Royal Street Garden in the Vieux Carre’, New Orleans, LA

IMG_0387 Picture: Courtesy Carlisle Hashim The Tour, "Secret Gardens of the Vieux Carre'" in the French Quarter of New Orleans included a courtyard on Royal Street, a "well-detailed double residence with attached three-story kitchens."  It was built around 1833 for Paul LaCroix, a classic Creole-style building with a central passageway, arched ground floor openings, narrow wrought iron balconies and curved dormers.  Story has it that two brothers who had inherited the building were feuding and decided to split the building so they erected a wall.  The mother managed to scale both sides.
Picture Courtesy Carlisle Hashim
Picture Courtesy Carlisle Hashim
  "Secret Gardens of the Vieux Carre',  is hosted by the Patio Planters of the Vieux Carre', a volunteer organization dedicated to the preservation and beautification of the French Quarter.  Formed by French Quarter residents as a garden club focused on sharing new plants, Patio Planters brought tropical and semi-tropical exotics to courtyards in the 1950's.  Bromeliads and orchids grew with more traditional banana trees, oleander, althea and ginger.  Fig and other vines were espaliered on brick and masonry walls which replaced the last of the horizontal board fences from 1880.  Since 1946, Patio Planters has sponsored Caroling in Jackson Square in December.  All proceeds from the tour fund the Caroling event. www.patioplanters.org IMG_0384   Picture Courtesy: Carlisle Hashim

Rosedown Plantation, St. Francisville, South Louisiana

Rosedown Plantation, Image Courtesy of Louisiana State Parks/DCRT
Rosedown Plantation, Image Courtesy of Louisiana State Parks/DCRT

 

 

Rosedown Plantation, Image Courtesy of Louisiana State Parks/DCRT
Rosedown Plantation, Image Courtesy of Louisiana State Parks/DCRT

ROSEDOWN PLANTATION STATE HISTORIC SITE

Rosedown Plantation is located in the West Feliciana Parish community of St. Francisville along one of the most historic corridors in South Louisiana. Daniel and Martha Turnbull began construction on the main house at Rosedown in 1834, completing it by May the following year. The home was furnished with the finest pieces available, most imported from the North and from Europe. The gardens were the province of Martha Turnbull throughout her life. The Turnbulls’ honeymoon in Europe included great formal gardens of France and Italy, an influence seen in Martha's activities at Rosedown. The gardens grew out from the house over a span of many decades, to cover approximately 28 acres. In the 19th century, Rosedown was one of the few privately maintained formal gardens in the United States. A restoration of the formal gardens in the late 1950s was done by Catherine Fondren Underwood and Ralph Ellis Gunn, using Martha Turnbull’s extensive garden diaries. When possible, the same species and varieties were replanted. When plants in Martha’s inventory were discovered to be no longer available, the staff of gardeners would propagate them from plant stock surviving in the gardens. Through this process, the gardens, as well as the house, were returned to their original state.

 

A Spring, Metasequoia and Under a Maple Tree, To Drink a Garden

56 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature of water from a fresh spring in Baltimore County, Md. Fresh water from a limestone base that we drank today. Can you imagine having fresh water scooped with a ladle by the spring for us to drink. To drink a garden, to see a garden, to smell a garden, to drink a garden from a spring within two to three hundred feet of a major intersection with water runoff that plummets ten feet below. Perhaps it is a testament to those metasequoia and dawn redwood trees that grow twenty-five feet higher than the surface of the spring. Their feet stick up like thumbs. The deer are drawn to their bark and then follow their path through the pipe under the road. And while contemplating the stand of 100 trees in a micro-clime that becomes awash with sand, ferns are discussed. Hundreds of ferns to plant as a backdrop to the bluestone bench far to the left, a path to be made of wood and stone, a destination there. While sitting on Greenspring stone and steps, the three of us are shaded by maple trees. Looking up to the filtered sun, the underside of the maple leaves are beautiful. Why had I never thought the leaves could be looked at from the underside and be so lovely. They were.

University of Maryland Wye House Archeology Exhibition Opens at Academy Art Museum, Easton, MD

