Saturday, August 31, 2019

Plants in Early American Gardens - Early Curled Siberian Kale

Early Curled Siberian Kale (Brassica napus var. pabularia cv.)

Thomas Jefferson's vegetable garden commonly included various Kales such as German, Russian, Delaware, Malta, and Scotch types. This tender green, also known as Borecole and Headless Cabbage, is superior source of vitamins and iron, surpassing even spinach. Early Curled Siberian Kale is an extremely hardy and vigorous variety with blue-green, ruffled, tender leaves.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Garden to Table - Fish Pepper

Fish Pepper (Capsicum annuum)

Fish Peppers are a form of Cayenne Pepper with flashy green and white variegated leaves and attractive striped pods that ripen to solid red. Named for its use as a seafood seasoning in Mid-Atlantic urban regions, oral traditions trace the Fish Pepper to 19th century African-American gardening and culinary usage. This very hot pepper can be used fresh or dried, while the compact plant is an attractive addition to the garden or containers.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Plants & Catalogs - Nurseryman Joseph Breck 1794-1873 & his spectacular 1833 circular flower bed

Joseph Breck (1794-1873) of Boston, Massachusetts

Breck, born in Medfield, MA, established his business, Joseph Breck & Company, in 1818 in Boston. From 1822 to 1846, Breck was the editor of the New England Farmer, one of the earliest agricultural magazines established in the U.S., and the first of its kind in New England. In 1833,

In 1840, Breck published his company’s first catalog New England Agricultural Warehouse and Seed Store Catalogue, which was a small book, 84 pages in length.  Breck attempted to use horticulture as an uplifting, educational tool. He included French plant names, listed standard works on horticulture, used illustrations to improve his readers’ tastes. The 1840 catalog featured 72 black-and-white engravings. Breck’s catalog may have been his rural customers only exposure to graphic arts and horticultural literature.

He was one of the founding members of the American Seed Trade Association and a president of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society from 1859-1862. Breck experimented with different forms of catalogs, for one of his schemes he packaged a collection of seeds targeted at specific markets such as the West Indies.  Long essays on gardening were included with the products.  In 1856, he published The Flower Garden, a book about the cultivation of ornamental plants such as perennials, annuals, shrubs and evergreen trees.
Breck Nurseries in 1850, located in Brighton, MA

In 1833, he wrote The Young Florist to educate upcoming generations about natural history and flowers.  In this book, designed "to attract young persons to that delightful employment, the cultivation of a flower garden," he presents a rather complicated plan for a bed of garden flowers. The text is presented as a conversation between an older gardener and his young pupils.

H. You see here a square, within which are three circular beds, or concentric circles, having two rows of figures in each. Now these circles are to be filled with annual flowers, and each number represents a different sort, and you see they are numbered as high as 100, so that I have designed it for one hundred different kinds.

I shall shortly show you a list of these, with their numbers opposite to their respective manes.

I have contrived it so that the tallest plants shall be in the centre and cover an arbor, as you see I have marked. You see a walk from the outside of the square to the arbor, communicating with one large and two smaller circular ones.

For the inner circle of all, such plants as climb to the height of ten feet or more, as the Morning Glory, Flowering Beans, &c., for which it will be necessary to put down birch poles with the branches of the tops left on to form the arbor.

For the second row you will find I have selected Sweet Peas, Cypress Vine, Nasturtium, &c. which are also climbers, and will require brush for their support, neatly trimmed, about four and a half feet high.

For the third circular row, the tallest plants which do not climb; and each successive circle of plants diminishes in height to the outer one, which is composed of dwarfs--and you will find by inspecting the key that no two kinds or colors of flowers come together, so that when it is all in bloom, it will have the appearance of a cone of flowers of every shape, color and shade tastefully intermingled, as represented in the following drawing; in which, however, I have not introduced any arbor, which can be done or not, at pleasure.

M. This will be beautiful, surely, and must have taken some time and patience to arrange it; but I think it will be a perplexing piece of work to transfer it to the ground, and have all the plants sowed in the place you have allotted them.

