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American Garden History

A brief history of American Gardens by the Smithsonian's Archives of American Gardens
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Smithsonian Gardens

on 14 August 2014

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Transcript of American Garden History

American Garden History
Spaniards settle St. Augustine
Spaniards settle St. Augustine, Florida bringing plants from Spain and novelties from the West Indies.
1565
Jamestown
Jamestown in Virginia settled and the cultivation of tobacco was begun.
1607
Image courtesy of Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division
http://tinyurl.com/3bfhkxn
Pilgrims arrive in New England
Pilgrims come to New England bringing seeds for planting.
1620
English garden style continues in New England
1628
New England gardens during the first century following the settlements were very like English cottage and farmhouse gardens. Like them they had mike, flowers and vegetables, herbs, and salads, usually in front and usually fenced or walled. Walling was exceptional; the fence was of white-washed wooden stakes or pickets.
-Edward Hyams, "A History of Gardening and Gardens"
Dutch settle on Manhattan
1629
The Dutch settled on Manhattan, on Long Island, and along the Hudson Valley. They cultivated orchards and farms and introduced many European flowers.
Expansion of New England gardens
1638
Apple, pear, plum, lilac, boxwood, European snowball, and English yew growing in New England gardens.
Jamestown settlement requirements
1639
Law passed in Jamestown colony requiring all settlers who owned over one hundred acres of land to plant orchards and gardens and fence them in.
First Public Park
1640
Boston Common was designated as a green space and became America's first public park.
Image courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division [reproduction number, e.g., LC-USZ62-110212]
Governor's Palace Gardens
1713
Gardens surrounding the Governor's Palace at Williamsburg in Virginia were begun under the direction of Governor Alexander Spotswood.
Image courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Gardens
http://tinyurl.com/69z5ej2
Botanical Garden in Philadelphia founded
1728
John Bartram of Philadelphia establishes his botanical garden; Bartram called the greatest naturalist in the world.
19th century illustration of John Bartram by Howard Pyle. No known portrait of Bartram exists. Image and caption from Bartram's Garden. http://tinyurl.com/khvpxnx
First American Commercial Nursery opens
1737
First modern commercial nursery opened in Flushing, New York by Robert Prince.
America's First Landscaped Garden
1741
Work began on Middleton Place in Charleston, South Carolina. This is considered to be America's first landscaped garden.
Middleton Place, Charleston, South Carolina.
Image courtesy: Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Gardens, Garden Club of America Collection
http://tinyurl.com/679gndv
George Washington inherits
Mount Vernon
George Washington inherits Mount Vernon and begins developing its gardens. He wrote, "...to be a cultivator of land has been my favorite amusement."
1754
Gardens at Monticello begun
1766
Thomas Jefferson cultivated hundreds of varieties of vegetables, fruits and flowers at Monticello. Jefferson wrote to Charles Wilson Peale, "No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, and no culture comparable to that of the garden. I am still devoted to the garden. But though an old man, I am but a young gardener."
Image courtesy of the Archives of American Gardens.http://tinyurl.com/64e8vgq
From Vegetable to Flower Gardens
"By the end of the eighteenth century the separation of the kitchen garden from the pleasure garden or flower garden was customary, and what is sometimes referred to as the "parlor garden" was created in front or at the side of a house... As vegetables and herbs were relegated to the rear, flowers and flowering shrubs, brick paths, and edging plants conforming to an orderly plan became the fashionable rule of the day."
1790s
The 19th Century
1800s
"The nineteenth century saw both the opening of the West and the declaration that the frontier was "closed." Wilderness preserves, national parks, and open-space organizations were established; the first professional landscape association and numerous formal educational institutions for the study of the landscape were founded. Town planning, the great botanical gardens, and the conservation movement are all products of that century. The full extent of expression of defining the environment was laid out for Americans during this period."
"Gates of the Yosemite," 1830. Albert Bierstadt, painter.
Image courtesy of Smithsonian American Art Museum.
http://tinyurl.com/5ub2col


