Category Archives: Garden Musings

Rose Garden Mania: A New York City Garden Club Joins the Craze in 1917

Rose gardens were definitely a thing in the early 20th century. The so-called Queen of Flowers—redolent of summer pleasures—filled gardens large and small with a heady mix of colors, scents, shapes, and sizes that ranged from subtle to dramatic. The … Continue reading

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A Carpet of Velvety Green: Lawns on 19th-Century Country Estates

A beautiful undulating carpet of fresh green grass was an essential luxury on 19th-century country estates. Today, that idea may seem fairly obvious, but why? And how did the landed gentry plant and maintain their expansive (and expensive) lawns in … Continue reading

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Reimagined: A 19th-Century American Apple Orchard

Americans loved apple orchards in the 19th century (and we still do!). Apple blossoms in the spring, apple picking in the fall, cider making, and apples served every which way have all helped to make the American apple orchard a … Continue reading

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Alice Vaughan-Williams Martineau: An Englishwoman’s Crusade to Cultivate American Gardeners

On September 24, 1913, the British writer and garden designer Alice Martineau (ca. 1865–1956) set sail from Southampton for New York on the White Star Line’s legendary RMS Olympic, the enormous luxury ocean liner that was the sister ship of … Continue reading

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A Botanical Paradise: Transactions of the Horticultural Society of London

One summer day in 2009, while rummaging through some uncatalogued volumes in Bartow-Pell’s collection of antiquarian gardening books, we unearthed something unexpected—seven large editions of the lavishly illustrated publication Transactions of the Horticultural Society of London. The title is businesslike, … Continue reading

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The International Garden Club Goes International: The Barra School Children’s Garden Competition, 1936–1952

The Isle of Barra, a remote windswept island in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides, is a world away from Bartow-Pell and New York City, but there is a fine story to be told about these two places and their forgotten connection. In … Continue reading

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Winter gardens: Bringing the Outdoors In!

“The winters were longer when I was a girl” … well, probably not, but winters often seem long. Even during a relatively mild one, the dark, and especially the lack of green, is disheartening. Many of the world’s holiday traditions … Continue reading

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Art in the Garden: The Peacocks of Gaston Lachaise

If you have not already done so, I encourage you to make a point of spending some time with the beautiful peacocks that grace the terrace above our formal garden. The statues, cast in bronze with gilding, are the work … Continue reading

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New!! “Garden Gleanings” joins our blog!

Hello and welcome to BPMM’s “Garden Gleanings” blog! With fall in the air, what better time to launch a new section of our “Mansion Musings” blog?  “Garden Gleanings” will look at the history of the Bartow-Pell Mansion through a different lens: … Continue reading

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Tools from the Past: A Conversation with the Collector

What does the man who has amassed a collection of over 10,000 antique gardening tools spanning several centuries and originating from more than a few continents and countries NOT have? What does he covet? A terra cotta watering pot circa … Continue reading

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