Garden Pride

Example of 1910 Painted Glass Slide
When I researched the story of my grandmother's life as an early photographer, I had access to some of the photography association's annual meeting programs. It surprised me to see that someone was showing "slides" in 1910 of gardens in the Northwest which was what Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, were known as then. Apparently the slides were composed of black and white shots that were then colored by hand and displayed using a kerosene projecting lamp. It was the custom during that time for people to hire professional photographers to photograph their gardens and it must have been a lucrative business for a young female photographer.

People devoted long hours to their gardens that were not just vegetable gardens. Perhaps it was a status mark to have plants that were simply there for beauty and landscape rather than practicality of feeding a family. For whatever reason, flower gardens flourished and having a photograph of one's garden hanging in the parlor was considered quite the appropriate thing to do.

Condon City Park (photo credit: Erin Seale)
This era also began the idea of public spaces, public gardens. Arboretum provided public visiting but these were often managed by universities or large estates where the individual set resources aside for maintenance of the gardens. That cities or states would begin to offer spaces just for loveliness was truly a new idea at the turn of the last century. I'm reminded of that when I walk along Bend's River Walk or take my lunch in Condon at their fine park. As a public, we decided gardens and parks were worthy things and I'm so grateful! What a change of attitude can come from spending a few minutes in a quiet, flower-scented place.

How have you appreciated a public space or garden?