Late Nineteenth Century Saw Renewed Interest in Perennial Borders

In the seacoast city Portsmouth, New Hampshire there are several historic gardens in the downtown area. With its long tradition as an important early city in America you can see Colonial, Georgian, and Victorian styles of architecture and landscape.

In 1912 the National Society of the Colonial Dames acquired the Moffatt-Ladd House, with its garden, which in its present form dates to the 1840s.

Alexander Hamilton Ladd (1815-1900) kept a journal of what he planted in the garden. He included borders of perennials, which had become a popular form of gardening, replacing the use of annuals. Both English writer William Robinson and landscape gardener Gertrude Jekyll had encouraged perennial borders in  the 1870s.

In Rochester, New York nurseryman George Ellwanger (1816-1906) wrote a book called The Garden’s Story (1889) in which he argued against both the stiff formal garden and carpet, or ribbon, beds. He noted that “the objectionable forms of gardening are being superseded by a more natural style–a revival of the old-fashioned hardy flower borders, masses of stately perennials.”

Today you can see that style in the garden at the the Moffatt-Ladd House in Portsmouth planted with borders of stately persennials instead of the dreaded carpet beds and ribbon beds of annuals. [below]

The perennial border at the Moffat-Ladd, as it looks today.

The perennial bordesr at the Moffatt-Ladd, as it looks today.

Share

Speak Your Mind

*