Sunday, March 31, 2013

1764 Millet - 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.


Millet, from Milk, a thousand, from the multitude of seed it bears. There are 4 sorts, white, yellow, black, and the Sorgo or Guinea Corn. It originally came from the eastern countries, and is much esteemed in making puddings. The seed should be sown in the middle of March, very thin, as the plants require room in a warm dry soil. They should be kept clear of weeds, and in August or latter end of July the seed will ripen, when they are to be beaten out; the seed is good for poultry. The black sort, so called from its black seed, is of no use or value.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Garden History - Gardeners - Black & White Apprentices

Black & White Apprentice Gardeners from Philadelphia to Charleston

The growth of professional gardening trades in 18th century America spawned a need for apprentices to assist the craftsmen in their daily chores while training to become the professional gardeners of the future.

Apprentice gardeners were young boys sent to live away from home to learn the trade of gardener. They were usually placed by their parents or guardians or by the courts as orphans to serve under master or tradesmen gardeners for a given period.

Under such an arrangement, intended for the mutual benefit of both the gardener and the young student-laborer, the master contracted to supply instruction, & generally food & lodging, or a weekly sum as an equivalent to what those necessities would cost. The parents of the apprentice gardener would agree to that their charge would be of service to the master gardener his apprenticeship as their part of the contract.

The terms of apprenticeship was generally 3 years. But in America, it is apparent that boys as young as 8 were contracted out to gardeners, and they often served longer than 3 years. Custom and laws called for apprenticeship to end at the age when the attained "manhood."

In England, few could expect to attain to the rank either of master-gardener or tradesman, who had not served an apprenticeship to the one or the other. On the American side of the Atlantic, because the trade & gardens were generally less developed, advancement in the field of gardening was more open to those who never served an apprenticeship.

In Philadelphia, market or truck gardener Richard Collings, who kept a covered seed & plant stall at the Jersey Market, adverised in the 1770 Pennsylvania Gazette, "Any person that has a boy that inclines to learn the art and mystery of a Gardiner, my apply." Market or truck gardeners & farmers grew produce to sell at the markets that supplied food for the growing populations of urban dwellers along the Atlantic coast in the 18th century. They grew culinary vegetables & fruits. Some grew only the more common hardy edibles for the kitchen, such as cabbage, pease, & turnips. Others supplied plants for propagation, such as cauliflowers, celery, & artichoke-plants, & pot-herbs, as mint and thyme. The most ambitious market growers grew items in hot-houses, & produced mushrooms, melons, pineapples, & other more exotic fruits over a longer growing season.

Young men who had apprenticed to other trades were sometimes called into garden service during the growing season. In Annapolis, craftsman William Faris used his clockmaking apprentice as garden help on several occasions.

In Maryland, several young boys were employed as apprentices by both professional gardeners & directly by owners of private gardens. In 1788, at age 8, William Lucas was bound out to Joseph Bignall, a professional gardener. Another 8-year-old, William Martin, was apprenticed to Jacob Eichelberger at his private residence in Baltimore County in 1786, to learn the art of gardening.

A lad named Cornelius Lary was bound out by his older sister at the age of 10, as a gardening apprentice to John Toon, who operated Toon’s Garden in Baltimore County. Toon’s Garden was one of several commercial pleasure gardens operating in the Baltimore area at the turn of the century. In the 1800-1801 Baltimore City directory, the 10-acre Toon’s Gardens was described as being “situated about two miles down the [Patapsco] river…on an elevated situation,” & was said to “command a view of the city & bay...During the summer months,” the directory recounted, “a great concourse of citizens make excursions by land & water to these Gardens…with all kinds of refreshments.”

Andrew Smith was a Charleston, South Carolina, gardener in 1795, who advertised to train apprentices in the “art of gardening” in the March 12 edition of the City Gazette and The Daily Advertiser, "THE Subscriber has taken a lease of Widderburn Lodge, formerly called the Grove; he will take in apprentices for three years, to be instructed in the art of gardening and farming in general, to the best advantage; as great improvement will be made on the farm, in the garden, orchard, and in the common field, the sooner they were to enter to work the better. He does not wish any gentleman to send any negro unless of good principles, obedient to orders, and of a good genius. There is good accommodations on the farm for negros of every size and description. Andrew Smith."

Also in Charleston, South Carolina, gardener John Bryant, active in that city between 1795-1810, advertised for an apprentice to help him in 1796. “An Apprentice is wanted to the above business, either white or colored. A Lad that is honest and industrious will meet with every encouragement.”

Occasionally gardeners advertised their need for apprentices through help-wanted notices in local newspapers. When the enterprising William Booth was establishing his nursery, he advertised, on March 2 1795, in the Federal Intelligence & Baltimore Daily Gazette, that he was looking for one or two boys between the ages of 10 & 12 to serve as apprentice gardeners. As ad inducement, Booth noted that in several years such trainees would be capable of managing the gardens of gentlemen’s county seats around Baltimore, which, he declared, were “going to ruin, for the want of a skillful gardener.”

Booth’s ad reflected the post-Revolutionary trends in professional gardening in the 18th-century Mid-Atlantic & South. White indentured & convict servants from the British Isles & black slaves had toiled side by side to design & maintain Mid-Atlantic & South gardens before the war with England.

After the Revolution, growing numbers of immigrant European, Caribbean, & British independent gardeners, assisted by white apprentices & free & slave blacks, took over the work. The American Revolution was the turning point in the development of independent gardening in the newly emerging capitalist nation, However, some aspects of Mid-Atlantic & South gardening did not change until the Civil War.

