Tuesday, June 30, 2020

1764 Plants in 18C Colonial American Gardens - Virginian John Randolph (727-1784) - Melon


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.

Melon

Melon,from Mala, Apple, because ofitsfragrancy. There are but three sorts of Melons that Miller says are worth cultivating, the Portugal or pocket Melon, which is small and round, the Cantaleupe Melon, and the Zatta Melon; the green fleshed Melon, and the netted wrought Melon, he does not esteem, though I have found them very delicious in this country. There is a rough, knotty Melon, called the Diarbekr, from a province belonging to the Turkish empire in Asia, which is reckoned the most exquisite of all Melons, which have been brought to great perfection here, and which are not taken notice of by Miller, probably because it has been brought into England since the publication of his dictionary, unless it is the Zatta Melon. The Portugal Melon has been called by the name of king Charles' Melon, because he used to carry one in his pocket, and also Dormer's Melon, because brought from Portugal by a general of that name. The Cantaleupe originally came from Armenia, on the confines of Persia, but took its name from Cantaleupe, a province about six miles from Rome, where they produce the best. It is known all over Europe, by the simple name of the Cantaleupe Melon, and agrees with all stomachs and palates. The Zatta Melon is greatly esteemed in Florence, Italy, &c. It is small, deep furrowed, rough and warted, and compressed at the ends. Melons should never grow near one another, if of different sorts, or by any means near Gourds, Cucumbers, &c. because the farina of one will impregnate the other, spoil the relish of the fruit, and make them degenerate. , Melon seed should not be sown before three years old, and though they will grow at ten or twelve years, yet they should not be propagated after six years. The early Melon is of little value; the middle of June is early enough. In order to have a proper succession, the seed should be sown at least at two different seasons, about the middle of February if seasonable weather, if not, the latter end. The second sowing should be in March, and the third in May, which last will yield a crop in August, and last until October. The early sowings should be covered with oil paper, in preference to glasses. The culture of Melons and planting theui out, is the same with cucumbers, to which we refer. The compost used by the Dutch and German gardeners, for Melons, is of hazel loam, one third part, of the scouring of ditches, ponds, &c. the same, and a third part of rotten dung, all mixed together, and mellowed by being frequently turned over, and kept twelve months. But Miller prefers two thirds of fresh gentle loam and one third of rotten neats' dung, kept together a year, and often turned. It will take about fifteen good wheelbarrows of dung to a light. Melons of all sorts, but particularly the Cantaleupe, should be planted out as soon as the third or rough leaf appears. These seeds do well to be sown on the upper side of a Cucumber bed. One plant is enough for a light. Watering is very requisite, but in much smaller quantities than Cucumbers, and the water should be laid on at a distance from the stems. When the plant has four leaves, the top of the plant should be pinched off, in order to force out the lateral branches. It must not be cut or bruised ; that wounds the plant, and takes a considerable time to heal. The roots of Melons extend a great way, and often perish after the fruit is set, for want of room, wherefore Miller advises that your beds be twelve feet, and when your frames are filled with vine, to raise it so as to let the vines run under them. When the lateral branches, or, as the gardeners call them, runners, have two or three joints, their tops should be also pinched off, and when your fruit is set, examine the vine and pull all off, except one to a runner, leaving at most about eight to a vine, and pinch off the end of the runner about three joints from the fruit; notwithstanding these are pinched off, there will new runners appear; these should be also taken away. If the ground is not too wet and moist, the lower the plants are the better, and if you plant in a bed, let your trenches be extended in length about three feet and a half wide, and your plants should not be less than five feet asunder, to prevent their vines intermixing. If there are several beds, they should be eight feet asunder, and the spaces between filled up for the benefit of the roots with rotten dung. They ought to be covered in all hard rains. The frames should not be too heavy. Many use laths in imitation of covered wagons; your fruit should be turned twice a week for the advantage of the sun, and if lodged on a board or piece of tile, it will be better; once a week watering will be sufficient. The sign of fruit's maturity is the cracking near the foot stalk; and smelling fragrantly. The Cantaleupe never changes colour, until too ripe. Gather your fruit in a morning before the sun has warmed it, but if gathered after, put it into cold water or ice, and keep those got in the morning in the coolest place; a few hours' delay in gathering will spoil the fruit, wherefore they ought to be overlooked twice a day. Take your seeds from the richest flavoured] fruit, with the pulp, in which it must lie three days before washed out, and save only the heavy seed....that which will sink in water.
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Monday, June 29, 2020