H. Nothing will be easier, as you will see when I come to lay it out and sow them.

M. What is to be put in the outer part of the figure, and what is the meaning of the letters?

H. That is the place for the perennial plants that we have in our little garden, and for such as we may procure from other gardens and the fields, and may be arranged in any fanciful manner we please. The letters represent fanciful groups of flowers to be in bloom at the same time, for different months of the year, to be composed of annuals and perennials. Ju. for July, Au. for August, A. for April, M. for May, &c., and here you may have opportunity to exercise your taste.

M. That will please me; and by the time you get the ground in readiness, I will exhibit a plan for every month in the season. I wish you would give me a copy of that part which contains the annuals, as I wish to send it to cousin Eliza; she had but a small piece of ground and her father has no place of his own, and or course does not want to be at the expense of cultivating many perennials, as he moves so often from one place to another.

H. I shall be happy to furnish you with a copy for her, and will also send her a portion of our seeds, with directions how to cultivate them. On the following pages you will see a list of the plants arranged in order; you will find some numbers and plants inserted twice; this is done to fill out the circle; and some of them are very showy. Be particular not to make any mistake while you write it off for her.


First Circle.
1 Scarlet Flowering Bean, scarlet.
2 Blue Morning Glory, dark and light blue.
3 White Flowering Bean, white.
4 Rose Morning Glory, purplish red.
5 Purple Flowering Bean, purple.
6 Superb Striped Morning Glory, white striped.
7 Scarlet Morning Glory, or Ipomea, scarlet.
8 Two Colored Lemon Gourd (ornamental fruit), yellow.
9 Starry Ipomea, delicate blue.

Second Circle
10 Nasturtium, deep orange.
11 Scarlet Sweet Pea, red.
12 Balloon Vine, white, curious seed pods.
13 Purple Sweet Pea, purple.
14 Mexican Ximenisia, yellow.
15 Cypress Vine, brilliant crimson.
16 White Sweet Pea, white.
10 Nasturtium, deep orange.
17 Tangiers Crimson Sweet Pea, dark crimson.
12 Balloon Vine, white.
15 Cypress Vine (scald this seed), crimson.

Third Circle
18 Red Four o’Clock, deep red.
19 Violet Zinnia, violet.
20 Yellow Immortal Flower, brilliant yellow.
21 White Chrysanthemum, white.
22 Prince’s Feather, very dark red.
23 Tall Blue Larkspur, lively blue.
24 Yellow Four o’Clock, yellow.
25 Variegated Euphorbia, elegantly variegated white and green.
26 Red Lavatera, light red strip’d with deep.
27 Blue Commelina, celestial blue.
28 Yellow Chrysanthemum, yellow.
29 White Lavatera, pure white.
30 Love Lies Bleeding, blood red.
19 Violet Zinnia, violet.
20 Yellow Immortal Flower, brilliant yellow.
21 Variegated Euphorbia, white and green.
26 Red Lavatera, light red.

Fourth Circle
31 Grand Flowering Argemone, elegant white flower and yellow centre.
32 Yellow Zinnia, tawny yellow.
33 American Centaurea, pale purple.
34 Tricolored Amaranthus, each leaf red, yellow and brown.
35 Long Flowered Four o’Clock, white with purple centre.
36 Grand Flowering Evening Primrose, yellow.
37 Purple Amaranthus (soak the seed in milk 24 hours), purple.
38 Red Zinnia, red.
39 White Amaranthus (soak the seed in milk 24 hours), white.
40 Golden Coreopsis, fine yellow with brown centre.
41 Red Opium Poppy, purplish red.
42 Crimson cockscomb, deep crimson.
35 Long Flowering Four o’Clock, white with purple.
43 African Marigold, orange.
37 Purple Amaranthus, purple.
34 Tricolored Amaranthus, yellow, red and brown.
39 White Amaranthus, white.
44 French Marigold, brown velvet orange.
41 Red Opium Poppy, purplish red.
42 Crimson Cockscomb, deep crimson.
46 Night Flowering Primrose, yellow.
27 Commelina, bright blue.