First seed and florist shop
1802
Grant Thorburn opened the first seed and florist shop in New York City. Thorburn also published the first seed catalogue in America
Louisiana Purchase
The Louisiana Purchase of 1803 doubled the land area of the United States and officially opened "the West" for settlement. As settlers from Europe poured into the United States, so too did their seeds, plants, and gardening styles.
1803
Image courtesy of Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division. http://tinyurl.com/okv6ucp
US Botanic Garden
established

1820
The United States Botanic Garden was established in Washington, D.C., by an Act of Congress.

"This 1858 photograph shows the Conservatory constructed eight years earlier. The accompanying grounds occupied ten acres extending from First Street to Third Street between Pennsylvania and Maryland Avenues, SW."
Image and caption courtesy of the United States Botanic Garden. http://www.usbg.gov/history/first_conservatory.cfm
Urban growth produces country homes
1830s
Rapid urban growth in the Northeast took place. Many wealthy urban dwellers also purchased country estates and revived an interest in the cultivation of gardens and preserving the natural landscape.
Mount Auburn Cemetery
1830
Mount Auburn Cemetery, organized by the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, was the first of many rural cemeteries which were an integral part of 19th century life."
Image courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Gardens
http://tinyurl.com/69wq87h
"A Treatise on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening" published
1841
Andrew Jackson Downing publishes the first edition of "A Treatise on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening Adapted to North America." In it, Downing writes for the individual rather than academic peers in a way that advocates for what is later considered the ‘American Dream’— “…an attachment to a certain spot, and a desire to render that place attractive—a feeling which seems more or less strongly fixed in the minds of all men.”

Downing, Andrew Jackson. "A Treatise on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening." New York: Orange Judd Company, 1875.
Image courtesy: Smithsonian Institution, National Portrait Gallery
http://tinyurl.com/6gmgs2f
Central Park Commission
Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux win the commission for New York’s Central Park which spurred the creation of parks across the United States. Olmsted was firmly established as the foremost landscape architect of the time, designing public commissions and private estates alike.
1858
Central Park map, New York, New York, 1880. Image courtesy: Library of Congress, Collection of American Landscape and Architectural Design, 1850-1920.
http://tinyurl.com/lgdhhkc
The Civil War
From 1861-1865 the Civil War interrupted the rise of horticultural activity by curtailing the "embellishment of gardens and decoration of grounds. Cultivators have been called to the battleground from the garden and the spade has been changed for the sword." The large southern plantations are devastated.
1861-1865
Image courtesy of Warshaw Collection of Business Americana - Civil War, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
http://tinyurl.com/6k963ja
First National Park
Yellowstone was established by Congress as the first National Park but with few guidelines or funds to preserve it. Sequoia, Yosemite, and General Grant National Parks in California all followed with National Park status in 1890. The National Park Service was not officially established until the National Parks Act of 1916 was signed by President Woodrow Wilson.
1872
"Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and Falls," ca. 1885, F. Jay Haynes. Image courtesy of Smithsonian American Art Museum.
http://americanart.si.edu/collections/search/artwork/?id=33807
1872
The Arnold Arboretum becomes the oldest public arboretum in North America. Trustees of Harvard University establish the Arnold Arboretum in the Boston neighborhoods of Jamaica Plan and Roslindale. After the Civil War, prosperous Americans appear to have come to terms with their changed society and to have embraced a new set of brazenly acquisitive values. Horticulture was to take on new associations and functions.

