Thursday, February 28, 2019

Plants in Early American Gardens - Spider Flower

 Spider Flower (Cleome hasslerana)

Spider Flower (Cleome hasslerana)

Spider Flower is a self-seeding annual native to southern regions of South America and was introduced to England via the West Indies in 1817. Also called Spider Legs and Grandfather’s Whiskers, it was considered a choice flowering annual by Robert Buist in his 1839 edition of The American Flower Garden Directory. Its showy pink and white flowers, large multi-lobed leaves, and strong growth habit make it a handsome addition to the flower border in summer and fall. Attracts bees and butterflies; deer resistant.

For more information & the possible availability for purchase
Contact The Tho Jefferson Center for Historic Plants or The Shop at Monticello 

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Gardens Display Economic & Cultural Ambitions - Profit

Gardening for Profit
Philadelphia seed dealer & nurseryman Bernard M’Mahon’s (1775-1816) main motive for writing the 1806 American Gardener's Calendar was to expand his profitable nursery enterprise, which supplied seeds & plants to many gardeners up & down the Atlantic coast, from gentry to artisan.

In 1993, Monticello's legendary gardener & historian Peter J. Hatch wrote a Twinleaf  article on "Bernard McMahon, Pioneer American Gardener." Hatch draws a picture of the Philadelphia nurseryman McMahon  as a shrewd businessman who forwarded the newest vegetable & flower varieties to Thomas Jefferson, who then would often follow the directions in the McMahan's American Gardener's Calendar step-by-step when planting in his flower beds or vegetable gardens. McMahon also served as curator for the plants collected by the Lewis & Clark expedition & published the 1st seed catalog in the 1803 United States. His American Gardener's Calendar, the most comprehensive gardening book published in the United States in the first half of the 19C; popularity & influence can be gauged by the 11 editions that were printed up to 1857.

The 648-page Calendar was modeled on a traditional English formula, providing month-by-month instructions on planting, pruning, & soil preparation for the various horticultural divisions -- the Kitchen Garden, Fruit Garden, Orchard, Nursery, etc. McMahon borrowed extensively from popular earlier English works but made a concerted effort to break away from English traditions in the way he celebrated the use of native American ornamentals; championed large-scale cider & seedling peach orchards that could be grazed with livestock;&admitted the harsh realities of eastern North America's continental climate. McMahon reinforced Jefferson's pride in the culture of American plants. American gardeners were urged to comb the local woodlands & fields for "the various beautiful ornaments with which nature has so profusely decorated them." Wildflowers, according to McMahon, were particularly suited for the hot, humid summer, when American gardens "are almost destitute of bloom." McMahon continued, "Is it because they are indigenous that we should reject them?"

In 1808 McMahon purchased 20 acres for his nursery & botanic garden that would enable him to expand his business. John Jay Smith, editor of The Horticulturist, noted in 1857 "Many must still be alive who recollect its [the store's] bulk window, ornamented with tulip-glasses, a large pumpkin, a basket or two of bulbous roots; behind the counter officiated Mrs. M'Mahon, with some considerable Irish accent, but a most amiable excellent disposition. Mr. M'Mahon was also much in the store, putting up seeds for transmission to all parts of this country Europe, writing his book, or attending to his correspondence, in one corner was a shelf containing a few botanical or gardening books; another contained the few garden implements, such as knives trimming scissors; a barrel of peas,&a bag of seedling potatoes, an onion receptacle, a few chairs, the room partly lined with drawers containing seeds, constituted the apparent stock in trade of what was one of the greatest seed houses then known in the Union. Such a store would naturally attract the botanist as well as the gardener, it was the frequent lounge of both classes, who ever found in the proprietors ready listeners as well as conversers. They were rather remarkable, here you would see Nuttall, Baldwin, Darlington, other scientific men, who sought information or were ready to impart it."

Almost all of America’s earliest indigenous gardening books served as the liaison between the nurseryman & an emerging middle-income group of home gardeners. As increasing leisure time & interest in gardening grew, there were not enough trained professional gardeners to go around nor excess funds to employ them. A new how-to-do-it manual was just what the young country needed.

English gardening books, American gardening books, plants & other supplies, & the practice of gardening itself fit into the new nation’s burgeoning capitalistic fervor at the end of the 18th century. In addition to professional gardeners & seed dealers & nurserymen like McMahon, whose numbers grew quickly after the Revolution, non-professional gardeners of every stripe often sold nature’s products to gain extra income.

George Washington encouraged his gardener to sell extra nursery stock for a profit, one-fifth of which he allowed the gardener to keep. Nobleman Henri Stier, who had fled Belgium during the French Revolution, had a bulb sale, when he moved back to Europe from Annapolis in 1803. Once he had returned to Belgium, he bought bulbs in Europe & shipped them to his old Chesapeake neighbors.