John Renauld was a gardener who immigrated from Rambouillet, France to Charleston some years after his birth in 1772. His only newspaper notice occurred in the Charleston City Gazette and Daily Advertiser when he lost his young garden apprentice on July 7. 1806. "Strayed, From the subscriber, a small new Negro Boy named JIM; about four feet 5 or 6 inches high; slender make and this vissage; has a scar on the right side of his face- above his eye; had on an oznaburgs shirt and blue cassimere trowsers. Whoever will deliver the said Boy at No. 34 Tradd-street, shall receive a reward of Five Dollars. JOHN RENAULD."

As visiting English agriculturalist Richard Parkinson pointed out about the Chesapeake and the South at the end of the 18th-century, “where the livelihood is got out of the poor soil--it is pinched & screwed out of the negro.”

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Garden History - Gardeners - Free Blacks

Throughout the 18th & 19th centuries, free African Americans also hired on to assist with garden chores during the growing season. Records of such temporary employments are very difficult to find. Rather than hiring on for a season, free blacks usually assisted with specific chores as they needed to be completed.

Craftsman Willaim Faris kept a diary in the town of Annapolis, Maryland, between 1792 & 1804. During that period a total of 16 free black men helped town craftsman William Faris with garden tasks. Most were permanent free black residents of the town, but some were passing through & hiring themselves out as garden laborers for a season.

In the spring of 1792, Faris hired a black garden helper, Peter Shorter. Two days later the craftsman learned that Shorter was a runaway slave, & he immediately discharged the man. Faris recorded in his journal, that he usually paid 12 pounds per annum to his free black helpers. He did not specify in his diary the amount of work expected from the workers for pounds per month.

By 1790, blacks composed a third of Maryland’s population. In the city of Annapolis at the time of the 1800 census, out of a total population of 2,212 persons, there were 646 slaves & 273 free blacks. Between 1790 & 1800, the population of free blacks in Maryland increased about 144 percent. Slavery grew at a much slower rate.

One dramatic increase in the number of free blacks occurred as a result of the slave uprising in the French colony of Saint Dominique led by Toussaint L’ Ouverture. About 2,000 French-speaking refugees, including well over 500 of black or mixed racial ancestry, arrived in Maryland during the summer of 1793. Faris noted in his diary, “July 10, 1793. Yesterday & too Day there has been between 30 & 40 Vessels went to Baltimore, the most of the full of French people…one Vessel had near 1200 on board.”

After this French settlement, free black & white French gardeners-for-hire began searching for work in the Chesapeake. These gardeners had a significant influence on Mid-Atlantic & Upper South pleasure gardening, as they introduced tropical varieties of plants & new garden designs into the region.

French-speaking gardeners became so numerous, that Maryland seedsmen Sinclair & Moore published their 1825 trade catalogue in French as well as English. The contributions of the French refugee gardeners from Saint Dominique were extolled by orator John Pendleton Kennedy at the first exhibition of the Horticultural Society of Maryland: “They brought with the….the knowledge of plants & garden stuffs. After their arrival…Baltimore became distinguished for the profusion & excellence of fruits & vegetables.”

Throughout most of the 18th century, indentured white servants & free & slave blacks were the backbone of the garden labor force in the Mid-Atlantic & Upper South. White free white professional gardeners & nurserymen began to appear after the Revolution in the urban areas, it is likely that, until the Civil War, most rural Mid-Atlantic & Upper South pleasure gardens in Maryland were maintained by black gardeners, some of them free but most of them slaves.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

1764 Cauliflower - 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.


Cauliflowers, must be sown critically to a day, or else there is no dependence on the success of them. I cannot, nor do I find any one else capable of assigning a good reason for this, but the experience of this country, as well as England, verifies the proposition. We must therefore receive this fact as we do many others, rest ourselves satisfied, that the thing certainly exists, though the mode of existence is an impenetrable secret to us. Miller says, that for spring Cauliflowers the seed should be sown on the 10th or 12th of August, but in Virginia, the 12th day of September is the proper time, which is much the same as in England, allowing for the difference of climate, the ratio of which ought to be a month sooner in the spring, and the same later in the fall; our summer months being so intensely hot in this place, they should continue until the 20th of October, where they are to remain all the winter protected from the inclemency of the weather, and towards the latter end of February, the plants should be drawn and planted in a good spot of ground for a erop, about three and a half feet asunder, Miller says; but I think six much better, on account of the earth it takes to hill them up when rampant. Gardeners are divided with regard to the manner of preserving them in winter, and after they are planted out in February. Glasses are generally mentioned in the books of gardening as most proper, but later experience seems to contradict this position, because they.make the plant spindle, which is to be feared and guarded against in Cauliflowers, as they have a natural tendency towards luxuriancy, and therefore it is said that boxes, pyramidically formed, answer the purpose much better, for they equally protect plants from frost, afford them full room to germinate, and at the same time do not draw them to such an inordinate length as glasses are too apt to do, even with the best management. In order to have.Cauliflowers in the fall, you should sow your seed on the 12th day of April, and transplant them into beds to restrain their growth, and in July fix them out to stand. As they grow they should be hilled up, otherwise when they head, the winds will be apt to injure them. A rich light soil is what they delight in most. Col. Turner, of King George, who was eminent for Cauliflowers, had a method peculiar to himself for some years of managing them, which succeeded beyond any other. He dug trenches about a foot and a half wide, quite down to the clay. With this he mixed with a spade some long dung, into which he put his plants about live feet asunder, when they were fit to be transplanted; and as they grew, hilled them up with the best mould. This method answered the purpose of transplantation, for the clay repressed the growth of the plant, and the warmth of the dung afforded them just heat enough to live, as they might without it perish for want of nourishment. I have myself found this method succeed best. Virgin mould is preferable to every other sort. The gardeners near London have wholly abandoned the practice of watering their Cauliflower plants in the summer, as a thing very injurious to them, and Mr. Miller coincides in opinion with them. Radishes or Spinach sown amongst the Cauliflowers, so as not to interfere with them, will preserve them from the fly, being a more agreeable food to that destructive animal., When your Cauliflowers begin to flower, the inner leaves should be broken over them, otherwise the sun will soil their snowy colour, and as they spread, the larger leaves,should be served in the same manner. Some pin the outer leaves with a stick, but this is a malpractice, because it often binds the flower, that it cannot grow to that size it otherwise might do. In November, when you have apprehensions as to the approach of intense frosts, take your Cauliflowers up by the roots in a morning, with as much mould as you can, and put them in the ground, in a hole dug about two feet below the surface, well sheltered by straw or thatching, as near one another as you please, and cut them as you have occasion. They may be preserved in this manner the greatest part of the winter, though they acquire an earthy taste from their confined situation. They are not so delicate in the winter or fall as they are in May, notwithstanding in May they are in the midst of other elegancies, and stand without any rival in the fall. That face must be fair indeed that shines amongst a multitude of beauties, which too often eclipse one another. When you meet with a Cauliflower whose curd is hard and white, and free from frothiness about the edges, let it stand for seed, and as the flower branches, remove the leaves fiom off it, and fix three pretty strong stalks at equal angles about it, surrounded with pack-thread, in order to support the branches, which might be otherwise broken by the wind. When the seed is ripe, cut the pods off and dry them, and rub them out as you do Cabbage seed. I have been told that seeds cannot be raised in this country, but I believe the contrary may be proved by a proper culture.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

