Women in the garden (2) - Vintage photographs

"I love all things most gardeners abhor! - moss in lawns, lichen on trees, more greenery than 'colour' (always said as though green isn't a colour!), bare branches in winter..."
Edna Walling

As much as I adore the first cold snaps of winter that turn our footsteps deliciously crunchy, I do miss the outdoor 'hands on' tasks that go into hibernation until spring! I know now that being stuck indoors does me no good, I feel much better when putting myself to use outdoors, or at least taking a minute to really ENJOY these seasonal changes! Branches of fallen evergreens find themselves on every surface of my home before you can say "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas" as I can't bear things to look grey or dull!

In respect to this, I thought it was about time I shared a few more from my 'In the Garden' vintage collection. The above photograph is actually a large 10x8 print that I purchased from my beloved Bridport market - I thought she was the most perfectly dressed woodland rambler I'd ever seen! It is enough to re-affirm my love of large format, it is the best.

I am currently reading (amongst other things, I can't lie - I am a serial book-cheat!) "The Virago Book of Women Gardeners" which is a fantastic compendium of female gardening writing, containing anything from humorous anecdotes to inspirational battles against health, war, and prejudice. 

 "...perhaps the chiefest attraction of a garden is that occupation can always be found there. No idle people are happy, but with mind and fingers busy cares are soonest forgotten
Alica Amherst, 1902 

As the author Deborah Kellaway states: "Of course, you can't make an anthology of women gardeners unless they sometimes lay down the trowel and pick up the pen..." which could give the impression that women's advice can be seen as being from "fireside gardeners" - those who live through the pages of books rather than the dirt and the changing weather. But with iron-strong characters such as the glorious Vita Sackville-West, Gertrude Jekyll and Beatrix Potter all giving advice, you know you're in safe hands!

Staying with the great Gertrude Jekyll, here is a fantastic anecdote which sums up my current philosophy:

"For planting ground is painting a landscape with living things and I hold that good gardening takes rank within the bounds of the fine arts, so I hold that to plant well needs an artist of no mean capacity". (Wood and Garden)

It's common for people to turn to horticulture as a second career, many from an arts/literature educational background. To me, it's all one and the same. I think those of us who harbour a traditional 'romantic' side can easily see the transition between admiring nature in novels or canvas, and proceeding to involve yourself into such inspiring landscapes. Anyone object to this? Well, I'd recommend you step outside, and take a proper look!

If you are missing the daily pottering at the moment, I highly recommend you curl up in front of the fire with this book. There's plenty to inspire, I can't wait to get planning my 2013 efforts, it's looking busy! I hope you've enjoyed this selection of photographs too, I've been squirrelling them away for a while, I knew I'd need a boost this time of year.

Wishing you a good week, thanks for reading!



Laura said...

Oh how wonderful it was to read this. I am about to move & leave my precious garden behind so I take comfort in seeing the fruits of other labours & some lovely pics to boot!

Katie Bedlow said...

I can imagine that the last stroll around the garden will be a difficult one, but at least you know you'll always be a part of it, you've put that effort it! As these great ladies describe, thats a passion that truly lasts!

I would be very distressed leaving mine behind now!

I'm glad you like the pictures, it takes me a while to collect them, but I find that they all appear at once! I'm always on the hunt for more!

David Ford said...

some lovely old photos just my cup of tea

Linda Claxson said...

Lovely pictures. I especially like the vintage photos that give us a glimpse of gardening techniques back then - love that long cloche :)

p.s i found you from UK Veg Gardeners.


Katie Bedlow said...

Hello Linda and David! Thanks for visiting! I just thought I'd mention my blog on UK Veg because I love sharing these old garden photographs, they have so much character - and some have great ideas too!