Annapolis craftsman William Faris, in his fiscal account book for October 23, 1799, noted receiving the substantial sum of $40 for tulip bulbs from John Quynn. Fellow Annapolitans Alexander Contee Hanson & Thomas Harwood, & Captain John O’Donnell from Baltimore visited the silversmith's garden to mark tulips & hyacinths that interested them; after the blooms faded Faris dug up the marked roots & sold, or traded, them to the gentlemen.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Plants in Early American Gardens - Deerhorn Clarikia

Deerhorn Clarkia (Clarkia pulchella)

On June 1, 1806, Meriwether Lewis “met with a singular plant today in blume” and collected it "on the steep sides of the fertile hills" northeast of Kamiah, Idaho. Clarkia was named for William Clark, co-captain of the expedition. Also called Ragged Robin, this showy annual with bright satiny pink to lavender flowers was popular in American seed catalogs of the mid-19th century.

For more information & the possible availability for purchase
Contact The Tho Jefferson Center for Historic Plants or The Shop at Monticello 

Monday, February 25, 2019

1839 American Graveyard & Cultural Landscape - Boston

This view was taken from the burying-ground on Copp's Hill, in Boston. Bunker Hill Monument, in its unfinished state, on Breed's Hill, and Bunker Hill, a little to the northward, are seen in the distance in the central view. A part of the buildings connected with the U. S. Navy Yard are seen on the extreme right." This print is from "Historical collections… relating to the history of every town in Massachusetts" by John Warner Barber (1798-1885) .

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Plants in Early American Gardens - Bachelor's Button

Bachelor's Button (Centaurea cyanus)

Also known as Cornflower, Bluebottle, and Bleuette, Bachelor's Button is an easy-to-grow, self-seeding, cool-season annual with bright blue flowers that has been popular in America since colonial times. Philadelphia nurseryman Bernard McMahon offered it in five colors in 1804 -- purple, red, blue, white, and striped -- and Jefferson included “French pink bleuette” in an 1806 list of flowers.

For more information & the possible availability for purchase
Contact The Tho Jefferson Center for Historic Plants or The Shop at Monticello 

Friday, February 22, 2019

Plants in Early American Gardens - Lamarque Rose

'Lamarque' Rose (Rosa x noisettiana cv.)

A Noisette rose bred in France in 1830 by MarĂ©chal, ‘Lamarque’ is a cross between ‘Blush Noisette’ and ‘Parks’ Yellow China.’ First offered in America in 1841 by Prince Nursery on Long Island, this rose’s virtues as a climber were recognized by Robert Buist in The Rose Manual (1854): “It makes a splendid pillar rose, frequently growing ten feet in one season.” ‘Lamarque’ displays the two main features of all Noisettes: it is highly fragrant and blooms repeatedly.

For more information & the possible availability for purchase
Contact The Tho Jefferson Center for Historic Plants or The Shop at Monticello 

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Plants in Early American Gardens - Cocksomb

 Cockscomb (Celosia argentea var. cristata)

Cockscomb (Celosia argentea var. cristata)

Thomas Jefferson noted the planting of seeds of “Cockscomb, a flower like the Prince’s feather,” in 1767.  Still today, the shockingly curious flowers of the Cockscomb delight visitors to Monticello. The seeds here are Cramer’s Burgundy, a prolific, well-branched variety that produces wine-colored blooms 2-6” wide.

For more information & the possible availability for purchase
Contact The Tho Jefferson Center for Historic Plants or The Shop at Monticello 

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Placement of Mansion House & Lawn

John Beale Bordley (1726/27-1804).  Essays Notes on Rural Affairs & Husbandry Pennsylvania 1799 Printed by Budd and Bartram, for Thomas Dobson, at the stone house, no 41, South Second Street, Philadelphia, 

Placement of House and Lawn

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


Monday, February 18, 2019

Plants in Early American Gardens - Pot Marigold

Pot Marigold - Calendula Seeds (Calendula officinalis)

Seeds of this hardy, cool-season annual were planted by Jefferson at his boyhood home, Shadwell, in 1767. Often called "Marygold" by gardeners before 1800, this self-seeding species with single yellow and orange flowers has been used for culinary and medicinal purposes since the Middle Ages.