18C & 19C America - The Slave Garden or Huck Patch

Occasionally slave owners in the 18C allowed their workers to layout and plant small gardens to supplement the usually meager food provisions allocated to the field slaves. Some masters intentionally delegated a small plot of ground for this purpose near the slave quarters. Slaves would prepare their garden plots after sundown and on Sundays when most had a lighter work schedule.

The problems with planting and harvesting herbs and vegetables were the same for both groups of gardeners; and of course, the slaves knew the challenges well, since they planted and maintained the gardens of their masters. Nature makes no class distinctions. It would be relatively easy to save the seeds for annuals, just as they did for their masters year to year. The wealthy landowner would have his slaves build a wall or intricate fence around his plantation's kitchen garden to keep deer and other interlopers at bay, and his slaves would need to find a way to do the same.

Permitting slaves to independently raise produce, and even livestock, was not new in the 18C Chesapeake. Earlier in 17C Virginia, some masters had allowed their slaves to grow tobacco, corn, horses, hogs, and cattle and to sell them to gain enough money to buy their freedom and the freedom of their wives and children. Sensing that this was a serious threat to their labor pool, in 1692, the Virginia General Assembly ordered slave owners to confiscate "all horses, cattle and hoggs marked of any negro or other slaves marked, or by any slave kept."

Apparently the practice of allowing independent garden plots had begun again in the first half of the 18C or earlier. In 1732, traveller Hugh Grove noted Virginia slaves planting "little Plats for potatoes or Indian pease and Cimnells."

Cimnells were small squash. In addition to field peas and squash, Chesapeake slaves also planted potatoes, beans, onions, and collards. All these crops could be eaten raw, boiled in an old pot, or roasted in the coals of a small fire. Over winter, the slaves could store some of their produce inconspicuously in the ground, banking them just like they did for the master.

In the warmer climate of South Carolina, slaves were growing more familiar heat-loving varieties of vegetables. In the 1720s, Mark Catesby recorded a new variety of yam in South Carolina, calling it, "a welcome improvement among the Negroes," who were "delighted with all their African food, particularly this, which a great part of Africa subsists on." Slaves in the Lowcountry could grow tania roots, millet, sorghum, sesame, peppers, and okra in addition to the traditional colonial vegetables.

In the Chesapeake, those with larger plots might attempt to grow mellons and corn, which required more room to grow and would certainly draw more attention from the gentry; something that might be considered risky by a group of people trying to maintain a low profile just to survive. A good slave did what he was told and kept his mouth shut. The slave might appreciate the autonomy a little patch of garden land would give him, but he wouldn't advertise it.

A few years later, in the 1740s, itinerant Chesapeake traveler, Edward Kimber also mentioned that slaves were cultivating "the little Spots allow'd them."

Slaveowners knew they could learn about both life and gardening from their enslaved servants.

In 1771, Virginian Landon Carter wrote in his diary, "I walkt out this even to see how my very old and honest Slave Jack Lubber did to support life in his Extreme age; and I found him prudently working amongst his melon vines, both to tivert the hours and indeed to keep nature stirring that indigestion might not hurry him off with great pain." Carter took "notice of his Pea Vines a good store and askt him why he had not got them hilled." Lubber replied, "they have not got age wnough and it will hurt too young things to coast them too closely with earth." Carter wrote that his answer showed, "the Prudence of Experience."