History Blooms at Monticello


Note from Monticello's Peggy Cornett

Peggy tells us today that -

In 1805 wealthy Philadelphia plant enthusiast William Hamilton sent a gift to Thomas Jefferson, a young tree he called "Silk Tree of Constantinople," writing: "I have trees of 20 feet height which for several years past have produced their beautiful & fragrant flowers." The mimosa or Persian silk tree, Albizia julibrissin, was introduced from Asia into Europe in the mid 1700s. It reseeds readily in the landscape and tends to grow along forest edges and against structures at Monticello, including the paling fence and Hemmings Cabin on Mulberry Row.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

1764 Plants in 18C Colonial American Gardens - Virginian John Randolph (727-1784) - Garlic


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.

Garlic

Garlic....Allium, should be propagated by planting the bulbs in August or September, about five inches asunder. These die about July, and then should be taken up and hung in a dry room for winter use. All these several sorts delight in a rich sandy soil, and eight pounds of seed will sow an acre. When sown they should be trodden, so should they be treated when they run too much into blade, in order to throw their substance into the bulb, and when trodden they ought to be covered with fresh mould; the seed for sowing should never be wet, because it will shoot out its radicle, and never succeed afterwards.
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Saturday, June 27, 2020

19C Women & Gardens - by American Frederick Carl Frieseke 1874-1939

1912c Frederick Frieseke (American artist, 1874-1939) Lady in a Garden

Frederick Carl Frieseke (1874–1939) was an American Impressionist decorative painter. He was born in Owosso, Michigan & studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago & the Académie Julian in Paris. Frieseke & his family resided for 14 years in Giverny, home to Monet. Frieseke was attracted to women, gardens, & bright sunlight.
 Frederick Frieseke (1874-1939) The Garden Pool 
1918 Frederick Frieseke (American artist, 1874-1939) The Green Chair 
1923 Frederick Frieseke (American artist, 1874-1939) The Garden Fountain 
1915 Frederick Frieseke (American artist, 1874-1939) The Mother 
1913c Frederick Frieseke (American artist, 1874-1939) Hollyhocks 
1916 Frederick Frieseke (American artist, 1874-1939) Under the Awning 
1913c Frederick Frieseke (American artist, 1874-1939) Garden Mirror
1911c Frederick Frieseke (American artist, 1874-1939) Breakfast in the Garden
1911c Frederick Frieseke (American artist, 1874-1939)  Lilies
 Frederick Frieseke (American artist, 1874-1939) Lady in a Hammock 
 1912c Frederick Frieseke (American artist, 1874-1939) The Blue Garden
 1914 Frederick Frieseke (American artist, 1874-1939) Sunbath
 1912 Frederick Frieseke (American artist, 1874-1939) The House in Giverny
1904-07 Frederick Frieseke (American artist, 1874-1939)  Woman with a Flower Basket
1908-09c Frederick Frieseke (American artist, 1874-1939)  Late October
Frederick Frieseke (1874-1939) Under the Alder Tree (Sadie in the Garden) 
Frederick Frieseke (1874-1939) Under the Trees
Frederick Frieseke (1874-1939) 
Frederick Frieseke (1874-1939) 

Friday, June 26, 2020

1764 Plants in 18C Colonial American Gardens - Virginian John Randolph (727-1784) - Parsnip


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

Parsnip

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




Thursday, June 25, 2020

19C Women & Gardens - American Mary Cassatt 1844-1926

American Mary Cassatt (1844-1926). Lydia Seated in the Garden
Mary Cassatt (1844-1926). Red Poppies 
Mary Cassatt (1844-1926) Cup of Tea 
 Mary Cassatt (American artist, 1844-1926) Children in a Garden 1878
Mary Cassatt (American artist, 1844-1926) In the Garden
Mary Cassatt (American artist, 1844-1926) In the Park
Mary Cassatt (American artist, 1844-1926) Lydia Croceting in the Garden at Marly 1880
Mary Cassatt (American artist, 1844-1926) Woman and Child Seated in a Garden
Mary Cassatt (American artist, 1844-1926) Woman doing Needlework in the Sun
Mary Cassatt (American artist, 1844-1926) Woman Reading in a Garden
 Mary Cassatt (American artist, 1844-1926) Young Girl Holding a Loose Bouquet of Flowers
Mary Cassatt (1845-1926)
Mary Cassatt (American artist, 1844-1926).  Young Woman Picking Fruit 1891