For more information & the possible availability for purchase
Contact The Tho Jefferson Center for Historic Plants or The Shop at Monticello 

Sunday, February 17, 2019

The Ice House

John Beale Bordley (1726/27-1804) . Essays & Notes on Husbandry & Rural Affairs. Printed by Budd and Bartram, for Thomas Dobson, at the stone house, no 41, South Second Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1799

Ice House

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

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Plants in Early American Gardens - Chinese Aster

China Aster Seeds (Callistephus chinensis)

China Aster seeds were first sent to Paris from China in 1728 by a Jesuit priest. This showy annual flower was cultivated in America as early as 1737 by Williamsburg's John Custis and it grew in popularity in European gardens through the 18th century. By 1804 Bernard McMahon of Philadelphia was selling eleven cultivars of Aster chinensis in a variety of “sorts” including double and quilled forms. These seeds represent a simple, single-flowered form of China Aster in shades of blue and pink with yellow centers that are good for cutting.

For more information & the possible availability for purchase
Contact The Tho Jefferson Center for Historic Plants or The Shop at Monticello 

Friday, February 15, 2019

The Milk House

John Beale Bordley (1726/27-1804) Essays & Notes on Husbandry & Rural Affairs. Printed by Budd and Bartram, for Thomas Dobson, at the stone house, no 41, South Second Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1799

The Milk House

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

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Plants in Early American Gardens - Tickseed Sunflower

Tickseed Sunflower (Bidens aristosa)

This showy, self-seeding, North American annual wildflower bears abundant bright yellow, daisy-like flowers on slender stalks from late summer into early autumn. Tickseed Sunflower is so named for the appearance of its dark brown, flattened seeds. The robust, bushy plants boast delicate, deeply-dissected foliage on green or reddish, multi-branched stems. The flowers are attractive to butterflies, bees, and other pollinators.

For more information & the possible availability for purchase
Contact The Tho Jefferson Center for Historic Plants or The Shop at Monticello 

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

The Pigeon House or Dovecote

John Beale Bordley (1726/27-1804) . Essays & Notes on Husbandry & Rural Affairs. Printed by Budd and Bartram, for Thomas Dobson, at the stone house, no 41, South Second Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1799

The Pigeon House or Dovecote

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

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Plants in Early American Gardens - Amethyst Flowers

 Amethyst Flower (Browallia americana)

Amethyst Flower (Browallia americana)

Amethyst Flower, or Bush Violet, will produce an airy mass of tiny, amethyst-blue flowers throughout the summer in garden beds or containers. Named after Johan Browallius (1707-1755), a Swedish botanist, physician, and bishop, this self-seeding, South American species was introduced into cultivation in 1735, and was recommended by Philadelphia nurseryman Bernard McMahon in The American Gardener’s Calendar (1806).

For more information & the possible availability for purchase
Contact The Tho Jefferson Center for Historic Plants or The Shop at Monticello 

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Plants in Early American Gardens - Prickly Poppy

Prickly Poppy Seeds (Argemone mexicana)

On June 18, 1767, Thomas Jefferson recorded in his Garden Book that "Argemone put out one flower" in his garden at Shadwell. On July 18 he noted another Prickly Poppy flower and observed that it was "the 4th this year," a testament to Jefferson’s appreciation of the natural world around him. Philadelphia nurseryman Bernard McMahon sold Prickly Poppy, "Mexican Argemone," in 1804, which produces pale yellow flowers and attractive green and white-variegated leaves tipped with prickly spines, and reseeds readily.

For more information & the possible availability for purchase
Contact The Tho Jefferson Center for Historic Plants or The Shop at Monticello 

Friday, February 8, 2019

Plants in Early American Gardens - Joseph's Coat

Joseph's Coat (Amaranthus tricolor)

Thomas Jefferson included Joseph's Coat, or “three-coloured Amaranth,” in a shipment of seeds to his brother-in-law, Francis Eppes, from Paris in 1786. This brightly-plumed, tender annual is grown for its vibrant yellow and red foliage that provides an eye-catching display of color in the summer border.

For more information & the possible availability for purchase
Contact The Tho Jefferson Center for Historic Plants or The Shop at Monticello 

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Plants in Early American Gardens - Love-lies-bleeding (Amaranthus caudatus)

Love-lies-bleeding Seeds (Amaranthus caudatus)

When Thomas Jefferson noted "amarenths" on an 1806 list of flowers, he was probably referring to Love-Lies-Bleeding, a curious summer annual cultivated by the earliest American flower gardeners. Its common name suggests the unusual, cascading red flowers that droop almost to the ground and can be cut for fresh or dried arrangements.

For more information & the possible availability for purchase
Contact The Tho Jefferson Center for Historic Plants or The Shop at Monticello 

Monday, February 4, 2019

Plants in Early American Gardens - Carolina Lima Bean

Carolina or Sieva Lima Bean (Phaseolus lunatus)

Lima beans were a hot-weather favorite of Thomas Jefferson, who sowed them yearly from 1809-1824. Monticello’s gardener, Robert Bailey, saved seed of White Carolina beans in 1794. Also known as Sieva, this variety is small and delicately-flavored. Originally from South America and grown by Virginia native tribes, lima beans were also called “bushel,” “sugar,” or “butter” beans in the 1700s.