In March 1774, New Englander Philip Fithian, who had journeyed south to temporarily tutor the children of Robert Carter at Nomini Hall, watched as, "Negroes make a fence; they drive into the Ground Chesnut stakes about two feet apart in a straight Row, & then twist in the Boughs of Savin which grows in great plenty here." The savin or red cedar would be easy to weave in and out of the more permanent stakes. A month later he noted the plantation's slaves "digging up their small Lots of ground allow'd by their Master for Potatoes, peas &c; All such work for themselves they constantly do on Sundays, as they are otherwise employed on every other Day." One of Robert Carter's slaves offered Fithian "Eggs, Apples, Potatoes."

About twenty years later, Englishman Isaac Weld also wrote of the slave quarters in Virginia: "Adjoining their little habitations, the slaves commonly have small gardens and yards for poultry, which are all their own property… their gardens are generally found well stocked, and their flocks of poultry numerous." If the master allowed his slaves to keep poultry, the slave not only took advantage of the extra food, but also sold some of the chickens for extra spending money.

Virginia planter James Mercer declared that the "Negroes…are the general Chicken merchants" in the state.

In Maryland, as Colonel Nicholas Rogers (1753-1822) planned a new home in the 1780s, he designated an area for the household slaves to plant their own garden. Back of the master's house at the end of this second yard, an area measuring 36' by 82' was dedicated "For Servants' Vegetable Patch or For Other Purposes." Within the area was an 18' by 16' slave quarter with the remainder of this long rectangular plot to be used by the slaves to grow fruits & vegetables.

Peter Hatch, long-time director of Thomas Jefferson's gardens and grounds at Monticello, reports that "Jefferson's Memorandum Books, which detailed virtually every financial transaction that he engaged in between 1769 and 1826, as well as the account ledger kept by his granddaughter, Anne Cary Randolph, between 1805 and 1808, document hundreds of transactions involving the purchase of produce from Monticello slaves."

Hatch calculates that the records show the purchase of 22 species of fruits & vegetables from as many as 43 different individuals..."much of the produce purchased from Monticello slaves was out of season: potatoes were sold in December and February, hominy beans and apples purchased in April, and cucumbers bought in January. Archaeological excavations of slave cabins at Monticello indicate the widespread presence of root cellars, which not only served as secret hiding places, but surely as repositories for root crops and other vegetables amenable to cool, dark storage...

"Both Jefferson and Ann Cary specified the person from whom they purchased vegetables and fruit; however, the person involved in the sale might not have been the one gardening. Thirty-one males, averaging about 37 years of age, and twelve females, averaging 41 years old, were involved in the transactions. Since many of the sellers were older, seven of the males were over fifty, they may have been representing the family garden. Squire, for example, a former Peter Jefferson slave leased by Thomas Jefferson from his mother, represented the most sophisticated garden. He sold thirteen different commodities, including cymlins (a patty-pan-shaped squash), potatoes, lettuce, beets, watermelons, apples, and muskmelons. He sold a cucumber to Jefferson on January 12, 1773, suggesting either that the fruit was pickled and preserved, or that artificial heat in a cold frame or hot bed was used to bring this tender vegetable to fruition in the middle of winter, a rather remarkable feat in 18th-century Virginia. Bagwell, Squire's son-in-law, was also a major supplier, and sold Jefferson sixty pounds of hops for twenty dollars...

"Israel Gillette Jefferson, a waiter and carder in the Monticello cloth factory, represented another productive African American family garden. His father, Ned or Edward Gilette, sold watermelons, beans, and potatoes, while Israel sold large quantities of cabbage, fifty to one hundred at a time. Caesar, a farm laborer at Shadwell, Jefferson's birthplace and a satellite farm to Monticello, was another major supplier of cucumbers, cabbages, and greens, and Burwell Colbert, probably Jefferson's most valued and trusted slave, sold 'sprouts' to Jefferson. Boys and girls were also involved in the bartering process; Billy, at the age of eight, sold strawberries, perhaps collected from the wild, while Madison and Eston Hemings, most likely Jefferson's sons by Sally Hemings, were 15 and 18 when selling 100 cabbages to Jefferson in 1822."

Hatch further notes that "Except for watermelons, and perhaps sweet potatoes, few of the sold fruits and vegetables were either African in origin, or closely associated with African American food culture. Cucumbers were the most common commodity, with 23 transactions, followed by cabbages, watermelons, hops, Irish potatoes, cymlins, and greens."

In 1792, George Washington wrote to English agricultural writer Arthur Young, "Ground is often allowed them for gardening, and priviledge given them to raise dung-hill fowls for their own use."

Julian Niemcewicz reported visitin George Washington's Mount Vernon in 1797. He noted that in the slave quarters, "a small vegetable garden was situated close to the hut. Five or six hens, each with ten or fifteen chickens, walked around there. That is the only pleasure allowed to Negroes: they are not permitted to keep either ducks or geese or pigs. They sell the chickens in Alexandria and with the money buy some furniture."

In Virginia, Englishman John Davis visiting the Spencer Ball plantation in Prince William County about 1800, wrote that one old slave declared, "There is few masters like the `Squire.' He has allowed me to build a log-house, and take in a patch of land, where I raise corn and water Melions." Perhaps it was easier for the older slaves, who usually were not assigned as much heavy labor, to keep an eye on the growing slave gardens.

In Maryland, an 1801 garden plan for Colonel Nicholas Rogers's property in Baltimore indicates a space in one of the far corners of the property "for servants vegetable patch or for other purposes." This garden space that Rogers chose for his slaves was inelegantly bounded by the slave quarter, the privy, and the hog pen. Elderly Charles Carroll of Carrollton, a Maryland signer of the Declaration of Independence, advised his overseer in 1823, that his new slave, "Clem a blacksmith must not have more priveleges than my other slaves or be better fed...he desires a huck patch; these I many of my slaves have that privelege."

