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A Nineteenth Century California Landscape Featured Two Urns on the Lawn

I found another amazing photo of a ninteenth century California garden in Maureen Gilmer’s book Redwoods and Roses.  It too shows how nineteenth century California landscapes reflected the English garden style.

I have included the illustration here. Notice the two urns at the entrace from the sidewalk.  By the end of the century the cast iron garden vase, or urn, on the lawn had become a sign of status for the middle class.

Reminds me of the advice from Rochester, NY seedsman James Vick (1818-1882).

Vick  recommended in his seed catalog called Floral Guide of 1873 that on the lawn the owner place two vases, filled usually with annuals: “Of all the adornments of the lawn, nothing is more effective than a well filled and well kept vase. All the ornamental-leaved plants are appropriate for the top or center of the vase, while a few drooping plants should be placed near the edges and allowed to hang or droop at least half way to the ground. For this purpose the verbena or the petunia will answer.

“We often see several small vases scattered over the lawn, but the effect is bad. It is best to have one or two that command attention by their size and beauty.”

So in the nineteenth century the west coast followed the English garden fashion from the east coast, including the number of urns to place on the lawn.

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  1. Here in California a publisher called Thompson & West created histories of all the counties. They would create faithful illustrations of the existing homes of interest. These big books are in every library and are the most faithful sources of how Calif. gardens looked in the 19th century though I suspect they did a little Hollywood magic on the gardens.

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