Fifth Circle
47 Tricolored Chrysanthemum, white, yellow and brown.
48 D’ble white and variegated Balsams, white and variegated.
49 Fennel Flower or Love in a Mist, blue.
50 Red Quilled Aster, red.
51 Long Flowered Evening Primrose, yellow.
52 White Expanded Aster, white.
53. Blue Lupin, blue.
54 Double Carnation Poppy, of sorts, red, pin, &c.
55 Yellow Hawkweed or Crepis Barbata, yellow and brown.
56 White Quilled Aster, white.
57. Blue Bottle, blue.
58 Fire Colored and Crimson Balsams, red.
59 Scorzonera, deep yellow and brown.
60 Double White Fringed Poppy, pure white.
61 Purple and Lilac expanded Aster, purple and lilac.
62 Scarlet Malope, red, with purplish stripe.
63 Pot Marigold, orange.
64 White Catchlfy, white.
65 Lemon Balm, blue and fine scent.
66 African Rose, every shade of red.
67 Beautiful Ketmia, straw and purple.
68 Variegated Asters, white, with blue and red stripes.
69 Azure blue Gilia, fine blue.
70 Red Quilled Aster, red.
45 African Hibiscus, straw and deep purple.
71 Sweet Basil, or Lavender, white with delightful scent.
72 Mexican Ageratum, blue
73 Double Purple Balsams, purple.
66 African Rose, every shade of red.
55 Yellow Hawkweed, yellow and brown.
60 White Fringed Poppy, pure white.
69 Azure Blue Gilia, blue.
74 Convolvulus Minor, fine blue and yellow.
75 Scarlet Cacalia, scarlet.
76 Snails, yellow, with curious pod.
77 Sweet Alyssum, white sweet scented.
78 Purple Candytuft, purple.
79 Daisy Leaved Catchfly, fine pink.
80 Caterpillars, yellow, with curious pod.
81 White Evening Primrose, pure white.
82 Double Dwarf Larkspur, purple, pink and white.
83 Lobel’s Catchfly, red.
84 Mignonette, yellowish, very fragrant.
85 White Candytuft, white.
86 Purple Immortal Flower, fine light purple.
87 Beautiful Clarkea, red.
88 Horns, yellow, curious pod.
89 Venus’ Looking Glass, blue.
90 Red Hawkweed, pale red.
91 Hedgehogs, yellow, curious pod.
74 Convolvulus Minor, fine blue and yellow centre.
75 Scarlet Cacalia, fine scarlet.
84 Mignonette, yellowish, very fragrant.
77 Sweet Alyssum, white and fragrant.
92 Wing Leaved Schizanthus, light and dark, purple and yellow.
93 Sensitive Plant, pink, very curious plant.
94 Coronilla, beautiful leaf, yellow.
95 Ice Plant, curious plant, white.
96 Nolana, light and dark blue.
83 Lobel’s Catchfly, red.
84 Mignonete, yellowish, fragrant.
81 White Evening Primrose, white.
97 Forget-me-not, blue.
79 Daisy Leaved Catchfly, fine pink.
98 Thunbergia, fine new plant - yellow and brown.
99 Heart’s Ease, purple, yellow and white.
87 Beautiful Clarkea, red.
100 Purple Jacobea, purple.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Plants in Early American Gardens - Texas Bird Pepper

Texas Bird Pepper (Capsicum annuum glabriusculum)

Capt. Samuel Brown sent Jefferson seeds of this dwarf pepper from San Antonio, Texas in 1812-13; stating that the peppers were as “essential to my health as salt itself.” Jefferson grew them at Monticello and also forwarded seeds to Philadelphia nurseryman Bernard McMahon who popularized it as an ornamental pot plant. Texas Bird Pepper is a lush, compact plant covered in early fall with tiny half-inch, reddish-orange, extremely hot peppers.

Monday, August 26, 2019

William Russell Birch (1755-1834) views American Gentlemen's Country Seats in 1808

English landscape artist & designer William Russell Birch (1755-1834) arrived in Philadelphia in 1794, with a letter of introduction from Pennsylvania expatriate artist Benjamin West. After publishing his successful book of engravings, City of Philadelphia in the State of Pennsylvania, North America, as it appeared in the Year 1800, he traveled up & down the Atlantic coast sketching for his 2nd American book of engravings, The Country Seats of the United States published in 1808.

William Birch (1755-1834) was born in Warwickshire, England, Birch spent his early childhood apprenticing as a jeweler after showing little interest in formal education. Ultimately becoming a skilled engraver who was inspired by the work of Joshua Reynolds, he displayed his enamel miniatures at the Royal Academy in 1781 to wide acclaim, receiving a medal from the Society of Arts in 1785. In 1791 several of his engravings were published in a book titled Délices de la Grande Bretagne. 