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Tho Jefferson (1743-1824) Writes about Gardening

Thomas Jefferson by Tadeusz Andrzej Bonawentura Kosciuszko (1746 - 1817) 

1811 August 20.  (Jefferson to Charles Willson Peale). "I have often thought that if heaven had given me choice of my position & calling, it should have been on a rich spot of earth, well watered, and near a good market for the productions of the garden.  "no occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, & no culture comparable to that of the garden. such a variety of subjects, some one always coming to perfection, the failure of one thing repaired by the success of another, & instead of one harvest a continued one thro’ the year. under a total want of demand except for our family table I am still devoted to the garden. but tho’ an old man, I am but a young gardener."

Charles Willson Peale (1741-1827) was an American painter, soldier, scientist, inventor, politician & naturalist. He is best remembered for his portrait paintings of leading figures of the American Revolution, & for establishing one of the first museums in the United States.

Research & images & much more are directly available from the Monticello.org website. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Late 19C American Gardens by Artist Walter I. Cox 1868–1930

Walter I. Cox (English-born American artist, 1868–1930) Hodges Garden, East Hampton, Long Island, New York

Walter Ignatuis Cox was born in Broxwood Court, Hereford, England. By the age of 13, he was studying at St Gregory's College in Somerset, England. After studying in Paris with Laurens, Lefebvre, & Benjamin-Constant, he returned to England to marry in 1897.  Cox & his wife Lavenia Carson Millett sailed to the United States in 1902, where they were naturalized in Pennsylvania.  They traveled to Victoria, British Columbia and then sailed to San Francisco in 1905. Although he lost many paintings in the 1906 earthquake, they remained active in San Francisco, until at least 1914. By 1920, Cox & his wife were living in Manhattan, frequently making sketching trips to the continent, England, & Scotland. Although he was known as a portrait painter of notables like Presidents Warren Harding & William Taft, I am particularly interested in his garden paintings, which are often images of typically American gardens.  Cox died in Alexandria, Virginia in 1930.
Walter I. Cox (English-born American artist, 1868–1930) Lady under a Tree
Walter I. Cox (English-born American artist, 1868–1930) The Front Porch
Walter I. Cox (American artist, 1868–1930) In the Shade
Walter I. Cox (English-born American artist, 1868–1930) Wine for Two
Walter I. Cox (English-born American artist, 1868–1930) The Back Porch
Walter I. Cox (English-born American artist, 1868–1930) Outdoor Dining
Walter I. Cox (English-born American artist, 1868–1930) Porch Overlooking a Garden

Monday, June 22, 2020

Gardens Decline in Importance as Economy turns from Agricultural to Industrial

The Coming Machine Age & the Declining Importance of the Pleasure Garden

George Washington (1732-1799), who had gone from fumbling young military officer to plantation owner to leader of the Revolutionary army to president of a proud new nation, actually devoted much time & effort to organizing his garden. Despite all of his amazing life experiences, or perhaps because of them, Washington wrote that gardening was among “the most rational avocations of life.”

He believed, as did former Baltimore judge John Beale Bordley (1727-1804), who retired from the political & adversarial life of an attorney to become a gentleman farmer, that gardening contributed to the spiritual health of America's citizens. In 1770, his wife Margaret Chew inherited half of Wye Island, in Queen Anne's County, on the Chesapeake Bay. The Bordleys maintained a winter residence in Annapolis, but they moved to this beautiful estate on Wye Island.

Ever feisty John Adams (1735-1826) wrote to his beloved wife Abigail from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on July 3, 1776. "I long for rural and domestic scenes, for the warbling of Birds and the Prattle of my Children. Don't you think I am somewhat poetical this morning, for one of my Years, and considering the Gravity, and Insipidity of my Employment? - As much as I converse with Sages and Heroes, they have very little of my Love or Admiration. I should prefer the Delights of a Garden to the Dominion of a World."

George Washington stated in his 8th Annual Message to Congress in 1796, "It will not be doubted, that with reference either to individual, or National Welfare, Agriculture is of primary importance. In proportion as Nations advance in population, and other circumstances of maturity, this truth becomes more apparent; and renders the cultivation of the Soil more and more, an object of public patronage."

