Banquet Piece, Pieter Claez

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Old Books about Old Roses

From Rosarum Monographia.
Ethelyn Emery Keays wrote the classic 1935 book Old Roses.  Ethelyn was a rose rustler before there was such a name for the people who went searching for our lost rose varieties in gardens, cemeteries, and road sides.

Her chapter on "Libraries and Rose Books" lists the books that she used for her rose research. Ethelyn visited these books at libraries and gardens. Many of the books are online now. She might have loved the easy access to all of these old books. It would have have made research quite easy. However, I suspect that she enjoyed meeting the interesting people who took care of the books.

I have collected several of her references here and will add as I go.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Early color photos of palm trees

"Alley of Chamaerops excelsus, Windmill Palm"
from the World Digital Library
I am on a search for early examples of "avenue of palms" and "palm allées". This early color photo turned up in my search.  Wowy wow wow!

We know this palm now as Trachycarpus fortunei.

The photographer was Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944). From the description, this photo would have been taken somewhere from 1905 to 1915.

See other pictures in this collection of the Russian Empire.  Incredible!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Two Famous California Horticulturalists

In 1907 George C. Roeding and Luther Burbank were somewhat equally famous, at least on the front page of the Pacific Rural Press, March 16, 1907. How is it that Luther Burbank is the only one who remains on the public mind?

The 1907 New Products of the Trees catalog contains these two photos and the same "Meeting of the Ways".

The following is the text from the California Fruit Bulletin:

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Infinite Tulips

Or infinite flying cows!
Adriaen Pauw's garden in Amsterdam (or near Amsterdam) had an mirror illusion trick to multiply the number of tulips in the garden. A looking-glass cabinet stood in the bed of tulips and made the bed look as though it had infinite tulips. Naturally I want an infinity cabinet as well, for my small garden. However, this was in the 1600's and perhaps the book that has a description of such a cabinet is not scanned yet.  Or it was never described. Here's what I found along the way.

Goat Crooks and Rockrose Ticklers

The crook,
the "flail", and the
ladanum-impregnated goat's beard
I love the smell of rockrose. I used to run past some hedges of pink rockrose and always stopped to sniff it. Was it Cistus creticus?

I just learned that the crook and and flail possibly represented the tools of a goatherd in Egypt: the "crook" for managing goats and the "flail" for gathering the resins from rockrose.  The resins were used to make labdanum.

Given the choice I would rather spend eternity with something nice smelling (to show how RICH I was) than spend eternity showing what a disciplinarian I was. 

Give me a fabulous smelling resin-soaked goatbeard, my crook to manage my goats, and a tool to gather more resins and I'd be happy. But that's me.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Old Roses

Already dog-eared...
Just returned from the National Heirloom Expo 2015. Heirloom plants and heritage breed animals. Piles of squash and rows of tomatoes. Very cute big and little piggies, bronze age goats. Lots of interesting thought-provoking speakers (and some really out-there speakers). Good food and good music.

Talked to the Heritage Rose Group people who had some booklets and some old roses for sale.

There are many people who call themselves "Rose Rustlers" who (very politely) find and propagate old roses found in cemeteries, homesteads, and old houses.

Initially, I was drawn to their booth because I'm looking for the Niles Cochet rose that was introduced by the California Nursery Company in 1906. However, I'm also interested in old roses because many are very drought tolerant and some might provide edible petals and rose hips.

How did fountains work before electricity?

Fountain of Alcázar
N.A. Wells
I just read about the fountains in the gardens of Alcázar in Seville where some of the fountains have extra jets - burladores (or "jokers") that wet unwary visitors.

First thought was -- I want one.

Second thought was -- How did they do that before electrity?

Third thought was -- can this technology be adapted today?

So I went looking for the burladores.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

California Nursery Company, 1888

Pacific Rural Press, April 14, 1888

The Nursery Business.

The business of tree propagation, as might be inferred from the fact that orchards and vineyards are multiplying with such rapidity, is one of the most important lines of our horticultural industry. It has had its ups and downs, as have most productive efforts in this State, and, in fact, anywhere. The oscillations are, however, more sudden and marked in California than elsewhere, because horticultural fevers and fashions here surge higher and fall lower than in older countries. When the tree-plant-ing fever runs high, nurserymen multiply; you can hardly fire off a gun anywhere without hitting one. When the fruit prices have been low for a time you might hunt all day for one— unless you should hunt in the advertising columns of the Rural Press, and there you will always find the most enterprising of them. Growing nursery stock is very much like growing hops, except that surplus fruit trees are of no earthly account—you can't even make homemade beer out of them. As with nursery stock, however, as with hops, those who operate the business intelligently and enterprisingly and stay with it through thick and thin become well-to-do and are generally well esteemed in the community— except now and then when an order for winter apple trees is filled with cherry plums. Such incidents sometimes lead orchard-planters to think nurserymen are not honest.