Contact The Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants at
Phone 434-984-9819

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Plants in Early American Gardens - Pride of Washington Rose

Pride of Washington Rose (Rosa setigera cv.)

The Prairie Rose (R. setigera) is a North American species first cataloged in 1810, with single, deep pink flowers and flexible canes. During the 1840s Joshua Pierce, a rose breeder from Washington, DC, introduced a series of setigera seedling roses that bore double flowers. Before 1846 Pierce selected and introduced 'Pride of Washington', along with eleven other hybrid forms. The Prairie Roses were initially extolled as the great American Rose, but they have become increasing rare in commerce and in the wild.

Contact The Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants at
Phone 434-984-9819

Friday, February 1, 2019

Structures & Ornaments - Birds in Cages, Houses, Aviaries, & Flying Free

1745 Joseph Badger (American artist, 1708-1765). Detail of John Gerry (1741-1786) brother of Elbridge Gerry of Boston with bird.  This is the perfect time to look at paintings of 18C Americans with their birds, both in the wild & captured in aviaries & cages.
1718 Nehemiah Partridge (American artist, 1683-1737) Portrait of Catherine Ten Broeck with Bird.  We know that native North American birds fascinated men & women alike in 18C British American colonies. Colonials kept cages for their birds. Some even kept larger bird-keeping areas called aviaries. 
1721 Attributed to Nehemiah Partridge (American artist, 1683-1737) Sara Gansevoort (1718-1731) with a bird.  An aviary is an enclosed area, often in a garden & larger than a traditional birdcage, meant for keeping, feeding, and hopefully breeding birds.  Aviaries in South Carolina sometimes contained two-story bird houses.
1725 Charles Bridges (American artist, 1670-1747). Detail of William Byrd II & Lucy Parke daughter Evelyn Byrd and a bird in the tree.  Mark Catesby (1682-1749) sailed to Virginia in 1712, and stayed in the British Atlantic colonies for 7 years, sketching & compiling The Natural History of Carolina, Florida, and the Bahama Islands for publication upon his return to England. In his monumental work, he described birds he had seen in the colonies in cages. Thomas Jefferson had a copy of Catesby's History in his library. 
1730 Pieter Vanderlyn (American artist, 1687-1778). Detail Paul de Wandelaer with bird.  Between 1739 and 1762, South Carolinian Eliza Lucas Pinckney (c 1722-1793) kept a letterbook in which she wrote, "Airry Chorristers pour forth their melody...the mocking bird...inchanted me with his harmony." By this time, enterprising Southerners caged red birds and even exported cages of mockingbirds to England.
In 1748, visitor to the British American colonies, Peter Kalm noted that turkeys, wild geese, pigeons and partridges were often tamed to the extent that “when they were let out in the morning they returned in the evening.”

1740s-50s Joseph Blackburn (American colonial era artist, 1700-1780) Mrs Thomas Jones.  The New York Journal published a poem of a woman imagining her ideal garden entitled A Wish of a Lady in 1769.
"...Just under my window I'd fancy a lawn,
Where delicate shrubs shou'd be planted with taste,
And none of my ground be seen running to waste.

Instead of Italians, the Linnet and Thrush

Wou'd with harmony greet me from every bush;
Those gay feather'd songsters do rapture inspire!
What music so soft as the heav'nly choir..."
1733 Gerardus Duyckinck (American artist, 1695-1746). Detail David and Phila Franks with bird.  And 18C portrait painters in America depicted men, women, & children with birds from the beginning of the century to the end. The question is whether the birds are being used as symbols or are actually birds that they might have owned.  

1750 John Hesselius (American colonial artist, 1728-1778) Ann & Sarah Gordon.  Birds were kept as pets around Charleston, South Carolina, when an ad in the South-Carolina Gazette in January of 1753 noted, "ANY Persons willing to try the cultivation of Flax and Hemp in this province, may have gratis a pint of Hemp Seed, and half a pint of Flax Seed, at Mr. Commissary Dart's store in Tradd-Street.—But it's hoped ladies will not send for any Hemp Seed for birds."
1755 John Wollaston (American artist, 1710-1775). Detail Elizabeth Page & Mann Page, children of Mann & Ann Corbin (Tayloe) Page of Rosewell, Gloucester County, with bird. In February of 1768, James Drummond announced in Charleston's The South Carolina and American General Gazette that he had "just imported...from L(ondon), a large and compleat (Assortment) of GOODS, Among which are the following... men and womens white Italian gloves... corks, an sortment of watchmaker's tools...a bird cage."