Convict servant, who was not a slave, James Revel wrote a poem about his experiences in The Poor Unhappy Transported Felon's Sorrowful Account of His Fourteen Years Transportation, At Virginia, in America.

At last to my new master's house I came,
To the town of Wicowoco called by name,
Here my European cloaths were took from me,
Which never after I could see.

A canvas shirt and trowsers me they gave,

A hop-sack frock, in which I was a slave,
No shoes or stockings had I for to wear,
Nor hat, nor cap, my hands and feet went bare.

Thus dress'd unto the field I next did go,

Among tobacco plants all day to hoe.
At day break in the morn our work begun,
And lasted till the setting of the sun.

My fellow slaves were five transports more,

With eighteen negroes, which is twenty-four,
Besides four transport women in the house,
To wait upon his daughter and his spouse.

We and the negroes both alike did fare,

Of work and food we had an equal share;
And in a piece of ground that's call'd our own,
That we eat first by ourselves was sown.

No other time to us they will allow,

But on a Sunday we the same must do,
Six days we slave for our master's good,
The seventh is to produce our food.

And when our hard day's work is done,

Away unto the mill we must begone.
Till twelve or one o'clock a-grinding corn,
And must be up by day-light in the morn.

The above poem was Published in York, England in 1800, the full text of the book may be found at the site of the collaborative effort between the University of North Carolina and Duke University called Documenting the South.

To see Peter Hatch's full article go to the Twinleaf Journal.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Prayers for the success of the Dovecote 1829


From The Protestant's Companion: A Collection of Presevatives Against Popery published by T Brettell, London. 1829

"Everlasting God! before whose view are all the angels, and by whose nod all things are governed, who also, in thy excellence, doth not cease to regard the meanest objects which are necessary for human frailty, and who givest food to all flesh, and fillest every living being with blessing; as supplicants we implore thee to shed thy benediction on this pigeon-house (or poultry, or keep of geese, ducks and drakes, &c.), that redounding to us, thy servants, by the agency of thy grace, the glory of thy majesty may be exalted."

Charles Chaplin (English artist, 1907–1987) A Beauty with Doves

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Daily Care of the Dovecote 1802

The Domestic Encyclopaedia: or, A Dictionary of Facts, and Useful Knowledge by Anthony Florian Madinger Willich. London 1802

"PIGEON-HOUSE, or DoveCote: a structure usually of wood, for the accommodation and rearing of pigeons.

"Dove-cotes ought to be built of a moderate height, and spacious, so that the birds may find sufficient room to fly about them with ease; and, in case they spy an external object which should alarm them, that they can readily escape. In constructing the nests, it will he advisable to interweave wickers, in imitation of those formed by wild pigeons; as they will thus be more easily domesticated, and have no inducement to forsake their habitations.

Jean-Baptiste Greuze (French Rococo Era Painter, 1725-1805) Girl with Doves 1800

"Should any repairs become necessary in the will be proper to complete them before the middle of the day; because, if the pigeons be disturbed in the afternoon, they will not rest quietly during the night, and the greater pan will perhaps sit moping on the ground, till the ensuing day. Such unfavourable accidents, in the breeding season, will either occasion the destruction of ninny eggs in embryo; or, if there should be any nestlings, they will consequently be starved.

"In Parkinson's Experienced Farmer, we meet with a remark made by a skillful pigeon-breeder, who cautioned him "against letting the first-flight fly to increase his stock," but advised him to take them without exception; because they will otherwise appear at the Benting season, that is, between seed-time and harvest, when pigeons are very scarce, and many of the young birds would pine to death, from mere weakness.—Pigeons rise early: and, as they require to be supplied with food only during the benting season, it should not be carried to the cote later than three or four o'clock in the morning: for, if it be served after that hour, they will hover restlessly about the house, and thus be prevented from taking their proper exercise. During the greater part of the year, they ought to provide their own food; as they will find abundance in the fields, from the commencement of harvest to the end of the sowing season...those which are constantly fed at home, will not be prolific.

"The utmost cleanliness ought to prevail in pigeon-houses: hence the holes should be carefully examined, before the breeding-season arrives. If any of the young die during the summer, they will speedily become putrid, and emit a disagreeable stench, which is extremely injurious to the inhabitants of the dove-cote: thus, from the insupportable filth, and smell, they are often unwillingly compelled to quit the eggs laid for a second brood; so that the principal part of the season is lost.

Emile Munier (French Academic Painter, 1840-1895) Teasing the Doves 1895

"Farther, as pigeons are very liable to be infected with fleas, all the nests ought to be cleaned; and, if it be conveniently practicable, they should be washed out, and the dung, or oilier impurities removed, immediately after the first flight is hatched: this business, however, should, on all occasions, be performed at an early hour in the morning; and the remaining eggs must likewise be removed, so as to render the habitation perfectly clean for the harvest-flight.

"Thus managed, pigeons will thrive and multiply to an uncommon degree; but, as they have a great antipathy to owls, which, sometimes enter their habitations, such intruders must be immediately destroyed, rats, cats, weasels, and squirrels are likewise their mortal enemies, and will speedily depopulate a whole dove-cote. To prevent these depredations, it will be necessary to examine the different avenues to the pigeon-house, regularly once a week, or oftener, and with minute attention."

