Banquet Piece, Pieter Claez

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Plants of old Mission San Jose

From Library of Congress

What plants were present when E.L. Beard first gardened at Mission San José?

From David Streatfield's article "'Paradise' on the Frontier", he says "Knowledge of the plants that Spanish missionaries and the Mexican civilians introduced into California is still scanty. Little archaeological exploration has been carried out on any of the sites and the principal source of information is, therefore, documentary. Unfortunately, little documentation remains in the Mission records and heavy reliance has to be placed on what visitors such as Captain George Vancouver, F. W. Beechey, Sir George Simpson, and Edwin Bryant recorded in their diaries.

From these sources, it is evident that they grew date palms, olives, pepper trees, the native willow and wild cherry, hollyhocks, oleanders, carnations, nasturtiums, fouro'clocks, sweet peas, portulaca, French marigolds, calla and madonna lillies, Matilja poppies, Nicotiana glauca, jonquils, wallflowers, violets, Arundo donax, date, Mexican fan palms and the native palm, Washingtonia filifera."
In "Ranch and Mission Days in Alta California" in the Century Illustrated Monthly, December 1890,  Guadalupe Vallejo writes about fruits and flowers. She names four pears 'Presidenta', 'Bergamota', 'Pana', 'Lechera':

  • David Streatfield "'Paradise' on the Frontier: Victorian Gardens on the San Francisco Peninsula, David C. Streatfield, Garden History, Vol. 12, No. 1 (Spring, 1984), pp. 58-80, Published by: The Garden History Society (available from JSTOR).
  • The Ellsworth family
  • "The Mission Pear: An Enduring Orchard Descendant at the Marin Art & Garden Center in San Rafael" 

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