Birch arrived on the wharf in Philadelphia, with an intimate knowledge the actual appearance of country estates in England as well as the manner in which they had been depicted in British art during the last half of the 18th-century.  He was sure he knew what proper, educated taste was in both architecture & landscape design & wanted to share that insight with a hopefully hungry & appreciative American audience, eager to buy his books.  Country estates in the new republic would not compare with country estates in the motherland, but he would depict them from a viewpoint of looking up at them.  They would sit as small crowns in a natural American landscape owing most of its design to Nature rather than the landscape architect's hand.

In his introduction, Birch wrote, "The comforts and advantages of a Country Residence, after Domestic accomodations are consulted, consist more in the beauty of the situation, than in the massy magnitude of the edifice: the choice ornaments of Architecture are by no means intended to be disparaged, they are on the contrary, not simply desirable, but requisite.  The man of taste will select his situation with skill, and add elegance and animation to the best choice.  In the United States the face of nature is so variegated; Nature has been so sportive and the means so easy of acquiring positions fit to gratify the most refined and rural enjoyment, that labour and expenditure of Art is not so great as in Countries less favoured."  Oh dear, perhaps a little condescending & awkward, and a disappointed Birch found that his 2nd American book did not sell well in the new republic.

Birch’s interest in landscapes, coupled with the success of his publication, brought him commissions to design landscapes for wealthy patrons. He planned several gardens in Delaware and Maryland, of which perhaps the only surviving design is that of the Hampton estate (now the Hampton National Historic Landmark) in Baltimore, Maryland. After Charles Carnan Ridgely inherited the plantation in 1790, he wished to alter the grounds and improve the design of the gardens. Birch, who was touring cities along the Atlantic coast at the time, was hired for this purpose. He made several plans for the improvement of the grounds and the formal gardens, although these were modified by successive owners. Many of Birch’s ideas regarding the estate are, however, evident in the engravings he made of it. Birch’s second publication, The Country Seats of the United States, was met with a tepid response when released in 1808. Following the War of 1812, he reverted to selling his enamel miniatures as a primary means of income. He died in Philadelphia at the age of 79.
William Russell Birch (English artist, 1755-1834) Hoboken in New Jersey Seat of Mr. John Stevens. Country Seats of the United States 1808
William Russell Birch (English artist, 1755-1834) Hampton the Seat of Gen. Charles Ridgley, Maryland.  Country Seats of the United States 1808
William Russell Birch (English artist, 1755-1834) Landsdown the Seat of the late Wm Bingham Esq Pennsylvania.  Country Seats of the United States 1808
William Russell Birch (English artist, 1755-1834) Mount Vernon, Virginia, Seat of the late Genl G. Washington.  Country Seats of the United States 1808.
William Russell Birch (English artist, 1755-1834) Fountain Green Pennsylvania the Seat of Mr. S. Meeker.  Country Seats of the United States 1808.
William Russell Birch (English artist, 1755-1834) Solitude in Pennsylvania belonging to Mr. Penn.  Country Seats of the United States 1808.
William Russell Birch (English artist, 1755-1834) Devon in Pennsylvania the Seat of Mr. Dallas.  Country Seats of the United States 1808.
William Russell Birch (English artist, 1755-1834) Mount Sidney, the Seat of Gen. John Barker.  Pennsylvania. Country Seats of the United States 1808
William Russell Birch (English artist, 1755-1834) Seat of Mr. Duplantier near New Orleans & lately occupied as Head Quarters by Gen. J. Wilkinson.  Country Seats of the United States 1808.
William Russell Birch (English artist, 1755-1834) Montebello Birch General S Smith Balt.  Country Seats of the United States 1808
William Russell Birch (English artist, 1755-1834) Woodlands.  Woodlands the Seat of Mr Wm Hamilton, Pennsylvania. Country Seats of the United States 1808

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Plants in Early American Gardens - White Turtlehead

White Turtlehead (Chelone glabra)