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Practical Structures - Dovecote, Pigeon-House, Culver-House

A dovecote is a practical, and often ornamental, building intended to house pigeons or doves. Dovecotes in America were also called pigeon-houses and culver houses. Doves were kept in early America for the same reasons they had been kept for centuries - for their eggs, their meat, and their dung used as fertilizer. Dovecotes in America usually were either rectangular or circular free-standing structures or built into the end or top of a house or barn, often containing pigeonholes, in which tasty doves would nest.

The term culver-house originated from the old English terms culfre or colver which had their origins in the Latin columba. In Rome, a dovecote was called a columbarium. In early English, Hus or haus meant house, and cote referred to a small building housing animals.

William Holman Hunt (English artist, 1827-1910) The Dovecote

In colonial and early America, dovecotes appeared from New England into the deep South, although they are more often mentioned from the Mid-Atlantic region southward.

A plantation-for- sale ad in the June 5, 1736, South Carolina Gazette in Charleston, South Carolina, noted, "To be Sold A Plantation containing 200 Acres...a dove-house with nests for 50 pair of pigeons." A plantation-for-rent ad in the same paper in January of 1740 mentioned, "a Dairy, Dovecoat, Stable, Barn," in a list of outbuildings.

The 1777 Pennsylvania Gazetter advertised, "A large commodious Brick House, with two acres of good land, situated on the pleasant banks of Schuykill, commonly called Vauxhall 45 feet in front, 34 feet deep...yard large enclosed...pigeon house."

Moreau de St Mery noted in his 1793-1798 American Journey on May, 1794, that, "There are many dove-cotes in Baltimore, as well as little houses made to shelter swallows, due to the belief that their attachment for a house will bring prosperity to those who live there." Baltimore visitor Richard Parkinson also wrote of dovecotes in his Travels in America in 1798.

During the same period, William Faris noted in his Annapolis diary on March 21, 1798 that “the Pigeon House Blew Down, it was Built in the year 1777.”

John Beale Bordley wrote in his Gleanings from the Most Celebrated Books on Husbandry, Gardening, and Rural Affairs published in Philadelphia in 1803, of the culver, Pigeon or Dove: a Culver House.

As the 19th-century progressed, artist Charles Willson Peale mentioned squabs from his Pennsylvania "Pidgeon House" in 1814. Marylander Martha Ogle Forman also wrote in her diary of her Pigeon House in 1819 and 1823 at her home at Rose Hill.

As late as 1887, R. S. Ferguson wrote in the June Archeological Journal of "an almost forgotten pigeon house or culver house."

The Wentworth-Gardner Outbuilding with Dove-Cote. Portsmouth, New Hampshire

The Romans may have introduced dovecotes or columbaria to Britain, since pigeon holes have been found in Roman ruins at Caerwent. However it is generally believed that doves were not commonly kept there until after the Norman invasion. The earliest known examples of dove-keeping occur in Norman castles of the 12th century (for example, at Rochester Castle, Kent, where nest-holes can be seen in the keep).

Documentary references to dovecotes in England also begin in the 12th century, when a coluerhouse" is mentioned. The term appears again in 1420, as a "colverhous."  J. Harmar writes in his 1624 Beza's Sermon that the "poor culverhouse sorer shaken." Izaak Walton mentioned a dove-cote in his 1653 Compleat Angler. By 1669, John Webb reported that in the north of England, a dove house was called a dove-cote and in the south of England it was referred to as a pigeon-house. Nathan Bailey wrote in his Dictionarium Rusicum "old Word for a Pigeon of Dove, and theance Culver-House." By 1735, The Sportsman's Dictionary from London, reported the term 
Cluver House.

The oldest known dovecotes are the fortified dovecotes of Upper Egypt, and the domed dovecotes of Iran. In arid regions, the droppings were in great demand as fertilizer. In Medieval Europe, the possession of a dovecote was a symbol of status and power and was regulated by law. Only nobles had this special privilege which was often referred to as droit de colombier. This property right lasted until the 18th-century in England.

Dovecotes were built by the Romans, who knew them as Columbaria. They seem to have introduced them to Gaul. The presence of dovecotes is not noted in France, before the Roman invasion of Gaul by Caesar. The pigeon farm was, by then, a passion in Rome. The Roman columbarium , generally round, often had its interior covered with a white coating of marble powder. Varro, Columella, and Pliny the Elder wrote works on pigeon farms and dovecote construction.

To ensure the safety of their edible doves, owners tried to locate their dovecotes away from large trees, which might house raptors, such as hawks, eagles, and owls, and shielded their dove houses from prevailing winds. Owners usually constructed their dovecotes with tight access doors and smooth walls with a protruding band of stones (or other smooth surface) to prohibit the entry of climbing predators such as rats, cats, and squirrels. The exterior facade was sometimes coated by a horizontal band, in order to prevent their ascent. In colonial America, Landon Carter wrote in 1764 that, "Colo. Tayloe's Ralph (was) sent back here to cut my dishing capstones for my Pigeonhouse posts to keep down the rats."
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Dovecote at Shirley Plantation in Virginia

Dovecotes can be extremely diverse in construction materials, shape, and dimension. The square dovecote with quadruple vaulting was built before the 15th century such as the examples at Roquetaillade Castle in Bordeaux or Saint-Trojan near Cognac. The cylindrical tower appeared between the 14-16th centuries covered with curved tiles, flat tiles, stone roofing, and an occasional dome of bricks. The dovecote sitting on brick, stone, or wooden pillars, either cylindrical, hexagonal, rectangular, or square in form was common in early America. Some pigeonholes were built-in as a part of a house or barn or other outbuilding,  or they were attached as a lean-to dovecote structure against the sides of buildings. The interior of a dovecote might contain pigeonholes large enough for a pair of doves. Usually a ladder was located in the interior of large dovecotes for the collection of eggs or squabs and for maintenance.

