) De Agricultura,
~Rutilius Taurus Aemilianus Palladius (4th century a.d.) Secondus' Naturalis Historiae Libri, the letters of Pliny the Younger "translated by Melmoth,"
~Marcus Terentius Varro (116-27 b.c.), Rerum Rusicarum Libri Tres, and many volumes of 
~Lucius Junius Moderatus Columella (approx. 4 b.c. – 65 a.d.), including Of Husbandry and "his book concerning trees translated from the Latin"


Agriculture in ancient Rome was not only a necessity, but it was idealized among the social elite as the most honorable way of life.  Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 BC-43 BC), usually called Cicero, considered farming the best of all Roman occupations. In his treatise On Duties, he declared that "of all the occupations by which gain is secured, none is better than agriculture, none more profitable, none more delightful, none more becoming to a free man."  Cicero defended country life as "the teacher of economy, of industry, and of justice." 

Of course, much Roman advice from the elite about farming was theoretical.  Land ownership was a dominant factor in distinguishing the aristocracy from the common person, and the more country land a Roman gentleman owned, the more important he would be in the city.  The ideal Roman farm would depend on slave labor overseen by freemen, a system familiar in the American south.  The Romans had 4 systems of farm management: direct work by owner & his family; sharecropping in which the owner & a tenant divide up a farm's produce; forced labor by slaves on land owned by aristocrats & supervised by slave managers; & farms leased to tenants.  One way to acquire land was as a reward for going to war.  High ranking soldiers returning from war would often be given small pieces of public land or land in provinces as a way of paying them for their services.  After the American Revolution, the newly formed government instituted a similar plan for those who had fought for their country.

In 18th-century America, most of the personal & public repositories containing these works in the original language also housed either Littleton's Latin Dictionary, Ainsworth's Latin, or Floru's Latin and English to assist in translation.*

Marylander Charles Carroll of Carrollton referred to "Addison's Cato" when writing to a friend in London in 1775.  Cato's writings are a miscellaneous collection of notes rather than an an organized text, giving directions for the care of a farm seemingly based on Cato’s own experience.  But one might question Cato's first-hand experience, as he claimed such a farm should have "a foreman, a foreman's wife, ten laborers, one ox driver, one donkey driver, one man in charge of the willow grove, one swineherd, in all sixteen persons; two oxen, two asses for wagon work, one ass for the mill work."  Cato wrote "when they would praise a worthy man their praise took this form: 'Good husband good farmer'; it is from the farming class that the bravest men and the sturdiest soldiers come." 

Cato writes on diverse farm topics from growing asparagus to curing hams. His general advice on transplanting trees & shrubs would be familiar to 18th-century American planters, “In transplanting olives, elms, figs, fruit trees, vines, pines, and cypresses, dig them up carefully, roots and all, with as much of their own soil as possible … When you place them in the trench, bed them in top soil, spread dirt over them to the ends of the roots, trample it thoroughly and pack with rammers and bars as firmly as possible."

Varro was renowned for the depth of his knowledge in diverse disciplines. He was said to be a prolific writer, but only 6 incomplete books on the Latin language & 3 books on agriculture seem to have survived.  He began his work on agriculture late in life writing it in the form of instructions addressed to his wife, Fundania, for their recently purchased a farm. Varro says that his remarks are "derived from three sources: what I have myself observed by practice on my own land, what I have read, and what I have heard from experts."  He divides the planting year into 8 periods, enumerating tasks for each period. For example, during the 7th period, autumn, he recommends "Planting of lilies and crocus."  He also gives directions for propagating roses: "A rose which has already formed a root is cut from the root up into twigs a palm breadth long and planted; later on the same twig is transplanted when it has made a living root."

Columella

Columella, born in Spain, spent much in his youth with his uncle who was a farmer. He warns that reading about agriculture can be instructive, but that to become a farmer it is necessary to put theory  into actual practice. His 12 books on agriculture, Rei rusticae, plus one on trees, De arboribus, constitute the most comprehensive & ordered of all the Roman farm & garden texts. De Rei Rustica begins with a list of his predecessors & makes a point of the importance of agriculture, he speaks of general husbandry & farm management in Book 1. Book 2 is on the cultivation of the land. Books 3, 4 and the 1st part of Book 5 are on viticulture. The last half of Book 5 is dedicated to arboriculture.  Book 6 is on cattle.   Book 7 is devoted to smaller animals, sheep, goats, et al.  Book 8 tells of fowl & fish.  Book 9 is devoted to game & bees.  Later on, Columella added 2 more books.  Book 11 gives information on the tasks of the farm manager & more on horticulture.  Book 12 continues to define the jobs of the villa. Columella defined the 3 main elements of the villa. These include the pars urbana, where the owner lived together with his familia; the pars rustica, where laborers, animals & farm tools were located; & the pars fructuaria, which held the equipment for processing & preserving the harvest. Columella uses the term circa villam to describe the surrounding area, thus emphasising that the villa was associated with agricultural lands. A villa rustica may be thought of as a simple farm, & a villa urbana as a manor – the master's residence.

