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Garden History

Garden History: “Willowmere,” Rear Admiral Aaron Ward house, 435 Bryant Avenue, Roslyn Harbor, New York (LOC)

One element I see in many older gardens is the concept of “massing” large numbers of a particular plant in one area. This is true of any garden, of course. Planting one or two specimens leaves them looking a bit forlorn, but planting 10, 20 or 30 of them gives them and edgy and a […]

Garden History: “The Appletrees,” Henry Eugene Coe house, Southampton, New York

Many old gardens — even impressive ones like this — understood the need for a porch…and a great view from that porch. Here the homey back porch looks out on a somewhat formal garden design. The boxwood hedges are neatly clipped, but the flowers inside seem exuberant and ready to break out of their confines […]

Garden History: Thornewood, Tacoma, Washington

It seems a long understood principle that beautiful architecture benefits from being surrounded with a beautiful landscape and vice versa. This photo of the approach to the Thornewood in Tacoma, Washington illustrates that fact. it doesn’t hurt that the grounds and the gardens were designed by the Olmsted Brothers (John Charles Olmsted and Frederick Law […]

Garden History: Mrs. Francis Lemoine Loring house, 700 South San Rafael Avenue, San Rafael Heights, Pasadena, California. (LOC)

I drive by this address in Pasadena on occasion when visiting a client who lives nearby. The note on the photo says the garden is no longer extant, but it might the interesting to drive by and see what it looks like today. The more I see the lovely rose arbors in these old garden, […]

Garden History: Tatham Garden

I originally grabbed this photo because it showed a lovely formal garden, but as I examined it more closely, I could see a lot that was wild about this picture, too. Yes, it has large lawns, stonework and a fountain, but looking at the edges it is also exuberant, with the beds threatening to spill […]

Garden History: Santa Barbara Mission, 2201 Laguna Street, Santa Barbara, California. (LOC)

Just 1.5 hours up the highway from us here in Los Angeles, the Santa Barbara Mission gardens are as welcoming today as they were back in 1917 when this photo was taken. Described as the “Queen of the Missions”, Santa Barbara has been nearly destroyed several times in its long history. Earthquakes on 1812 and […]

Garden History: Your victory garden counts more than ever!

It isn’t just during times of war that your Victory Garden counts. I wish that they had never gone out of style. Once food rationing finished and food was freely available again, most returned to there previous ways of life. Pity. Gardening brings so much more than just food. It can bring health, heart and […]

Garden History: “Villa Sciarra,” George Wurts house, via Calandrelli, Rome, Italy. (LOC)

What is there so special about overarching trees, even relatively young one’s like these. There is a sense of protection, enclosure and peacefulness. It is almost like the trees are keeping the dangerous outside world…outside. Of course, the wolves can always get through the woods, if they wish, bit as humans we still feel enclosure […]

Garden History: Whitworth Gardens, Darley Dale, Derbyshire, England

There is always something so special in a patch of water in the garden. Be it a large lake, small pond or even just awarer garden in a whiskey barrel, the look and sound of water is as attractive to we humans as it is to native wildlife. The biggest suggestion for those wanting to […]

Garden History: John & Lizzie Wilson from Boston in Bradenton, Florida, 1951

A garden can grow wherever you wish. This scene of “Snowbirds” over-wintering in Florida shows just that. Humans have an innate sense of gardening and growing, even if it isn’t required for our survival any longer. Perhaps it harkens back to those days when raising your own food was critical to life itself, Maybe gardening […]