Dovecote in Williamsburg, Virginia Photo by Karen Stuart of the Library of Congress

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Cooking the Birds in the Dovecote - Warning - Cock-birds...are quarrelsome

The American Domestic Cookery by Maria Eliza Ketelby Rundell New York 1814

"Pigeons: Bring two young ones at a time: and breed every month, if well looked after, and plentifully fed. They should be kept very clean, and the bottom of the dovecote be strewed with sand once a month at least. Tares and white peas are their proper food. They should have plenty of fresh water in their house, Starlings and other birds are apt to come among them, and suck the eggs. Vermin likewise are their great enemies, and destroy them. If the breed should be too small, put a few tame pigeons of the common kind, and of their own colour, among them. Observe not to have too large a proportion of cock-birds: for they are quarrelsome, and will soon thin the dove-cote.

"Pigeons are fond of salt, and it keeps them in health. Lay a large heap of clay near the house, and let the salt-brine that may be done with in the family be poured upon it.

"Bay salt and cummin seeds mixed, is a universal remedy for the diseases of pigeons. The back and breasts are sometimes scabby: in which case, take a quarter of a pound of bay salt, and as much common salt, a pound of fennel seeds, a pound of dill seed, as much cummin seed, and an ounce of sassafras; mix all with a little, wheaten flour, and some fine worked clay; when all are well beaten together, put it into two earthen pots, and bake them in the oven, when cold put them on the table in the dove-cote; the pigeons will eat it, and thus be cured."

Charles Spencelayh (British genre painter, 1865-1958) The Pet Dove

Friday, March 8, 2013

John Tradescant the Elder and his son John collect plants

John Tradescant the elder (c 1570-1632) (portrait attributed to Cornelis de Neve)

John Tradescant (c 1570-1632) & his son, also named John (1608-1662), became gardeners to the nobility & royalty of England. Both traveled widely collecting botanical specimens & other rarities.

Perhaps John Tradescant the Elder, (c 1570-1632) naturalist & gardener, with his 3rd wife, Elizabeth Day

John Tradescant, the elder (d. 1638), was probably born in England, perhaps in the 1570s. He seems to have had family connections in East Anglia. English researchers record possible candidates for his parents at Corton, while his son John Tradescant (1608-1662) left legacies to "namesakes" (described by his wife as "kinsmen") at Walberswick. Both of these villages are on the Suffolk coast.

The Apricooke_ (that is booth Long and greet)

The earliest record of Tradescant's life is his marriage in 1607, at Meopham in Kent, to Elizabeth Day, daughter of the late vicar of the parish.  As Tradescant began collecting plants, John Parkinson & John Gerard became his close friends.  

the great French stra(w)bere

Tradescant's 1609 employer was Robert Cecil, 1st earl of Salisbury, at Hatfield House. In 1611, at Salisbury's behest, Tradescant traveled through the Low Countries & Flanders to Paris, buying trees, flowering shrubs, vines, & bulbs for the gardens at Hatfield. Following the death Robert Cecil in 1612, Tradescant remained in the employment of the 2nd earl, on whose behalf he again visited France. Tradescant left Hatfield in 1614, to farm for himself & to work with Edward, 1st Baron Wotton, at the former monastery of St Augustine at Canterbury.

The grene pescod plum

At Canterbury, his success in growing melons, mandrakes, & other exotics attracted admiring comments from Sir Henry Mainwaring & others. Tradescant accompanied a delegation to Tsar Michael Feodorovich, led by Sir Dudley Digges. Tradescant's diary of this "Viag of Ambusad" survives among the Ashmole manuscripts in the Bodleian Library. While the ambassadorial party set off for the imperial court, he spent 3 weeks doing fieldwork noting the characteristics of plants & other wildlife—the first such investigations recorded on Russian soil—& gathering specimens for shipment back to England. Parkinson (Paradisi, 346; Theatrum, 705) identifies white hellebores, purple cranesbill, & other plants among those brought to England on that occasion by "that worthy, curious & diligent searcher & preserver of all natures rarities & varieties, my very good friend, John Tradescante."

The grete -Early- yollow peech

Tradescant accompanied the English fleet sent in 1620–21, to quell the Barbary pirates who were proving an increasing hazard to English shipping. He collected specimens as he could on land, when circumstances permitted. Parkinson reported that Tradescant had collected on this trip the wild pomegranate "was never seene in England, before John Tradescante … brought it from parts beyond the Seas, & planted it in his Lords Garden at Canterbury."

The grete Roman Hasell Nut

In 1623, Tradescant entered the service of George Villiers, 1st duke of Buckingham, for whom he again visited the Low Countries & Flanders, buying trees & other plants. A 1625 letter written by Tradescant in Buckingham's name & addressed to Edward Nicholas, then secretary to the navy, asks sea captains, ambassadors, & overseas merchants to furnish the duke with all manner of natural & artificial curiosities. In 1625, when the duke was sent to France to provide an escort for Charles I's bride, Henrietta Maria, on her introductory journey to England, Tradescant followed in his wake with "my Lords stuff & Trunkes &c" taking the opportunity to acquire further specimens for the duke's gardens at New Hall in Essex. In 1627, he accompanied the duke again to France, when Buckingham attempted to bring relief to the besieged protestants of La Rochelle, where Buckingham's army was decimated on the Île de Ré.