This robust, showy North American perennial is found in moist woodland coves and along stream banks from Canada to Alabama. It was introduced into Europe in 1730 and named by Linnaeus. The Quaker botanist John Bartram sent seed of both white and red forms to his British patron, Peter Collinson, in 1750-51. The great naturalist, John Clayton, also sent seed abroad to Philip Miller of the Chelsea Physic Garden as well as to Bartram. By the mid-19th century, American garden writers such as Robert Buist promoted the Turtlehead as a desirable, but little known ornamental plant.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Plants in Early American Gardens - Queen's Tears

 Queen's Tears (Billbergia nutans)
Queen's Tears (Billbergia nutans)

This species is native to Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina where it grows both as an epiphyte in low trees and as a terrestrial on the forest floor from 2,300 to 3,000 feet elevation. The genus name honors the Swedish botanist, zoologist, and anatomist Gustaf Johan Billberg (1772-1844) who authored the Flora of Sweden. The specific epithet is Latin for nodding, in reference to the way the flowers are held in pendant clusters. The name Friendship Plant refers to the ability to easily propagate and share with friends.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Plants in Early American Gardens - Bare Root Dutchman's Breeches

Bare Root Dutchman's Breeches (Dicentra cucullaria)

This choice native perennial grows in abundance along the alluvial slopes of Monticello mountain, often in association with Virginia Bluebells. It was likely first brought into cultivation during the early nineteenth century. The plant grows from small bulbs and goes dormant quickly after flowering, often spreading seed to increase the colony in future seasons.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Croquet in the Garden & the Fashions that followed

 Johann Mongles Culverhouse (Dutch-born American painter, 1825-1895) Croquet

Croquet is, like pall mall, trucco, jeu de mail & kolven, clearly a derivative of ground billiards, which was popular in Western Europe back to at least the 14th century, with roots in classical antiquity.  Researchers claim that both golf & croquet evolved from these ancient sports, and that billiards was a modified inside game of croquet.
1650 'Le Centre de l'Amour, Decouvert Soubs Divers Emblesmes Galans et Facetieux' was first published (by Chez Cupidon) c 1650.

Some researchers believe the game was introduced to Britain from France during the reign of Charles II of England, & was played under the name of paille-maille or pall mall, derived ultimately from Latin words for "ball and mallet."
 1626 Adrian van de Veen Frederick V, Elector Palatine on the Maliebaen in Den Haag

Played during the 17th century by Charles II & his courtiers at St. James's Park in London, the name of the game was anglicized to Pall Mall, which also became the name of a nearby street. "Mall" then evolved into a generic word for any street used for public gathering & strollings.
The Pall Mall at St James, London, from a 17th century map by Faithhorne

In his 1810 book entitled The Sports and Pastimes of the People of England, Joseph Strutt describes the way pall mall was played in England in the early 17th century: "Pale-maille is a game wherein a round box ball is struck with a mallet through a high arch of iron, which he that can do at the fewest blows, or at the number agreed upon, wins. It is to be observed, that there are two of these arches, that is one at either end of the alley."
David Johnson (American artist, 1827-1908) Croquet on the Lawn

In Samuel Johnson's 1828 dictionary, he defines the game, "A play in which the ball is struck with a mallet through an iron ring."
Winslow Homer (American artist, 1836-1910)  Croquet

A similar game was played on the beaches of Brittany.  Some researches believe that the rules of the modern game of croquet arrived from Ireland during the 1850s, perhaps after being brought there from Brittany. Records show the similar game of "crookey" being played at Castlebellingham in 1834, which was introduced to Galway in 1835 & played on the bishop's palace garden, and in the same year to the genteel Dublin suburb of Kingstown (today Dún Laoghaire) where it was first spelled "croquet."
Winslow Homer (American artist, 1836-1910) Croquet Players

The oldest document to bear the word "croquet" with a description of the modern game is the set of rules registered by Isaac Spratt in November 1856 with the Stationers' Company in London.
1866 The Game of Croquet Published by Harper's Weekly. 1866 detail

The tale is that the game traveled from Ireland to England around 1851.  An unidentified Miss MacNaghten observed peasants in France playing a game with hoops made of willow rods & mallets of broomsticks inserted into pieces of wood & introduced it in Ireland.  Sometime around 1850, she passed the idea to a Mr. Spratt and the result was Spratt's rules for croquet published in 1851.  Spratt then passed the game on to John Jacques; who claimed that he made equipment from patterns he bought in Ireland & had published rules, before Spratt introduced the subject to him.  Whatever the case, Jacques was the first to make equipment as a regular business; and in 1864, published his first comprehensive code of laws.
1870 Croquet Published in Every Saturday An Illustrated Journal of choice Reading, Boston

