Friday, August 31, 2007

Pioneers of American Landscape Design

A University of VA (Charlottesville) Pavillion Garden
Inspired by Thomas Jefferson's original designs

Pioneers of American Landscape Design (2000) is a book you need to know about and own if you are at all interested in garden history and preserving cultural and garden landscapes. It is one I turn to often to check on the background of the gardens and landscape creators about which I write.

This book is a project of the
  • Natioanl Park Service Landscape Initiative
  • Library of American Landscape History
  • CATALOG of Landscape Records in the United States at Wave Hill (NY) and
  • Cultural Landscape Foundation.
According to the Cultural Landscape Foundation, The Pioneers of American Landscape Design project (and book) documents the lives and careers of people who have shaped the American landscape—not only landscape architects, but all who have played a role in creating our landscape heritage, including landscape gardeners, architects, horticulturists, nursery owners, writers, engineers, educators, cemetery designers, planners, golf course architects, and naturalists.

Although new copies (when one can find one) of Pioneers of American Landscape come with a hefty price tag, gently used copies are available through Internet book sites and independent book sellers. A copy is well worth having on your own reference book shelf.

Here are some articles about what else is on my Landscape Gardening Reference Book:

Text and photographs by Georgene A. Bramlage. 2007. Reproduction without permission

Thursday, August 30, 2007

A Williamsburg Perspective on Colonial Gardens

A Williamsburg Perspective on Colonial Gardens
is an article on the Colonial Williamsburg website. I return often for a "refresher course" and a good look at Colonial Revival and Colonial Restoration attitudes and ideas for Historic Garden Landscapes.

If, like me, you are intrigued with the how and why of historic garden landscapes, I strongly encourage you to investigate Williamsburg's 62nd Colonial Williamsburg Garden Symposium: Celebrating the American Garden.The symposium will be held May 4 – 7, 2008. Keynote speaker is Lynden Miller, director of The Conservatory Garden in New York’s Central Park.

The speaker roster for these symposia is always full of interesting "garden people" who being unique perspectives to gardens and garden design. What I like best about the symposium, when I have the opportunity to attend, is the freedom to have time to really look at the Colonial Williamsburg gardens and many times to explore "behind the scenes" with museum gardeners and interpreters.

As gardeners in northern temperate zones begin to put gardens to bed for the off-season, it's also time to start thinking about learning opportunities in 2008.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Gardener's Holiday - House of 7 Gables - Salem, MA

The House of the Seven Gables
Viewed across the raised beds of a Colonial Revival Garden.

Nathaniel Hawthorne's Birthplace
Moved to the complex from another part of Salem.

Retire Becket House (now the Gift Shop)
Viewed across the raised beds of a Colonial Revival Garden
Moved to the complex from another part of Salem.

What does a gardener do for a holiday? Easy answer: Gather up friends and relations, and visit a garden. I am fortunate enough to live in New England where it is very easy to find great-looking and historical gardens within a short drive or a long walk.

Earlier this week, accompanied by two friends I visited
The House of the Seven Gables Historic District that contains gardens that represent four centuries of planting schemes. This is another way of saying, to my way of thinking, Colonial Revival. During the early 1900s, Colonial Revival reached its peak of popularity in both house interior design and renovation along with landscape gardening. This approach clothed history in nostalgia and the concept of "the good old days."

Many times, the fun of a garden visit for me is in unraveling the garden's past - kind of like a mystery - rather than just looking at all the pretty flowers. The schoolteacher in me likes to look for accuracy in garden interpretation, while the photographer in me is always busy looking for that "perfect shot." The houses within the House the Seven Gables complex are not interpreted as being authentic representation, nor are the gardens. So, all in all, it was a great relaxing day out for me!

In The House of the Seven Gables: A Colonial Revival Garden (Salem, MA) I write about some of the information I uncovered about The House of the Seven Gables, its Historic Neighborhood, and Colonial Revival Gardens.

***Most gardens maintain web sites so, if you want to visit the House of the Seven Gables, I heartily recommend accessing these or telephoning for up-to-the-minute open days, admission times, and fees or other pertinent information you need to make your visit a good one.

The House of the Seven Gables Association. Location and Headquarters • 115 Derby StreetSalem, MA 01970 • (978) 744-099.

Text and photographs by Georgene A. Bramlage. 2007. Reproduction without permission

Monday, August 20, 2007

August Sunflowers in Poland

August Sunflowers in Poland: North American native flowers glow in fields and market stalls.
Sunflowers, North American natives, brighten Polish garden plots and yards. Eight planting and design tips ensure sunflower success in any temperate climate.

I recently returned from a two-week vacation of cultural exploration mostly through the rural roads of Poland. Twenty-seven of us, organized by The Polish Center of Discovery and Learning at Elms College, Chicopee (MA), traveled from Warsaw through Sandomierz, Tarnow, and Zakopane to Krakow.We saw farmers and their families putting-up hay, weeding vegetable fields as well as small plots and gardens of sunflowers.

Read more at August Sunflowers in Poland

Text and photographs by Georgene A. Bramlage. 2007. Reproduction without permission

August Poll: Garden Landscapes of the World

August Poll at Landscaping at Suite101: Garden Landscapes of the World.

Question: To which country would you like to travel so you can investigate, explore and learn about its garden landscapes? Let you imagination wander - consider that money is not an obstacle!