1755 Joseph Badger (American artist, 1708-1765). Detail of Elizabeth Gould with bird.  James McCall advertised in the 1771 South Carolina Gazette and Country Journal the he had "just received...a great Variety of Garden Seeds, Pease and Beans; Hemp, Canary, Rape, and Moss Seed for Birds."
1758 John Singleton Copley (American artist, 1738-1815). Detail Anne Fairchild (Mrs. Metcal Bowler) with bird in birdcage.  In 1772, the South-Carolina Gazette carried an ad for a plantation to be rented "on the Ashley River near Charleston" with "two well-contrived aviaries." A year later, the same paper noted a lot in Charlestown which contained, "a very good Two-Story Birds House."
1758 John Singleton Copley (American artist, 1738-1815). Detail Thomas Aston Coffin with two birds.

1758 John Singleton Copley (American artist, 1738-1815) Mary & Elizabeth Royall with dog and bird.  Baroness Von Riedesel traveling through the British American southern colonies with her officer husband during the American Revolution wrote, "I had brought two gorgeous birds with me from Virginia. The main bird was scarlet with a darker red tuft of feathers on his head, about the size of a bull-finch, and it sang magnificently. The female bird was gray with a red breast and also had a tuft of feathers on its head."
1760 Joseph Badger (American artist, 1708-1765). James Badger with bird.  The Baroness continued, "They are very tame soon after they are caught and eat out of one's hand. These birds live a long time, but if two male birds are hung in the same room they are so jealous of each other that one of them dies soon afterwards."

1760 Joseph Badger (American artist, 1708 - 1765). Detail of Jemima Flucker with bird.  The Baroness related that she, "saw black birds in Virginia of the same size, which always cry 'willow.' This amused us very much because one of my husband's aides was named Willoe."
1763-65 Henry Benbridge (American artist, 1743-1812). Detail of Gordon Family with bird.  The visiting Baroness stated, "One of my servants discovered a whole nest of these red birds and fed and raised them. Knowing how much I loved them, he left Colle with two cages full on his back, but they all died before he reached me, much to our sorrow."
1766-67 John Singleton Copley (American artist, 1738-1815). Detail of Mary Boylston (Mrs Benjamin Hallowell) with bird.  
In America, the New-York Magazine; or, Literary Repository of 1792, was advising its readers that, "A Goldfinch must never be let loose in an aviary, for he destroys the nests and breaks the eggs of the other birds."

The next year, William Marshall's (1745-1818) Planting and Rural Ornament critically explained that "An Aviary Of Foreign Birds appears to be equally ill placed, in such a situation: exotic birds are apt accompaniments to exotic plants; and a shrubery, rather than a sequestered dell, seems to be the most natural situation for an aviary." George Washington & many other early Americans owned a copy of this book.

William Faris (1728-1804) was a silversmith & clockmaker living in Annapolis, Maryland, for over 50 years. He kept journals & a diary of his life there, on & off, during the last quarter of the 18C. On October 25, 1793, Faris noted, "Last night the 2 yallow Birds died." Earlier, he had written that his "poor Mocking Bird" had died. Although these are the only references to birds in the diary he kept during the 1790s, his 1804 inventory listed 11 bird cages.

Isaac Weld (1774-1856) noted in his 1800 Travels through the States of North America that at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello in Virginia, "A large apartment is laid out for a library and museum, meant to extend the entire breadth of the house, the windows of which are to open into an extensive greenhouse and aviary."

Margaret Bayard Smith, who was a new bride in Washington DC in 1800, wrote in her diary, "In the window recesses were stands for the flowers and plants which it was his delight to attend and among his roses and geraniums was suspended the cage of his favorite mocking-bird, which he cherished with peculiar fondness, not only for its melodious powers, but for its uncommon intelligence and affectionate disposition, of which qualities he gave surprising instances. It was the constant companion of his solitary and studious hours. Whenever he was alone he opened the cage and let the bird fly about the room. After flitting for a while from one object to another, it would alight on his table and regale him with its sweetest notes, or perch on his shoulder and take its food from his lips. Often when he retired to his chamber it would hop up the stairs after him and while he took his siesta, would sit on his couch and pour forth its melodious strains. How he loved this bird!"