At first, croquet was most popular among women,  It was a new experience for them to be able to play a game outdoors in the company of men.  Early games of croquet were carefully chaperoned.   The game's popularity grew in the 1860's, where garden parties began to be called croquet parties.
1870 Croqueting the Rover.  Published in Every Saturday An Illustrated Journal of Choice Reading. Boston

1868 saw the formation of the All England Croquet Club with the purpose of creating an official body to control the game and unify the laws.  They needed to find a ground, and in 1869 leased four acres in Wimbledon.
1871 Preparing for Croquet published in Harper's Weekly, New York, July 22, 1871.

In 1875, one lawn at the club was set aside for exciting new game of lawn tennis, which was gaining popularity much more quickly than croquet.  In April, 1877 the club name was changed to the All England Croquet and Lawn Tennis Club; and in July, 1877 the first lawn tennis championship was held at Wimbledon.
1872 The Last Croquet Game of the Summer published in Harper's Bazar, New York, Nov. 2, 1872.

Croquet began to decline as tennis grew & proved to be more of a money maker.  In 1882, croquet was deleted from the club title.  However, croquet continued & went through a regrowth.  In 1899, the name was restyled again to to the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club which it remains today.

While croquet was on the decline in England, it was beginning to be the latest rage in America. Croquet equipment was advertised in the New York Clipper in 1862.  In a story of an elopment in the November, 1864 issue of Godey's Ladies Book, they described the intended bride, "her petite figure and dove-like eyes caused her at once to become "the rage of the park, the ball-room, the opera, and the croquet lawn." In 1865, the Newport Croquet Club was formed in Rhode Island.  The April 1865, Godey's Ladies Book published a few rules for the game declaring, "As this game is now becoming very fashionable, we give some of the rules that govern it."
1862 John Leech (English artist, 1817-1864) Croquet

When Vassar College opened , an announcement Godey's Lady's Book. August, 1865, stated, "The play-grounds are ample and secluded; and the apparatus required for...such simple feminine sports as archery, croquet (or ladies' cricket), graces, shuttlecocks, etc. will be supplied by the college."  In the same issue, the magazine explained, "A NEW and fashionable amusement for the ladies may be found in the game of croquet , which is fast winning its way into the favor and esteem of all who make its acquaintance. It is a delightful game; it gives grace to the movements of the players; it can be played on any little grass-plot, and the implements of the game are becoming so cheap as to place them within the reach of all. Boys and girls, young men and maidens, and (as we do know), a good many older ones, find in it a most healthful and fascinating out-door recreation."  Two months later, the magazine noted, "Among the late novelties we notice pocket-handkerchiefs having a lady in croquet dress with mallet in hand, embroidered in gay colors in the corner."
1865 John Leech (English artist, 1817-1864)A Nice Game For Two Or More

By April of the next year, Godey's was featuring a croquet dress in one of its fashion plates, "Croquet dress of black alpaca, trimmed round the edge of the skirt, up the front, and up each breadth, with bands of green silk cut out in points. The basque is made quite long, slit up to the waist at the back, and turned over with green silk both back and front. The sleeves are trimmed with points of green silk to match the skirt, and the corsage is turned back, in revers, showing a fine worked chemisette. Hat of black straw, trimmed with a puffing of green silk, and a long white plume."
1867 Philip Hermogenes Calderon (French-born English painter,1833-1898) Resting in the Shade after a game of Croquet

Milton Bradley & Co in 1866, published "Croquet - It's Principles and Rules." In February of 1867, Godey's explaned that croquet, "requires for its full development a level ground of well-mown and well-rolled grass (unless all are equally acquainted with the inequalities, when slight undulations may add to the interest of the game); but it can be played on the sand of the sea-shore where it is hard and level, or upon well-rolled grave, or asphalte covered with a thin layer of fine broken shells."
John Sartain (1808-1897) Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885), the 18th President of the United States (1869–1877) with his family