Punch, Walter T., "Keeping Eden: A History of Gardening in America." Boston: Bulfinch Press, 1992
Arnold Arboretum
Arnold Arboretum, circa 1920s-30s?
Image courtesy: Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Gardens, J. Horace McFarland
http://tinyurl.com/66odxea
Olmsted's 1874 Capitol Plan
for the U.S. Capitol Grounds
Frederick Law Olmsted's Plan for the Capitol Grounds

"This drawing, which is oriented with east at the top, shows the arrangement of drives, paths, trees, fountains, and terraces that Olmsted created at the Capitol beginning in 1874. The outline of the Capitol includes an east front extension that Olmsted expected; the actual east front extension, which was constructed in 1958-1962, took a different shape."
Image and caption courtesy of The Architect of the Capitol
http://www.aoc.gov/cc/grounds/flo_plan.cfm
1876
1874
The Arts and Crafts and The Aesthetic Movements
The emergence of Arts and Crafts gardens took place, mirroring architectural and artistic trends. This trend flourished in the pre-WWI era when owning large country estates was becoming increasingly popular. The trend was rooted in simplicity and traditional skill, while also carrying on an interest in progressive movements that were ever-growing. Early stages of the Arts and Craft movement are often also associated with the Aesthetic movement which advocated “art for art’s sake.” “The importance of creative collaboration between artists and designers, an insistence on simplicity, and an underlying belief that the quality of life could be enhanced or undermined by architecture and interior decoration were fundamental to both movements.”
1880s-1890s
Beauty from Nature
During the late 19th century, English art critic John Ruskin “formulated a theory by which architecture could be judged by its dependence on natural form, and ornament was only acceptable when it was clearly derived from natural sources.” The contrived, exotic gardens of the Victorian era quickly became commonplace, unnatural, and out of fashion.
1880s
John Ruskin, ca. 1879. Elliott and Fry, photographer.
Image courtesy: Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Art, Charles Scribner's Sons Art Reference Dept. records.
http://www.aaa.si.edu/collections/images/detail/john-ruskin-7896
Ladies Garden Club of Athens
The Ladies Garden Club of Athens, Georgia was founded as the first women's gardening society of its kind.
1891
Burpee Seed Company
W. Atlee Burpee Co. is founded and later becomes the largest mail-order seed company in the world.
1878
World's Columbian Exposition
Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. was a member of the design team lead by Daniel Burnham who brought classical architecture on a grand scale to Chicago. Urban planning and the height of Neo-Classicism were results of the "white city" created for the Exposition.
1893
Chicago World's Columbian Exposition, 1893.
Image courtesy: Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 95, Box 61, Folder 8, Negative number 12137 or MAH-12137.
Americans were able to relax and enjoy their gardens. Croquet grounds were laid out, arbors and summerhouses were furnished for leisurely outdoor activities. Lawn parties in the summer and sleigh rides in the winter cast a new spirit to the era... Fascinated by the exotic, gardeners incorporated Asian and Middle Eastern elements into their plans, as well as those of England, France, and Italy.
1860s-1890s
Victorian Gardens in the U.S.
On the 100th year anniversary of Washington, DC’s establishment as a capital city, President William McKinley appointed a commission to improve the design of Washington, keeping in mind the original plan that Pierre L’Enfant had in mind when he first laid out plans for the city. The architects who were a part of this commission were Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., Daniel Burnham, and Charles McKim. Headed by Senator James McMillan, the chairman of the Senate Committee on the District of Columbia, this plan for DC “was an exact revival of the L’Enfant plan of 1791.” This redesign resonated with Haussmann’s Paris of 1870.