Orangery at Wye House, Easton, MD, 1963, Photograph by Historic American Buildings Survey    University of Maryland Wye House Archeology Exhibition Opens at Academy Art Museum Easton, MD, 1963, Photograph by Historic American Buildings Survey. (Courtesy of the Wye House Collection) The historic finds from eight years of excavations at Wye House -- one of the most important and well documented plantations in Maryland -- will be on display for the first time in a major interpretive exhibition.  Joint Heritage at Wye House, co-curated by the Academy Art Museum in Easton, MD, and the University of Maryland, opens at the Museum on August 24, 2013 and continues through October 15.     Drawing on archaeological evidence from the slave quarters and from the historic Green House (later called the Orangery) at Wye House,  the exhibition contains a rare display of archival materials, household objects, books, recipe collections, maps, and artwork related to the slaves, workers and family  who lived and worked at Wye House for roughly 200 years. Organized by Anke Van Wagenberg, Museum Curator, and visiting curators Mark P. Leone, Elizabeth F. Pruitt, Benjamin A. Skolnik, and Amanda Tang from the Department of Anthropology, University of Maryland College Park, Joint Heritage at Wye House explores the co-existing African and European cultures and their creations at the plantation in the 18th and 19th centuries.  
Broken plate artifact. (Courtesy of the Wye House Collection)
Broken plate artifact. (Courtesy of the Wye House Collection)
The archaeology of Wye House spans eight years of excavations on slave quarters, slave industries, and buildings associated with the shipping of agricultural goods at the thriving plantation. The Lloyd family, founders and owners of Wye House, owned hundreds of slaves. A young Frederick Douglass (1818 – 1895) lived and worked at Wye House, and later reported he first learned there what it meant to be a slave. The exhibition concentrates on the culture made by Africans and African Americans on the property, including the combined work of the Lloyds and their enslaved Africans.   One section of the exhibition includes the history of Wye House, its structures, and people, including books on architecture. A second section focuses on excavation methods, materials excavated and interpretations of the objects, while a third interprets the Green House (later called the Orangery) and its archaeological data and meaning, derived from pollen grains, food remains, and thousands of broken dishes. The Green House interpretation explores farming, domesticating new plants, and a native pharmacopeia. The section of the exhibit on the population of Wye House introduces the lives of the Lloyd family, enslaved Africans, and the free people who worked with them after the Emancipation Proclamation, and includes a searchable database drawn from previously unavailable lists of slaves, including hundreds of full names.  The ability to fully identify the historical individuals who lived and worked the plantation is a rare and remarkable feature of the exhibition.   In a related vein, historical family cookbooks will trace the introduction of local ingredients and the influence of African-American cooks in the emergence of southern cuisine.   On September 26, 2013 at 6 p.m., the Academy Art Museum in Easton, MD, will present a lecture in its Kittredge-Wilson Speaker Series entitled, “The Archaeology of Time Telling at Wye House for Black and White Production: Floral Clocks, Time and the Greenhouse,” by Professor Mark P. Leone and Elizabeth F. Pruitt, Department of Anthropology, University of Maryland, College Park.  Pollen grains found in the rooms of the greenhouse at Wye show an array of over 100 plants used for food, medicine, and household chores. This lecture sees the greenhouse not as a decoration, not as an isolated building, but as the pivot around which the woods, bogs, fields, and gardens at Wye were made to predict time, like a clock. In addition to food and medicine, the array of flowers and leafy plants in the greenhouse and in the surrounding formal garden could have been used to tell the time of day similar to the manner of a floral clock. The whole purpose of a floral clock at Wye House would be to have an independent measure of time beyond the factory bell that sent slaves to the field and the overseers’ commands that kept people there on the owner’s clock.   The exhibition is made possible by the generous support of Richard and Beverly Tilghman, the University of Maryland, College Park and the Frederick Douglass Honor Society. Additional support was provided by The Historical Society of Talbot County and The Maryland Historical Society, who generously loaned materials, as well as Patrick Rogan for exhibition design. The exhibition is made possible by funding from the Maryland Humanities Council, Maryland State Arts Council, and Talbot County Arts Council. The Museum is located at 106 South St., Easton, MD, 21601. For further information, call 410-822-ARTS (2787) or visit www.academyartmuseum.org.      