The Imperyall plum

Following Buckingham's assassination in 1628, the elder Tradescant moved to South Lambeth in Surrey, where he would live for the rest of his life. Propagating unknown plants & procuring rarities grew to dominate his life.

1648 attr Thomas de Critz (British artist, 1607-1653) John Tradescant the Younger (1608–1662) as a Gardener

In Lambeth, Tradescant would plant the specimines he was collecting, establish a public museum, & raise his family, including his plant collecting son, John the younger.

An Early ripe Apple and good in taste

The younger Tradescant was fascinated by the idea of Virginia & collecting in the New World.  Tradescant the elder gave money so that in 1609, Captain Samuel Angall could find the best route to Virginia.

1652 attr Thomas de Critz (British artist, 1607-1653) John Tradescant the Younger (1608–1662) 1648-52

It is speculated that John Tradescant the younger went along on the trip & sent plants back. One plant sent back was Spiderwort (Tradescantia virginiana).  By 1616, he was a shareholder in the Virginia Company & paid for the transport of 24 settlers to the Virginia Colony.  This would have entitled him to buy 1,200 acres in Virginia.

The May Cherry

 John Tradescant names 40 North American plants in his garden-list of 1634. Tradescant is credited with being the first to grow the Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia), Aquilegia canadensis, Aster tradescantii, Rudbeckia laciniata, Tradescantia virginica, &, possibly Robinia pseudo-acacia. Lemmon (1968:5) says that the Tradescants brought back the first lilac, gladioli, lupins, the pomegranate, the hypericum & many crocuses.

The whighte peech

Among them was the plant with which his name is most closely linked, Tradescantia virginiana, of which Parkinson wrote, "This Spider-Wort is of late knowledge, & for it the Christian world is indebted unto that painfull industrious searcher, & lover of all natures varieties, John Tradescant … who first received it of a friend, that brought it out of Virginia." (Parkinson, Paradisi, 152) 

1650s attr Thomas de Critz (British artist, 1607-1653) John Tradescant the Younger (1608–1662) with Roger Friend and a Collection of Exotic Shells

By 1634, Tradescant's own plant collection was large enough for a visitor Peter Mundy to report spending "a whole day in peruseing, & that superficially, such as hee had gathered together" (R. C. Temple, ed. The Travels of Peter Mundy in Europe & Asia, 1608–1667, Hakluyt Society, ser. 2, vols. 45–6, 1919, 1–3). A description of the collection from 1638, includes the earliest mention of its most famous surviving treasure, "the robe of the King of Virginia, better known as "Powhatan's Mantle."

The Mussule plum

In 1630, he was chosen by the king as "Keeper of our gardens, Vines & Silke-wormes" at Oatlands Palace near Weybridge in Surrey, where he reportedly helped lay out a new bowling green & build a shelter for 200 orange trees. It was later destroyed by Cromwell. The Tradescants continued to amass collections of ornamental flowers & trees, most notably fruit trees, publishing a catalogue in 1634. A year before the elder Tradescant died, he was appointed custodian of the Oxford Physic Garden in 1637.

The Nuingetonn peeche

John Tradescant the younger (1608-1662) sailed to Virginia between 1628-1637, to collect plants. He settled around the area of Yorktown & Belfield, Virginia. Tradescant brought back more than 90 new plants. Among specimens the younger John brought back to their gardens at South Lambeth were American trees, like the Magnolia, Bald Cypress, & Tulip tree, plus garden flowering plants such phlox & asters. In addition to the more than 700 species of plants growing in the garden & orchard, the house itself (known as Tradescant's Ark) was a cabinet of curiosities, where father & son displayed novel items they had collected during their travels. To the original botanical collections, the Tradescants added sea shells; fossils; crystals; birds; fishes; snakes; insects; gems & coins; poisoned arrows; Henry VIII’s hawking bag & spurs; & the hand of a mermaid.

The whight Date

In 1656, John the younger published a catalogue called "Musaeum Tradescantianum" which recorded in detail the contents of the house & garden. In this 1656 catalogue, John Tradescant listed  30 or 40 more American species.  They included the red maple, the tulip tree, the swamp cypress & the occidental plane; the vines Vitis labrusca & V. vulpina; Adiantum pedatum, Anaphallis margaritacea, Lonicera sempervirens, Smilacina racemosa & Yucca filamentosa.

The portingegale Quince

The younger Tradescant bequeathed his library & museum (or some say it was swindled from him-another story) to Elias Ashmole (1617–1692). These collections were to become the core of the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, where the Tradescant collections remain largely intact. The collection includes these 1611-1630 fruit sketches probably made by the elder Tradescant.

The quene mother plum

Tradescant Road, off South Lambeth Road in Vauxhall, marks the former boundary of the Tradescant estate which included the botanic gardens & museum. Tradescant the elder was buried in the churchyard of St-Mary-at-Lambeth, as was his son. Part of the church is now established as the Museum of Garden History.

The Red pescod plum

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Mount Vernon after George Washington's Death

1800 Francis Jukes Jukes (American artist, 1745–1812)  Mount Vernon

1842  Susan Whitcomb Residence of General Washington

1846 Matthew Prior Mount Vernon

1850 Jennie Bellows Millard (American artist, 1816-1853)  Mount Vernon

1850 Russell Smith (American artist, 1812-1896) Mount Vernon

John Eastman (American Painter, fl 1842-1880) The Old Mount Vernon 1857

John Eastman (American Painter, fl 1842-1880) The Kitchen at Mount Vernon

1858 Mount Vernon Currier and Ives

1858 Vernon, West Front, C. B. Graham, lithographer, and J. Crutchett, publisher