"The Mall is landscaped with winding footpaths and dense clusters of trees, reminiscent of Andrew Jackson Downing's 1851 plan for the Mall grounds. In the early 1930s the Mall was leveled and the trees cleared as part of the McMillan Commission's efforts to return Washington to the L'Enfant plan."
McMillan Plan for Washington, DC
Aerial View of Smithsonian Institution Building and Natural History Building, 1932. Image courtesy Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 95, Box 67, Folder: 15, Negative number 2002-10673 . http://tinyurl.com/6974s6d
1901
City Beautiful Movement
The City Beautiful Movement grew from increased interest in urban planning and its effect on a city’s inhabitants. Charles Mumford Robinson was the first to write on the subject of urban planning in his book "Modern Civic Art," or the "City Made Beautiful." His work was theoretical, investigating how people interacted and benefited from urban planning and the positive effects of gardens on city design. City planning entered into the purview of landscape architecture programs such as the Harvard School of Landscape Architecture.
1903
Garden Club of America Founded
The Garden Club of America grows out of a letter-writing campaign to several garden clubs by Mrs. J. Willis Martin and Mrs. Bayard Henry. At their first national meeting they adopt the policy that, "The objects of this association shall be: to stimulate the knowledge and love of gardening among amateurs; to share the advantages of association through conference and correspondence, in this country and abroad; to aid in the protection of native plants and birds; and to encourage civic planting."
1913
Image of Mrs. Martin in her Philadelphia garden, courtesy of the Garden Club of America, http://www2.gcamerica.org/about-history.cfm
Plant Quarantine Act
1918
The Plant Quarantine Act goes into effect restricting the importation of nursery stock, plants, and seeds from foreign countries to possible transmission of plant diseases and pests.
American Horticultural Society
1922
The American Horticultural Society is founded.
National Arboretum
1927
The United States National Arboretum is founded in Washington, D.C. by an Act of Congress.
1942-1945
Endangered Species Act
1973
The Endangered Species Act goes into effect. Designed to protect threatened and endangered plants and plant habitats in the United States.
Looking Back at American Gardens
"What can you say about a country whose two most important contributions to the history of landscape consist of the front lawn and the wilderness park? One safe conclusion would be that this is a culture whose thinking on the subject of nature is somewhat schizophrenic--that it is unsure whether it wants to dominate nature in the name of civilization or to worship it, untouched, as a means of escape from civilization. It has been more than a century now since the invention of the front lawn and the wilderness park (both, interestingly, date from the same period: the decade following the Civil War), yet those two very different and equally original institutions continue to shape and reflect American thinking about nature--and, in turn, our attitudes toward the idea of a garden." -Michael Pollan, Keeping Eden
1990
Ellis, Barbara W., Jane S. Keough, Judy Powell, and American Horticultural Society. "North American Horticulture, A Reference Guide." New York: Scribner, c 1982.
Ellis, Barbara W., Jane S. Keough, Judy Powell, and American Horticultural Society. "North American Horticulture, A Reference Guide." New York: Scribner, c 1982.
Writers' Program (New York, N.Y.). "New York: A Guide to the Empire State." New York: Oxford University Press, 1940.
Ellis, Barbara W., Jane S. Keough, Judy Powell, and American Horticultural Society. "North American Horticulture, A Reference Guide." New York: Scribner, c. 1982.
Ellis, Barbara W., Jane S. Keough, Judy Powell, and American Horticultural Society. "North American Horticulture, A Reference Guide." New York: Scribner, c. 1982.
Domosh, Mona. "Invented Cities: The Creation of Landscape in Nineteenth-Century." New York and Boston: Yale University Press, 1998.
American Horticultural Society, comp., Jane S. Keough, Judy Powell, Barbara W. Ellis, edit.. "North American Horticulture, A Reference Guide." New York: Scribner, c 1982.
Ellis, Barbara W., Jane S. Keough, Judy Powell, and American Horticultural Society. "North American Horticulture, A Reference Guide." New York: Scribner, c 1982.