William Dobbs operated a Seed & Plant Store at 315 King street. He advertised in the December 2, 1811 edition of the Charleston Times: "For sale at wholesale and retail, an extensive assortment of Choice Garden Flowers and Bird seeds, the growth of 1811...Garden Tools, Flower Pots, Hyacinth Glasses."  In October 1812, Dobbs property was put up at auction through ads in the October 13 and 22 editions of the Charleston Courier. Among the items to be auctioned, “All the Personal Estate and Stock in Trade...together with his elegant collection of Singing Birds; consisting of Canary and Mocking Birds; a Glass Case, containing stuffed Birds; empty Bird Cages...”  Unfortunately, Dobbs died in the fall of 1812.  His inventory of December 3, 1812, gives a glimpse of the property owned by the seedsman: “Rose Apple Trees, Rosemary, Squills, Double Tube Roses, Amaryths, Peach Trees, 40 Canary Birds, Seeds, Bird Seed, shovels, spades, bird cages, pees, 2 green Houses and glasses, garden tools, Glasses for Roots, Shelves of Jars with Seeds in them...”
1766 John Singleton Copley (American artist, 1738-1815). Detail of Elizabeth Ross (Mrs. William Tyng) with bird.  Although it is difficult to find descriptions of 18C aviaries in the British American colonies, we find the the books flowing into the colonies from England were replete with references to aviaries & descriptions of them. In Francis Bacon's Essays were widely read in the colonies. From them, we know that Francis Bacon (1561-1626), English philosopher, statesman, scientist, lawyer, jurist, & author, did not like aviaries, or so he wrote in his 1625 Essayes or Counsels, Civill and Morall in the essay entitled Of Gardens. "For Aviaries, I like them not, except they be of that largeness as they may be turfed, and have living plants and bushes set in them; that the birds may have more scope and natural nestling, and that no foulness appear in the floor of the aviary."

1767 John Singleton Copley (American artist, 1738-1815).Young Lady with a Bird and Dog.  Another of England's earliest agricultural writers, John Worlidge  (1640-1700) was also read in the British American colonies.  His Systema Horticulturae published in 1677, noted that, "One of the pleasures belonging to a Garden, is an Aviary, which must be near your house, that you may take some delight in it there, as well as in your Garden, and that you may in all seasons take care of its Inhabitants."  Actually, Worlidge dreamed of "an Aviary at large, that the whole Garden with its Groves and Avenues may be full of these pretty Singers, that they may with their charming Notes, rouze up our dull Spirits, that are too intent upon the Cares of this World, and mind us of the Providence, the great God of the Universe hath over us, as well as these Creatures."
1770-1775 James Peale (American artist, 1749-1831). Girl with bird.  In 1701 Ireland, Charles Smith (1715-1762) observed in his Ancient and Present State of the County and City of Cork, he noted that "also nearer Cork Mr. John Dennis Merchant has a good house and neat gardens with an aviary."
1770 Daniel Hendrickson (American artist, 1723-1788). Detail of Catharine Hendrickson surrounded by birds.  The most widely read 18C gardening writer &; the chief gardener at the Chelsea Physic Garden, Philip Miller's (1691-1771) The Gardeners and Florists Dictionary of 1724, noted that "Mr. J. B. The Author of the Hereford/hire Orchards enumerates the Benefits of Orchards, that besides their Profit, they sweeten and purify the ambient Air, and by that Means, he thinks, conduce to the Health...and afford Shade and Shelter in the Heat of Summer, but harbour a constant Aviary of sweet Singers without Wires."  Philip Miller was widely read throughout the British American colonies. His Dictionary was owned by Benjamin Franklin, Lady Jean Skipwith of Virginia, & Thomas Jefferson.

1770s Charles Willson Peale (American artist, 1741-1827). Detail Mary Tilghman & sons with bluejay.  English garden designer and early exponent of the English style landscape garden, Stephen Switzer (1682-1745) was also read in the colonies.  By 1733, he was instructing his readers on aviaries in his Practical Husbandman and Planter. In the month of June he wrote that the aviary requires the "Assistance of the Person who looks after it, by the bruising and Emulsion of the cool Seeds of Melon and Cucumbers, in their watering Pans; as also, by the giving of them the leaves of Succory, Beets...and fresh Gravel and Earth, to cure them of their Sicknefs in Moulting-Time, being now sick of their old Feathers. And now young Partridges, Indian Hens, Pheasants, Partridges, &c. begin to require a little looking after to preserve them from the griping Hawk, constantly digging up of Ant-hills for the Pecking and Support of the little chirping Brood."
1774 Charles Willson Peale (American artist, 1741 - 1827). Detail of The Johnson Brothers with bird.  One of the classic books in Thomas Jefferson's library, The Builder's Dictionary: or, Gentleman and Architect's Companion explained in 1734, that an avairy was a "House or Apartment for the keeping, feeding, and breeding of Birds." The book covers all aspects of building design, construction, and finishes. In its time, the Dictionary was considered the most complete summary available for use by English architects & members of the construction trades.

1788 Charles Willson Peale (American artist, 1741-1827). Detail of Mrs. Richard Gittings with bird in cage.  Another book in Thomas Jefferson's library was the 1721 edition of Richard Bradley's, a Fellow of the Royal Society since 1712, and about to become Professor of Botany at Cambridge University, treatise, New Improvements in Planting and Gardening both Philosophical and Practical. Bradley's work New Improvements... also noted that orchards "harbour a constant Aviary of sweet Singers, which are here retained without the Charge or Violence of the Italian Wires." 