Later in 1867, a New York newspaper editorialized, "never in the history of outdoor sports in this country had any game achieved so sudden a popularity with both sexes, but especially with the ladies, as Croquet has."
 1870 The All-England Croquet Club at Wimbledon Ladies Sport Croquet Illustrated London News

The Delaware County Republican newspaper of July 10, 1868. carried an announcement of a variety of wooden croquet sets for sale, "BOX WOOD, Rose Wood, Lignum Vitae, Rock Maple, and less expensive sets of Croquet Games." By 1869, churches were offering croquet to their guests. The Delaware County American announced on June 2, 1869, next to the Maple Church, "a strawberry and ice cream FESTIVAL, provided and served by ladies...a Concert, Vocal and Instrumental ...also, a croquet lawn, with the requisite conveniences." When the strawberries ripened the following June, the church ladies once again offered their festival including croquet. The popularity of croquet was growing by leaps and bounds in post Civil War America.
1871 Edouard Manet (French painter, 1832-1883)  Partie de Croquet à Boulogne–sur–Mer

 In 1882, a convention in New York of 25 clubs formed the National American Croquet Association. Croquet was introduced as an Olympic sport in the 1900 Paris games. Early 1900 American croquet leaders disagreed with many of the new English rules which outlawed mallets with heads made of rubber & had introduced the 6-wicket court layout. They kept the 9-wicket version & short handled mallets with heads of metal face on one end and rubber on the other. The Americans introduced their version of 9-wicket croquet at the 1904 Olympics in St. Louis which was won by an American but never played in the Olympics again.
1871 The Illustrated London News  Croquet Under Difficulties.

1872 Louise Abbéma (1853-1927), A Game of Croquet at Trouville

1875 Oneida Community, New York

Winslow Homer (American artist, 1836-1910) Croquet Scene

 1872 Une Partie De Croquet, engraving by Paul Girardet

1873 Edouard Manet (French painter, 1832-1883)  The Croquet Game

 1876 James H Holly Residence, Warwick, NY

1873 John George Brown (American genre artist, 1831-1913) Have a Game

John E Williams Residence, Irvington, NY

1873 Never Too Old To Play Croquet Nor Yet Too Young  August Published for Harper's Weekly, New York

1876 A game of croquet on the front lawn of Perry Guile's house in Milo, New York

 1878  James Tissot (French artist, 1836-1902) Croquet

Prince and Princess of Wales playing croquet The Illustrated London News

1880 Valentine showing a woman playing croquet

 1885 A game of croquet without rules. Harper's young people.

1889 Léon Benett, Fortuné-Louis Méaulle Croquet

1892 Pierre Bonnard (French painter, 1867-1947)  Crespuscule ou La Partie de Croquet

1901 Seaside Games

1904 Anna Whelan Betts (American illustrator, 1875–1952) Croquet

1915 Chatterbox Magazine

Percy W. Gibbs (English Painter, active c 1895-1925)  Ladies playing croquet

Victorian Trading Card Girl Playing Croquet Walkers Wax Soap in Sleeve

William Crawford Arsa (Scottish paintre, 1825-69). Eliza Anne Lochart (Nana), William Frederick (Bill) and John Henry Middleton playing croquet in a garden before a cornfield

William McGregor Paxton (American painter, 1869-1941) The Croquet Players

Croquet Fashions for players and observers
Croquet grew in popularity with women during the 1860s; however, the sport was hampered by their heavy, full skirts & the crinolines worn underneath.  Many women took to looping up their skirts to prevent soiling them or brushing against the croquet balls. Designers began to have the exposed petticoats develop tabs to button up the skirts, & the hems on croquet dresses became increasingly bold & decorative. In 1864, one croquet player advised, “the dress should be looped up, or not only will it spoil many a good stroke, but with its sweeping train will probably disturb the position of some of the balls.” 
1860s Walking and croquet dress, Le Diable Rose

1865 September fashions, 1865 France, Cendrillon

1866 Godey's fashions for [April 1866] Kimmel & Forster N.Y.

1870 Les modes parisiennes  Peterson's magazine, July, 1870.

1881 American Fashion Croquet Dresses

1883 Childrens Country Costumes from The Queen.

Le Monde Elegant

Photo of Croquet Players 1860s