Ellis, Barbara W., Jane S. Keough, Judy Powell, and American Horticultural Society. "North American Horticulture, A Reference Guide." New York: Scribner, c. 1982.
Berrall, Julia S. "The Garden: an Illustrated History." (New York: Viking Press, 1966), 310.
Berrall, Julia S. "The Garden: an Illustrated History." (New York: Viking Press, 1966), 310.
Berrall, Julia S. "The Garden: an Illustrated History." New York: Viking Press, 1966, 310.
Punch, Walter T., ed. "Keeping Eden: A History of Gardening in America." Boston: Bulfinch Press, 1992.
"American Florist: A Weekly Journal for the Trade." Vol 1. (Chicago: American Florist Company, 1886), 50.
Punch, Walter T. "Keeping Eden: A History of Gardening in America." Boston: Bulfinch Press, 1992.
Adams, Howard. "Nature Perfected: Gardens Through History." New York: Abbeville Press, 1991.
Buckler, James R., Kathryn Meehan and Smithsonian Institution Office of Horticulture. "Victorian Gardens: A Horticultural Extravaganza." Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, 1988.
Rogers, Elizabeth Barlow. "Landscape Design: A Cultural and Architectural History." (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2001), 341.
"The Magazine of Horticulture, Botany, and All Useful Discoveries and Improvements in Rural Affairs." Vol 29. Boston: Hovey and Company, 1863.
Phyllis Andersen, et al. "Keeping Eden: A History of Gardening in America." Edited by Walter T. Punch, Boston: Bulfinch Press, 1992.
American Horticultural Society, comp., Jane S. Keough, Judy Powell, Barbara W. Ellis, edit.. "North American Horticulture, A Reference Guide." New York: Scribner, c 1982.
Hitchmough, Wendy. "Arts and Crafts Gardens," (New York: Rizzoli International Publications, Inc., 1998), 7.
Ellis, Barbara W., Jane S. Keough, Judy Powell, and American Horticultural Society. "North American Horticulture, A Reference Guide." New York: Scribner, c 1982.
Ellis, Barbara W., Jane S. Keough, Judy Powell, and American Horticultural Society. "North American Horticulture, A Reference Guide." New York: Scribner, c 1982.
Rogers, Elizabeth Barlow . "Landscape Design: A Cultural and Architectural History." New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 2001.
Buckler, James R. and Kathryn Meehan. "Victorian Gardens: A Horticultural Extravaganza." Smithsonian Institution, 1988.
Rogers, Elizabeth Barlow. "Landscape Design: A Cultural and Architectural History." New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 2001.
Rogers, Elizabeth Barlow. "Landscape Design: A Cultural and Architectural History." New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 2001.
1900s-1910s
School Gardens
Dewitt Clinton Park in October, 1909.
Images from the Thomas Warren Sears Collection, Archives of American Gardens, Smithsonian Institution. http://tinyurl.com/4xsqdp5
Conceived by Fannie Griscom Parsons (1850-1923), a pioneer of school gardens in the United States, these school gardens were created as a place where children (many of them the progeny of European immigrants to the U.S.) could become “proper” American citizens through the process of gardening, environmental beautification, and contact with the natural world. As Parsons described in 1903, “In a neighborhood where before only vandalism reigned, this miniature farm, lying in one of New York’s most congested districts, awakened an almost forgotten feeling in the hearts of the people of the neighborhood, at the same time satisfying the active restlessness of the children.” Parsons understood gardening as a way of transforming not only the landscape, but the people who lived in this urban-industrial environment.
For more on Parsons and the school garden movement in New York, see Warsh, Marie, “Cultivating Citizens: The Children’s School Farm in New York City, 1902-1931, Buildings and Landscapes 18, no. 1, Spring 2011; Lawson, Laura City Bountiful: A Century of Community Gardening in America, pp. 62-67; additional images are housed at the New York City Parks Photo Archive. Parsons, Fannie. “The First Children’s Farm” Outlook (1893-1924); May 2, 1903.
“The Garden Club of America: A Timeline.” Garden Club of America, accessed 2011. http://www2.gcamerica.org/about-history.cfm
During World War I, many school gardens were transformed into gardens to supplement the war effort.
School Gardens Transformed
World War I begins. Following World War I, enormous cultural and economic changes took place in the country, affecting all aspects of American life, including gardening.