1790 Denison Limner Probably Joseph Steward (American artist, 1753-1822). Detail of Miss Denison of Stonington, CN possibly Matilda with bird and squirrel.  In England, William Derham (1657-1735), was an Anglican clergyman, Canon of Windsor Castle, & natural philosopher. He was the first man known to measure the speed of sound. As a member of the Royal Society, he edited the correspondence between Eleasar Albin (1708-1742) & John Ray helping publish a Natural History of Birds which was illustrated by Albin between 1731-38, and which noted the Gamboa Grossbeake. "This Bird was brought from Gamboa on the Coast of Guinea and was in the Possession of his Grace the Duke of Chandos in an Aviary at his Grace's Country Seat at Edgeworth," where Albin went to draw it.

1790 John Brewster (American artist, 1766-1854). Detail of Boy with Bird.  Another book read in the colonies was the 1732 edition of French priest Noel Antoine Pluche's (1688-1761) Spectacle de la Nature, Or Nature Display'd recommended the joys of communing with the birds in an aviary. Although the book influenced many to become naturalists, it was a work of popularization, not of science.  In the book, the Duchess character explains that in the "Bower which the Count has inclosed with a Lattice of Brass Wire. I think I have seen, in this charming Aviary, all imaginable Sorts of little Birds, as well as those of a middling Size... this Aviary boafts a little of my Invention, and I commonly undertake the Management of it; but my Pains are requited by Pleasures that vary every Day. The Contentions of these little Creatures, their Endearments, their Melody, and Labours, and the obliging Civilities I receive from the Generality, when I pay them a Visit, are extremely entertaining to me. I carry my Work to them, and am never alone. One may pass whole Hours and Afternoons there."

1790 Rufus Hathaway (American artist, 1770 - 1822). Detail of Molly Wales Fobes with Birds.  In the English 1760 Short Account, of the Principal Seats and Gardens, in and about Twickenham, female writer Jael Henrietta Pye (Jael Henrietta Mendez Pye) (1737-1782) tells of The Earl of Lincoln's Seat. "About a Mile beyond Weybridge, situated in the midst of a noble Park. The Gardens contain 150 Acres, and are divided by a fine Canal. The whole is laid out in the modern Taste, of Flowering Shrubs, Lawns, Clumps & Aviary of every kind of Singing-Birds, who are, so concealed by the Trees, that tho' they fillthfe Garden with their Harmony, it is impossible to discover whence it proceeds."

