Banquet Piece, Pieter Claez

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Garden of the Vallejo Adobe - Designed by Johannes Reimers

Johannes Reimers designed the garden surrounding the Old Adobe when the adobe was renovated by his son, the Bay Area architect, Frederick Reimers, in 1923(?). 

It is not known at this time what the original garden looked like.  However, the original plans are possibly available.

Why was Johannes Reimers chosen to do the garden?

A Walk Around the Old Vallejo Adobe

The garden around the Vallejo Adobe is often referred to as the "Reimers garden".   So far, I found this out about Johannes Reimers.  The original design for the garden still exists in the archives (supposedly). 

Johannes Reimers could be considered (at least by me) a really early drought-tolerant garden planner. He planned gardens for some of the driest most neglected areas, railroad stations.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Mrs. George Roeding Jr's History of the Old Adobe and its Garden

The Bay Area architect, Frederick Reimers, renovated the Old Adobe. Johannes Reimers, his father, designed the garden around the Vallejo Adobe.

This 1974 Argus column "An Informal History of California" by John Sandoval (The Argus, Sunday, August 04, 1974, page 12 ),  turned up while looking for Johannes Reimers.  It also answered the question about the bulb shows.  I added the photos.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

A History of the Nursery Trade (1904)

To understand the importance of the California Nursery Company, it is helpful to understand the context of the times. How many nurseries were there around the turn of the 20th century?  Who were they supplying?  What were they supplying?  

The Horticultural Wishbooks

Catalogs, a window to the past

I love to look at old catalogs.  You get to see the ordinary or the fleeting or exactly what you got for Christmas back in 1965.  It was a big deal to get that Christmas Sears Roebuck catalog  each year. We called it the wishbook.  Indeed, the old catalogs give us a view into the lives of our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents. What were some of those things used for?  You could buy anything in there. I always wish I could still order out of the catalog. Maybe there is a Sears Hazelton house kit languishing in some warehouse waiting for me.

Old seed catalogs are great wishbooks, too.  You see varieties that are hard or impossible to find now. You see trees that must have been just introduced to California.  All kinds of wondrous stuff.
I found several places online that have scanned in old catalogs and looked for the California Nursery Company catalogs.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The California Nursery Company History

The California Nursery Company is one of the best kept historical horticultural secrets of Fremont and of California.

Folks in Fremont probably all know that we have a early California mission, Mission San Jose.   And we have some historic buildings - Ardenwood Farm, the Chadbourne Carriage House, and Shinn Park.  Then there is the Niles Canyon Railway and the Essanay Silent Film Museum.  However, if you are the average Fremontian you probably don't know much or anything about the California Nursery Company.

Yet, at one time, the California Nursery Company was the largest nursery West of the Rockies.

A Google Map tour of the California Nursery Company in Niles, California

In the Niles District in Fremont, there is an under-developed mostly unknown park called the California Nursery Historical Park.

For years I have driven by on my way to somewhere else, or stopped by the small retail nursery that was there for a while, or admired the inaccessible Vallejo Adobe, or looked at their antique rose garden and wondered about the windmill. Then there are all those large trees and some of those trees are kind of unusual.

For an "Introduction to Horticulture" class at Merritt College, I decided I would find out what I could about the California Nursery Historical Park and all of those big trees on the property. Certainly there must be an interesting story there!