"Probably no other appeal to the patriotism of the American people ever met with more widespread and generous response than 'war gardening.' It set the great heart of America beating from coast to coast. Spurred on by the knowledge that 'food will win the war' men, women, and children all over the United States took up war gardening. Both as individuals and as members of various organizations they have gone about this as true soldiers of the soil, in the same spirit with which their husbands, fathers, brothers, and friends went into the army and the navy."

Pack, Charles Lathrop. "Making a Nation of Garden Cities," Garden Magazine 27, 4 (May 1918): 183.
Image Courtesy of the Library of Congress
http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/93510433/
U.S. War Gardens during World War I
1917-1918
Ellis, Barbara W., Jane S. Keough, Judy Powell, and American Horticultural Society. "North American Horticulture, A Reference Guide." New York: Scribner, c 1982.
Ellis, Barbara W., Jane S. Keough, Judy Powell, and American Horticultural Society. "North American Horticulture, A Reference Guide." New York: Scribner, c 1982.
“The irony of victory gardens for an interned population was dramatic”
Many American citizens of Japanese ancestry planted victory gardens while being unjustly held in internment camps during World War II. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, authorizing the internment of Japanese American citizens during World War II. After being relocated to camps, many of these citizens, amazingly, took on the task of shaping their landscape by planting victory gardens, displaying a complicated sense of patriotism through horticulture. Transforming the landscapes of these desolate spaces was also one way of re-creating community, heritage and identity through garden design after being dramatically uprooted from their former lives.

Helphand, Kenneth. "Defiant Gardens: Making Gardens in Wartime." (San Antonio: Trinity University Press, 2006), p. 157, 188-189

Images courtesy of the University of California, Bancroft Library. Dorothea Lange, photographer.http://tinyurl.com/3tazmc7
1942-1945
Victory Gardens in Internment Camps
Many first-generation Japanese immigrants to the United States (Nisei) worked in jobs relating to agriculture and gardening due to racially exclusionary laws and their limited knowledge of English. In 1934, a third of the Los Angeles Japanese American labor force were gardeners. “Before World War II, the Japanese dominated the garden business on the West Coast…Their skill and industriousness was recognized by all, and there was even some prestige associated in employing a Japanese gardener.”
1937
League of Southern California Japanese Gardeners formed
Berrall, Julia S. "The Garden: an Illustrated History." New York: Viking Press, 1966.
Helphand, Kenneth. "Defiant Gardens: Making Gardens in Wartime." (San Antonio: Trinity University Press, 2006), 157-9.
Gardens of the Great Migration
After World War II, more people than ever before moved from cities to newly built suburbs. In these middle-class developments, gardens often turned inward, to the backyard, where patios were used for private relaxation and entertainment.
Lindsley Garden. Molly Adams, photographer. Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Gardens, Maida Babson Adams Collection
1950s-1960s
Rise of the Suburbs
1962
Silent Spring published.
Pennsylvania Horticultural Society's Philadelphia Green Program is Established
1975
Residents of West Philadelphia decided to transform the vacant lots where row houses and a dry cleaner once stood. Collaborating with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, gardens were created on this site. During the 1980s, students from the University of Pennsylvania worked with neighborhood gardeners to create a design for a community space in this garden, transforming it into “an oasis in the neighborhood offering the community a place to grow foods and knowledge.”
Aspen Farms Community Gardens, Philadelphia, PA. 2004. Ann Reed, photographer. Image courtesy: Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Gardens, Garden Club of America Collection
Spirn, Anne Whiston. "The Language of Landscape." Yale University Press, 1998.
See also:http://web.mit.edu/wplp/plan/aspen.htmand http://www.pennsylvaniahorticulturalsociety.org/phlgreen/pp_aspenfarms.html
1970
The first Earth Day is celebrated.
Resurgence of Urban Community Gardens
2000s
By using space in Birmingham, Alabama to grow organic food and present environmental education programs, this urban farm is a place to build communities for the future.
Jones Valley Urban Farm, 2009. Heather McWane, photographer. Image courtesy: Smithsonian Institution. Archives of American Gardens, Garden Club of America Collection
Punch, Walter T. "Keeping Eden: A History of Gardening in America." Boston: Bulfinch Press, 1992.
Greenbelt, Maryland
1937
Greenbelt under construction, 1937.
Image courtesy: The Cultural Landscape Foundation http://tclf.org/news/album/72157622584706624
Modeled after Ebenezer Howard’s garden city ideal, Greenbelt, Maryland is a planned community built by the Federal Government during the Great Depression. The landscape blends Art Deco and Modern design elements within a park-like setting to create an interesting juxtaposition of styles. A road rings the outside, while homes face the interior parks and are connected by sidewalks and underpasses leading to a community center and shopping. Agricultural plots were designated on the outer edges for growing food. Although it attempted to uphold the ideals of a cooperative community of the New Deal era, the city was racially exclusive. Only whites were allowed to move in to this seemingly ideal garden city.
Gardens of Slavery
1619-1865
Hidden from view at the “back of the big house” on plantations, the gardens created by African American slaves in the United States are an important part of garden history. Forced to work under brutal conditions for plantation owners, gardening has a complex historical meaning for many people in American society. As scholar John Vlach describes, “the creation of slave landscapes was one of the strategies employed by blacks to make slavery survivable.” Creating gardens was one way for slaves to have a small measure of autonomy. Gardening helped them to nourish their own bodies, rather than crops their owners sold. Yet, “even when slaves were most persistent in establishing their own landscapes, they attempted few bold gestures.”
Vlach, John. "The Back of the Big House." Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, 1993, 95, 108.