1790s James Earl (American artist, 1749-1831). Detail of Boy with Cardinal.  Christopher Smart, Oliver Goldsmith, & Samuel Johnson reported in a compilation of their writings called, World Displayed: or, A Curious Collection of Voyages and Travels published in 1750, that in Mexico, "Montezuma had, besides the palace in which he kept his court, several magnificent pleasure houses, one of which was a noble building, supported by pillars of jasper. In this edifice he had an aviary of those birds that are most remarkable on account of their singing or feathers, and these were so numerous, that 300 men were said to be employed in attending them." Both George Washington & John Adams owned a copy of this book.
1790s Ellen Sharples (American artist, 1769-1849). Detail of Theodosia Burr of New Jersey with bird.  Arthur Young's (1741-1820) accounts of his travels throughout Great Britain were imported into the colonies as soon as they were published. In his 1778-1770, A Six Months Tour Through the North of England, he wrote, "From hence a walk winds to the aviary, which is a light Chinese building of a very pleasing design; it is stocked with Canary and other foreign birds, which are kept alive in winter by means of hot walls at the back of the building."
1793 Rufus Hathaway (American artist, 1770-1822). Detail of Church Sampson of Duxbury, MA. with bird and birdcage.  English Architect William Chambers (1723-1796) also wrote of what he hoped would be a strong Asian influence on English gardening. In his 1772, A Dissertation on Oriental Gardening, he noted that in China, "The saloons generally open to little enclosed courts, set round with beautiful flower-pots, of different forms, made of porcelain, marble or copper, filled with the rarest flowers of the season: at the end of the court there is generally an aviary."  Chambers' book was found in libraries across the new American republic.
1796 Charles Willson Peale (American artist, 1741-1827). Thomas Elliott & Grandaughter Deborah Hibernia with white bird.  In England, the 1773 Encyclopaedia Britannica, offered its readers practical advice. "Aviary, a place set apart for feeding and propagating birds. It Should be so large, as to give the birds some freedom of flight; and turfed, to avoid the appearance of foulness on the floor." These compilers had obviously read Francis Bacon's essay Of Gardens!  John Charnock (1756-1807) wrote in his 1794 Biographia Navalis that the retired "Admiral (George) Churchill (1654-1710) ...had constructed the most beautiful aviary in Britain, which he had, at an incredible expence, filled with a most rare and valuable collection of birds."
1790s Unknown American artist, Mary Ann Elizabeth Thum of Philadelphia with bird.  By the early 19th century, Englishman John Claudius Loudon (1783-1843) was eager to share his knowledge of aviaries with readers of his Encyclopedia of Gardening. He explained that originally apiaries were common at the country houses of the Romans, where they were used primarily as safe-keeping for birds destined to be eaten.  Loudon notes that singing-birds, however, also were kept by the Persians, Greeks, & Romans in wicker-cages. Larger cages of songbirds more permanently set in gardens followed. The Chinese built actual house-like structures for their birds.  In 1808, the last of the great 18C English landscape designer Humphrey Repton (1752-1818) re-popularized aviaries with his Design for an Aviary and Pergola in the Chinese Style
1790 Ralph Earl (American artist, 1791-1801) Jerusha Benedict (Ives).  However, English writer Loudon explains that Varro built an elegant & spacious aviary, at his country house, near Casinum. Varro wrote that there were two sorts of aviaries, one for containing birds intended for the table, and the other for birds kept for their song or plumage. The former sort were built entirely for use, but the latter were often beautiful pavilions, with an apartment or saloon in the centre, for guests to sit in and enjoy the melodies of the feathered songsters.  According to Loudon, his fellow countryman, John Evelyn (1620-1706) mentioned in his Kalendarium Hortense: or, the Gardner's Almanac the parrots in the aviary of the Marquis of Argyll at Sayes Court. Loudon explained that a parrot aviary was built with a glass roof front and ends covered with shades & curtains to protect it from the sun & frost, and a flue for winter heating. In these aviaries artificial or dead trees with glazed foliage were fixed in the floor. Sometimes cages hung on them, and at other times the birds allowed to fly free within the aviary. Early Americans (Increase (1639-1723) & Cotton Mather (1663-1728) and New Yorker Lewis Morris (1726-1798) owned Evelyn's Kalendarium.)
1805 John Brewster Jr (American artist, 1766-1854)  Francis O Watts with Bird.  Englishman Loudon revealed that a "special canary aviary was set in an opaque-roofed greenhouse or conservatory, by enclosing it with a partition of wire; and furnishing the greenhouse with...branches suspended from the roof for the birds to perch on.  In another type of aviary...a net or wire curtain was thrown over the tops of trees. Here songbirds could sing on the trees; aquatic birds could glide on the water; & pheasants could stroll over the lawn. For severe seasons, discreet houses & cages would offer them refuge."
 1805 Michele Felice Corne (American artist, 1752-1845) Two Children at Play with White Bird.  Loudon noted that in England, portable netted enclosures, from 10 to 20 feet square, were distributed over areas of the lawn to display a curious collection of domestic fowls. In each enclosure was a small wooden box for sheltering the animals during night or in severe weather, and for breeding. Loudon even suggested that "Curious varieties of aquatic fowls might be placed on floating aviaries on a lake or pond."  He explained that birds from the hot climates were sometimes kept in hot-houses among their native plants with doors & openings for giving air covered with wire cloth. Loudon proposed that grouping birds together geographically would give rise to an educational aviary containing specimens of the native birds of a particular country...promoting the knowledge of their names, classification, climates, & habits. Loudon noted that the emperor Napoleon kept a large aviary with species of birds from all over the globe.
1810 Cephus Thompson (American artist, 1775-1856) Girl with a Dove.  In America, we finally do get an eyewitness account of an aviary in New York City. Grant Thorburn's (1773-1863) early 19C Horticultural Repository on John Street in New York City had an avaiary, when Thomas Green Fessenden (1771-1837) visited. He wrote of it in the Horticultural Register and Gardener's Magazine, "The filled with many beautiful birds which fill the air with their sweet songs--the native mockingbird, canary &c. all exerting their sweet voices in mingled harmony, and fluttering as merrily as in their native woods."
 1815 Jacob Maentel (German-born American artist, 1763-1863) Boy with Bird.  As the 19C saw American towns & industry grow and homeowners' property size decrease, caged birds became more popular. Pennsylvania attorney Henry Beck Hirst (1813-1874) wrote, "And what man lives, who, as he passes by the cottage of the humble labourer, and observes the wicker habitation of the well tended Canary suspended at the door, does not form a favorable idea of the taste of those who dwell within its walls...And oh! in the crowded cities, with the hum of business & the rattle of wheels sounding ever around, is it not pleasant to the hear the voice of some lone bird...and the melancholy warbler is converted into the many voiced choir of the forest."