Columella also writes one book specifically on gardening. Book 10, De cultu hortorum, probably intented to be the last one, has horticulture as its subject. In it Columella becomes a poet treating his garden in verse, following Vergilius. Columella explains that this book is meant to supplement Publius Vergilius Maro (70 BC-19 BC), usually called VirgilGeorgica, 4 books on agriculture in which Virgil describes life & work of the countryman. Agriculture, viticulture, lifestock, & apiculture are all examined by Virgil. 

Virgil's Georgics (Book IV) cites the life of bees as a model for human society + the story of Aristaeus and the bees. 1502

In Book 10, Columella gives advice on tilling, manuring, watering & weeding gardens. At the first sign of spring the gardener,

Should with rich mould or asses’ solid dung
Or other ordure glut the starving earth …
Now let him with the hoe’s well-sharpened edge
Again attack the earth’s surface packed with rain
And hard with frost; then with the tooth of rake
Or broken mattock mix the living turf
With clods of earth and all the crumbling wealth
Of the ripe field set free …



Despite the practical advice in Columella’s work, he also repeats local customs & superstitions. One could ward off pests by having a barefoot girl experiencing her first menstruation walk 3 times around a field, & then a shower of smooth skinned apples or of bark-thatched acorns rains down when the tree is shaken, so writhing caterpillars are tumbled to earth.  Columella also warns that "grain offers little profit compared to wine."  Perhaps it was a matter of personal preference of wine over bread.

Palladius' manual is entirely arranged in calendar form, giving agricultural hints for each month of the year, beginning with January.  The 1st printed work on agriculture is the 1471 Ruralia commoda by Pietro de Crescenzi (c 1230–c 1320) issued just a year before the editio princeps of the 4 classical era agricultural texts. Crescenzi’s is a much more practical approach to agriculture, actually based on hands-on experience on his own country estate near Bologna. It incorporated advice from classical authorities such as Palladius & Columella, supplemented with detailed information on general plant & animal husbandry, with some ornamental gardening as well.  Originally written in Latin, it was quickly translated into Italian, French, & German.


The 4 Roman writers on agriculture were frequently found published together in a single volume, under the general title Scriptores rei rusticate.  The 1735 edition of the 4 Roman texts by Johann Matthias Gesner (1691–1761), a German language & literature scholar, is considered to be one of the best, including commentaries & even notes.

In 1742, Eliza Lucas Pinckney in South Carolina, wrote a letter to her friend Miss Bartlett, "I have got no further than the first volume of Virgil but was most agreeable disappointed to find myself instructed in agriculture as well as entertained by his charming pen, for I am persuaded tho' he wrote in and for Italy, it will in many instances suit Carolina...the calm and diction of pastoral and gardening agreeably presented themselves, not unsuitably to this charming season of the year, with which I am so much delighted."  Eliza was writing the letter on a glorious Carolina spring day.

Growing interest in classical farming techniques & theories spurred Adam Dickson to write Husbandry of the Ancients published in Edinburgh in 1788.  Virginian George Wythe (1726 –1806), law professor, classics scholar, & judge, owned a copy of the essays of Cato, Varro, & Collubella in Adam Dickson's Husbandry of the Ancients.  Although he was not a farmer or a gardener, he thought this collection was so important, that he left it to Thomas Jefferson in 1806.

Boy holding a platter of fruits & what may be a bucket of crabs, in a kitchen with fish & squid, on the June panel from a mosaic depicting the months (3rd century)

~Linguae latinae liber dictionarius quadripartitus: Dr. Adam Littleton's (1627-1694) Latin dictionary, in four parts. An English-Latin. A Latin-classical. An Latin-proper. A Latin-barbarous D. Brown, 1715
~Thesavrvs Lingvae Latinae Compendiarivs Or, A Compendious Dictionary of the Latin Tongue: Designed Chiefly for the Use of the British Nations. Robert Ainsworth (1660-1743) W. Mount and T. Page, 1751
~John Clarke's Florus, Latin and English. 1774

For more information on Roman agriculture, see

~Bakels, Corrie & Stefanie Jacomet, “Access to Luxury Foods in Central Europe during the Roman Period: The Archaeobotanical Evidence.” In World Archaeology, Vol. 34, No. 3, Luxury Foods (February, 2003), 542-557.
~Dalby, Andrew (2003), Food in the ancient world from A to Z, London, New York: Routledge,
~Erdkamp, Paul .The Grain Market in the Roman Empire. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005
~Garnsey, Peter. Food and Society in Classical Antiquity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999.
~Garnsey, Peter and Richard P. Saller, The Roman Empire: Economy, Society, and Culture. Berkley: University of California Press, 1987.
~Garnsey P.  Famine and Food Supply in the Graeco-Roman World. Cambridge University Press. 1988
~Giacosa I.G. 1992. A Taste of Ancient Rome. University of Chicago Press.
~Grant, Michael. History of Rome. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1978.
~Haywood, Richard Mansfield. Ancient Rome. New York: David McKay Company, Inc., 1867.
~Killgrove K. Migration and mobility in Imperial Rome. 2010 PhD dissertation, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
~Spurr, M. S. Arable Cultivation in Roman Italy – c.200 B.C.-C.A.D. 100. London: The Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies, 1986.
~Vogt, Joseph. The Decline of Rome: The Metamorphosis of Ancient Civilisation. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1965.
~White, Kenneth D. “The Efficiency of Roman Farming under the Empire.” In Agricultural History, Vol. 30, No. 2 (April, 1956), 85-89.