Montrie, Chad. "Making a Living: Work and Environment in the United States." Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, 2008.

Walker, Alice. "In Search of Our Mothers Gardens: Womanist Prose." San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1983.
1910s-1930s
House in African American area of Detroit, Michigan. Wall separates black neighborhood from white neighborhood.

Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Farm Security Administration, Office of War Information Photograph Collection
http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/fsa2000044442/PP/
As they moved to cities in the North during the 20th century, working class African Americans lived in distinct neighborhoods. Seemingly rustic or rural yards contained vegetable gardens. “By growing familiar foods, they not only supplemented their incomes and diet, but, through exchanges or gifts of fresh produce, reinforced community bonds and preserved tangible links to their heritage as African American southerners.”
1917-1918
Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia
Horticultural Hall showcases exotic specimens and garden displays to millions of visitors.

Horticultural Hall, designed by architect H. J. Swartzmann.
Image original source: John Gilmary Shea, "The Story of a Great Nation." (New York: Gay Brothers & Company, 1886), p. 976.
Golden Age of American Gardens
From the 1890s until the advent of World War II, many showpiece gardens were developed on large estates in most sections of the United States. Famous plant collections were made for formal gardens which usually followed French or Italian models and sometimes English or Spanish. Numerous gardeners were needed to tend the grounds of large estates.
1890s-1940s
First Landscape Architecture Program established
Harvard University established the world’s first academic program in landscape architecture in 1900. Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. was an instructor.
1900
Image Courtesy of the Library of Congress
http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/93510433/
Victory Gardens
Millions of tons of fruits and vegetables were grown by citizens who planted victory gardens to aid in the war effort. A victory garden was even planted on the White House grounds.
The widely read book by Rachel Carson raised public concerns about pesticides and pollution of the environment.
Berrall, Julia S. "The Garden: An Illustrated History." New York: Viking Press, 1966, 307.
Weise, Andrew. "Places of Their Own: African American Suburbanization in the Twentieth Century." (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2004), p.85.
Hitchmough, Wendy. "Arts and Crafts Gardens," (New York: Rizzoli International Publications, Inc., 1998), 18.
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