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) wrote of the importance of working on the land to artist Charles Willson Peale from his secluded retirement retreat Poplar Forest on August 20, 1811, "I have often thought that if heaven had given me choice of my position and calling, it should have been on a rich spot of earth, well watered, and near a good market for the productions of the garden. No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, and no culture comparable to that of the garden. Such a variety of subjects, some one always coming to perfection, the failure of one thing repaired by the success of another, and instead of one harvest, a continued one thro' the year. Under a total want of demand except for our family table. I am still devoted to the garden. But tho' an old man, I am but a young gardener."

But Jefferson saw the age of the spiritual expericence of gardening ending, as he wrote of the British during the War of 1812, “Our enemy has indeed the consolation of Satan on removing our first parents from Paradise: from peaceable & agricultural nation, he makes us a military & manufacturing one.”

The garden did wither as a symbol of power & moral force; as the agricultural gave way to the industrial, & factories flowered on the American landscape. As the gentility of pleasure gardening became available to greater numbers of the middling sort in the emerging republic, it declined in importance to the ruling class. The symbol of might & right shifted from the garden to the machine.

Annapolis gardener William Faris (1729-1804) was a clockmaker at the end of the America’s agricultural age, when people’s perception of time still relied on nature’s manifestations, the rising & the setting of the sun & the changing of the seasons. Industrialization would dramatically change the significance of time & the clock. The clock would soon become the mechanical indication of units by which work, & therefore pay & worth, were measured.

In the earlier agricultural economy of 18th-century America, a man’s worth was measured by his harvest. When he had succeeded in having some leisure time & extra money from his crop production, he devised a pleasure garden in order to control, in an abstract & artful form, at least a small part of unpredictable nature, which otherwise controlled him.  He knew that the setting sun halted his day’s work. An unexpected storm or drought could destroy his daily plans or his yearly harvest.

Irish-born Philadelphia author & seed dealer Bernard M’Mahon (1775-1816) & English-born Annapolis clockmaker & silversmith William Faris were wedged between the old world & the new world, and between the ancient agricultural order & the coming technical age. The looming 19th century industrial era would see cities burgeon & replace the wilderness as the frightening place in the minds of the American people.

Citizens working in the urban machine economies would retreat to bucolic woodlands for the serene security of nature, much as farming citizens of the earlier colonial era clamored for the safety of towns with ordered streets & tidy, fenced gardens, when threatened by the terrifying unknown lurking in the uncivilized nature of the frontier.

Gardening would become just of many diversions in an industrial & technological world, where individuals’ livelihoods were no longer dependent on manipulation of the land & the rising and the setting of the sun.

M’Mahon & his fellow seed dealers & nurserymen contributed to this trend in 19th-century America, as they promoted gardening to all classes & both sexes in the new nation. M’Mahon hoped his book might “make any person…his own Gardener.” 

Working in the soil helped a person understand the cycle of life & death. Many plantation owners, farmers, & gardeners chose to bury their loved ones in their near-by gardens & went there to remember departed relatives & friends.

Whether they gardened or not, early Americans easily understood that gardens, economies, & men are ultimately under nature’s control. Perhaps they found some comfort in the knowledge that nature, not man, renews life year after year. In an agrarian society, people understood the symbolic & symbiotic relationships of people, plants, soil, weather, & the seasons.

Eighteenth century American gardeners understood that there is an order to nature but not always a kindness. People whose lives depended on the success of crops understood that nature controls floods, hailstorms, droughts, tornadoes, & death.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

1764 Plants in 18C Colonial American Gardens - Virginian John Randolph (727-1784) - Celandine


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.

Celandine

Celandine, Majus Chelidonium, is a medical herb, often cultivated in gardens. The several varieties are propagated by sowing the seed, and the plants will cast their seeds, and keep you constantly with a stock of young plants, without further trouble. It is an annual Celandine; the lesser is a Ranunculus.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Tho Jefferson (1743-1824) Writes about Gardening

 

Thomas Jefferson by Tadeusz Andrzej Bonawentura Kosciuszko (1746 - 1817) 

1810 March 17.  (Jefferson to William Johnson).  "all of these articles [Benni seed, Egyptian grass, and acacia seed] are highly acceptable. they bring nourishment to my hobby horse: for my occupations at present are neither in reading nor writing. the culture of the earth in the garden, orchard & farms engage my whole attention."

William Johnson Jr. (1771-1834) was an American attorney, state legislator, & judge from South Carolina. He served as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1804 to 1834 after previously serving in the South Carolina House of Representatives. Johnson was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Thomas Jefferson. 

Research & images & much more are directly available from the Monticello.org website.