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What would a SMALL residential Victorian/Edwardian garden have looked like?

(15 Posts)
Fillyjonk Fri 29-May-09 09:52:10

I don't mean those huge RHS jobs. I mean, the smallish Victorian / Edwardian terrace houses with, tbh, tiny gardens.

Am curious. Anyone got any links to pictures, books, etc? For some reason google is just sending me to estate agents wink

Fillyjonk Fri 29-May-09 10:16:30

any tv programs (no tv)? Anything?

BecauseImWorthIt Fri 29-May-09 10:18:44

Do you mean when they were first built? I'd love to know this too! Our house dates from 1908, and has a very small backgarden and an even tinier front garden - I'd love to know too!

RustyBear Fri 29-May-09 10:35:38

From Liza Picard's 'Victorian London' (fascinating book)

"Most small gardens then ...are laid out with a piece of grass, called a lawn, in the middle, surrounded by flower beds. More formal layouts were giving way to child-friendly grass.... A machine for mowing lawns had been invented as long ago as 1830"

"If you wanted to cut down on lawn maintenance, you might favour a rockery... a gardening magazine aimed at the middle classes advised planting a rockery with cannas and Pampas grass"

Samuel Hereman of Pall Mall sold "Hot Houses for the Million" starting at £24 "for suburban villas and cottage gardens"

Popular trees included privet, lilac.laurustinus & syringa (philadelphus)

A cottager's garden cultivated by 'a mechanic or artisan' would have roses, honeysuckle, sweet briars and summer jasmine, perennials such as monkshood and some irises, phlox, hollyhocks, polyanthus & other annuals.
"The great consideration is to have such as will thrive in a smoky atmosphere" (Think that quote is from 'The Cottage Gardener' a magazine)

References include Samuel Beeton'sBook of Garden Management, 1872, JC Loudon's The suburban Horticulturalist, 1842 and Brent Elliott, Victorian Gardens, 1986.

GrapefruitMoon Fri 29-May-09 18:39:22

There was a tv programme called something like "The 1900 House" made for the millenium which recreated what life would have been like in 1900 and they got a family to live there for a few months, dress in period clothes, cook with a range, have no bath, etc! I think the book accompanying the series had a bit about the garden in it - will dig it out later if you like?

Fillyjonk Fri 29-May-09 20:11:45

thank you very much! how fascinating.

lol at plants that thrive in a smoky atmosphere hmm. Will look up refs on amazon, is there much more of interest in books?

GM, would love to know more if you have time to look in book...

RustyBear Fri 29-May-09 22:29:47

Well, not really relevant, but there's a nice bit quoting Henry Mayhew (do you know his mid 19th century study of 'London Labour & the London Poor'?)

Apparently people who couldn't afford to buy plants, trees or vegetables from the costermonger used to barter old clothes for them. Mayhew quotes a costermonger who said 'he liked it best where there are detached villas and best of all where there are kept way by which we know the kept mistresses is they never sell cast off clothing as some ladies do, for new potatoes or early peas"

Fillyjonk Sat 30-May-09 14:44:49

lol at that one! But very interesting!

I am planning on starting OU MA course in history (I desperately need another useless degree wink but it does look fascinating) and am trying to work out if I can dissertate on gardens or allotments somehow. I do find the british home=castle equation quite interesting as regards gardens.

Kathyis6incheshigh Fri 05-Jun-09 12:44:57

This Geoff Hamilton book recreated a 'gentleman's garden' and 'artisan's garden' which could be in towns although he calls it a cottage gardens.

There was a tv series a few years ago - book here - where they recreated a series of small gardens at Harlow Carr. We visited them last year but there don't seem to be any pics online.

tbh though I imagine the gardens owned by anyone other than the middle or upper classes would have just been rows of vegetables with the flowers just round the edges.

TBCoalman Fri 05-Jun-09 12:59:01

Gay Search did a TV show about 15 years ago where she redid a terraced street of Victorian gardens.

This book might be worth a look.

PrimulaVeris Fri 05-Jun-09 13:04:22

Oooh this is interesting. I've got (an oldish) book 'The English Terraced House' by Stefan Muthesius - just 4 pages on gardens. Basically he says:
- we don't know much about terraced house gardens - often there was not a garden at all (just a yard) and lots of regional variations; very few houses in North tended to have gardens; in east Anglia and Nottingham even small terraces had large gardens; Bournville (Birmingham) had large gardens for its workers to grow veg and this was seen as innovation there.
- we dont know that much about what was in gardens, except mainly functional (veg, some grass). Artisan gardens -veg; posher terraces - back was grass/veg/for servants not for the family and rather neglected. Later on (late 19th cent?) front gardens were for formal flower beds.

V interesting subject I think

GrapefruitMoon Mon 08-Jun-09 11:59:07

Finally dug out the 1900 book!

According to this, suburban families tended to imitate the formal effects of grander gardens, rather than making informal cottage gardens. Some still had a vegetable patch though most middle class families no longer needed to grow their own food.

For the house in question, they laid out a lawn with a diamond-shaped flowerbed in the centre in the area nearest the house. The flowerbed had a rose in the centre and bedding plants and another border of scented plants such as sweetpeas was planted along the fence. (Sounds pretty boring to me and the photos reflect this too!) They also planted a vegetable patch at the bottom of the garden.

BlueChampagne Mon 08-Jun-09 13:18:50

Fillyjonk - look for the character of Wemmick inGreat Expectations on the theme of the Englishman's home being his castle

Might be useful in your dissertation.

MaryMotherOfCheeses Mon 08-Jun-09 21:59:09

Filly, I think you're in Wales aren't you? The garden conservator at the Museum of Welsh Life will have probably done stuff on domestic gardens of the period, I think. Might be worth giving them a call if you want to get useful academic references?

EachPeachPearMum Tue 23-Jun-09 19:01:08

The Gay Search book is great- I have had it from our library a few times. (Fabulous name too- not sure I'd want to google it wink)

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