Wickliffe, the Castle at Maryvale and Its Gardens by Carlisle Hashim

Maryvale Castle, credit Carlisle Hashim
Maryvale Castle, credit Carlisle Hashim
Wickliffe Castle, a home designed by Baltimore architect Wilson L. Smith, was built for Dr. and Mrs. Walter Wickes in 1912.  The 182 acre estate was originally owned by Charles Carroll, a Marylander and only Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence. It replicates a late medieval castle similar in design to Warwick Castle in England.  Tudor in style, its paneling, lead paned windows, porte cochere, turrets and tower cost $250,000 upon completion.  Located north of Baltimore City, the Castle is now Maryvale's Castle, a building like no other in a large radius of private schools.  Maryvale Preparatory School is a private Catholic girl school for grades 6-12.  
Picture credit: Maryvale Preparatory School Leaded glass doors lead to a raised terrace overlooking pristine woods.  To the side of the terrace is the boxwood garden, a garden that appears to be original to the house. Other designs by Wilson L. Smith do not shed light on the design of Wickcliffe's boxwood garden.  Had the Wickes wanted to replicate their garden to be of late Medieval bordering early Renaissance period, certainly boxwood would have been used.  One descends from the stone terrace at Maryvale to the sunken boxwood garden.  At the far corners are small stone turrets, five, six steps high.  Late pictures show a tilted umbrella with garden furniture, to afford other terraced views.   The boxwood room is probably close to 100 years old and is in good condition.  There is a maize.  One thinks of Hampton Courts, England, home of Henry VIII.  In "A Garden Walk," a book written by Adelma Grenier Simmons, she notes that the smell of box can be annoying or not.  But, she believes that "Queen Anne, who at Hampton Court, had all the magnificent boxwood cut because she didn't like the smell ... wantonly destroyed years of growth." IMG_0130 Was there an herbal garden surrounded by knots of box when the Wickes laid out their beds?  Pollen tests would be necessary to determine what herbs were grown before the boxwood became so big that they were the only specimen.  The Maryvale students are in good company.   Monks, Shakespeare, and European royalty if dreamt of boxwood were "assured ... of long life, prosperity and a happy marriage," as quoted by Mrs. Adelma Grenier Simmons of Caprilands Herb Farm in Coventry, Connecticut.  

James Turrell’s Light at the Guggenheim Museum, New York

by Carlisle Hashim The Guggenheim Museum on 89th and Fifth in New York City is round.  Designed round, a piece of architecture where the viewer rarely encounters intersecting lines.  James Turrell, the 20th Century Light and Space artist, was commissioned by the Frank Lloyd Wright designed Guggenheim Museum to fill the top five tiers of the Guggenheim’s Rotunda with a work of art.  He did.  The first floor is lit with people, their own installation with cell phones clicking to the change of light that Turrell has created in the elliptical shaped cavities that are built into the rotunda space.   Crowds wait their turn to stare into the light.  The light changes color, white, pink, blue, very slowly.  Not neon light of the past, but LED light, soft, soothing. The light is hard to define in color.  Mr. Turrell  believes that white is the culmination of all colors.  At the top of the rotunda through the oculus,  the clouds become a part of his work.   People participate with this work of art. They choose a position, a posture to view. There is a horizontal on the floor view for many or a seated, head tilted back posture for others.  The third option is to begin walking up the ramp for an elevated view above.  What is remarkable is that everyone is in the light.  Its color changes within the whole work and its softness does not allow a division of any sort.   A gentleman upon leaving the Guggenheim Museum Store commented that he didn’t think he was going to buy a poster because a photo would not do the installation justice.  Videos are not adequate either.  One must participate with the light. Go to the Guggenheim. The power of Mr. Turrell’s show is calming and certainly contemplative.   Old Masters such as Carravaggio have been said to influence James Turrell who is a product of the 1960’s Light and Space Movement from California.  At that time, children on third grade museum field trips where these Masters’ paintings hung, sat on benches staring up at the light.   Turrell’s light installation, Aten Reigns makes the viewer its fourth dimension. It is not complicated to view but hard to interpret.  Does Mr. Turrell want us to interpret our feelings about this light, or does he want us just to feel? Either action or thought brings us into the light. www.guggenheim.org    

River Rock Building in Patapsco River, Maryland with Nature Art InThe Park

Some practitioners call it Rock Balancing. Some call it the ancient art (or Zen) of Stone Stacking, while others call it cairn or dolmen constructing. Often remote & anonymous, these simple stone-on-stone sculptures speak to us like microcosmic written stories (bookmarks). We can read them as locators (breadcrumbs), places of ritual, icons, dancing spirit beings, calendrical circles, lightning rods, forts, falling stars, or other things — from distant times & places, other cultures and languages. And, we can build them ourselves in our own place & time, in our own image. It’s really all part of the same thing.
Buddha'sBuddha’s StonesStones
 Click on the images 
And yet, each iteration expresses something new & unique, too. It’s an object of divine beauty or comedy or ch’i or abstraction that never quite existed before, and may never again. ted_betts_600_7220768314_991dfc769e_z Teddy Betts (1956 – 2010) Master River Rock Builder Photo by Doug Retzler It’s where the modern age meets the stone age — a balancing point, a fragile, pivotal moment in the river of time.  Here in Maryland’s Patapsco valley, we call it River Rock Building — because that’s what Teddy called it.  He was a devoted River Rock Builder, like no other. For more information about Nature in the Park on FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/events/607285245970541/permalink/616157018416697/ For more pictures go to: http://ellicottcity.net/gallery/guardians_of_the_patapsco/ Significance of River Rock Building by Tom Chambers: http://http://rockbuilding.wordpress.com/semiotics This information was provided by Nature Art in the Park.org