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History of Early American Landscape Design

Difference between revisions of "Kitchen garden"

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==History==
 
==History==
  
In New England’s Prospect (1634), William  
+
In New England’s Prospect (1634), William Wood described the Massachusetts Bay Colony geography “as it stands to our new-come English planters, and to the old native inhabitants.” Most important to the recent settlers was the suitability of the land for growing food in what was commonly called a kitchen garden. The kitchen garden provided vegetables, herbs, and often fruit for a family’s table. It was an essential part of a household’s subsistence base, particularly given the difficulty of transporting fresh produce long distances in the absence of refrigeration and a developed road system. Unlike agricultural fields, the kitchen garden was smaller in scale, contained a variety of crops, and was generally enclosed and located near the dwelling house.  
Wood described the Massachusetts Bay  
 
Colony geography “as it stands to our new-
 
come English planters, and to the old native  
 
inhabitants.” Most important to the recent  
 
settlers was the suitability of the land for  
 
growing food in what was commonly called a  
 
kitchen garden. The kitchen garden provided  
 
vegetables, herbs, and often fruit for a  
 
family’s table. It was an essential part of a  
 
household’s subsistence base, particularly  
 
given the difficulty of transporting fresh  
 
produce long distances in the absence of  
 
refrigeration and a developed road system.  
 
Unlike agricultural fields, the kitchen garden  
 
was smaller in scale, contained a variety of  
 
crops, and was generally enclosed and  
 
located near the dwelling house.  
 
  
As European settlement expanded, travelers  
+
As European settlement expanded, travelers throughout the colonies recorded well-organized kitchen gardens as a sign of the prosperity of a region. As markets grew and produce became more widely available, the importance of kitchen gardens diminished, at least for households in towns. Mary M. Ambler (1770) commented that in Baltimore “People depend on the Market for their Stuff for there is not more than Seven Gardens in the Whole Town.”1 Living in Philadelphia, Benjamin Franklin noted that there existed such “well-furnished plentiful markets” that he converted his kitchen garden into grass plots and gravel walks with trees and flowering shrubs, rather than for the cultivation of peas and cauliflowers.2 Kitchen gardens were essential, however, for those without access to markets.3 They were not only in domestic but also institutional layouts, such as that mentioned in the description of the Friends Asylum for the Insane, near Frankford, Pa., and seen in the design for the Marine Asylum in Washington, D.C. [Fig. 1]. A kitchen garden primarily provided food and diversion for the asylum residents. In addition, as Thomas S. Kirkbride noted for the Pennsylvania Hospital for the Insane in Philadelphia, the three-and-a-half-acre vegetable garden was to be “large enough to furnish all of that description of supplies that may be required for the institution, and may occasionally be made profitable from sales of the excess.”4  
throughout the colonies recorded well-
 
organized kitchen gardens as a sign of the  
 
prosperity of a region. As markets grew and  
 
produce became more widely available, the  
 
importance of kitchen gardens diminished,  
 
at least for households in towns. Mary M.  
 
Ambler (1770) commented that in Baltimore  
 
“People depend on the Market for their Stuff  
 
for there is not more than Seven Gardens in  
 
the Whole Town.”1 Living in Philadelphia,  
 
Benjamin Franklin noted that there existed  
 
such “well-furnished plentiful markets” that  
 
he converted his kitchen garden into grass  
 
plots and gravel walks with trees and flowering  
 
shrubs, rather than for the cultivation  
 
of peas and cauliflowers.2 Kitchen gardens  
 
were essential, however, for those without  
 
access to markets.3 They were not only in  
 
domestic but also institutional layouts, such  
 
as that mentioned in the description of the  
 
Friends Asylum for the Insane, near Frankford,  
 
Pa., and seen in the design for the  
 
Marine Asylum in Washington, D.C. [Fig. 1]. A  
 
kitchen garden primarily provided food and  
 
diversion for the asylum residents. In addition,  
 
as Thomas S. Kirkbride noted for the  
 
Pennsylvania Hospital for the Insane in  
 
Philadelphia, the three-and-a-half-acre  
 
vegetable garden was to be “large enough to  
 
furnish all of that description of supplies that may be required for the institution, and  
 
may occasionally be made profitable from  
 
sales of the excess.”4  
 
  
Garden treatises described in detail the  
+
Garden treatises described in detail the layout and care of kitchen gardens and were remarkably consistent in their advice. The size of the kitchen garden depended upon the needs of the household, and several treatises mention a preference for regular shapes, such as a square or rectangle. All citations emphasized the need to enclose a kitchen garden with a wall or a fence. These barriers created sheltered environments and also deterred potential intruders. Within the confines of the garden, treatises also suggest laying out beds, squares, or quarters, dividing them by walks, and creating borders along the perimeters. Many texts suggest planting smaller varieties of fruit trees, either espaliered along the wall or fence or planted in borders (see Espalier). These trees not only bore fruit earlier than their less-protected counterparts, but also, as mentioned by Bernard M’Mahon (1806), their shelter created microclimates for the growth of smaller plants beneath them. While treatises often offered a variety of designs for the arrangement of plant material within the kitchen garden from the complex [Fig. 2] to the relatively simple [Fig. 3], American kitchen gardens appear to have been executed in fairly modest form, even at the most elaborate estates [Figs. 4 and 5].  
layout and care of kitchen gardens and were  
 
remarkably consistent in their advice. The  
 
size of the kitchen garden depended upon  
 
the needs of the household, and several  
 
treatises mention a preference for regular  
 
shapes, such as a square or rectangle. All  
 
citations emphasized the need to enclose a  
 
kitchen garden with a wall or a fence. These  
 
barriers created sheltered environments and  
 
also deterred potential intruders. Within the  
 
confines of the garden, treatises also suggest  
 
laying out beds, squares, or quarters,  
 
dividing them by walks, and creating borders  
 
along the perimeters. Many texts suggest  
 
planting smaller varieties of fruit trees,  
 
either espaliered along the wall or fence or  
 
planted in borders (see Espalier). These  
 
trees not only bore fruit earlier than their  
 
less-protected counterparts, but also, as  
 
mentioned by Bernard M’Mahon (1806),  
 
their shelter created microclimates for the  
 
growth of smaller plants beneath them.  
 
While treatises often offered a variety of  
 
designs for the arrangement of plant material  
 
within the kitchen garden from the complex  
 
[Fig. 2] to the relatively simple [Fig. 3],  
 
American kitchen gardens appear to have  
 
been executed in fairly modest form, even at  
 
the most elaborate estates [Figs. 4 and 5].  
 
  
The placement of a kitchen garden within  
+
The placement of a kitchen garden within the larger landscape of the farm or estate was a point of both practical and aesthetic debate in treatise citations, and, judging from the collected images [Figs. 6 and 7] and texts, a considerable variety of plans were adopted throughout the colonies. Some treatises suggested that the convenience of having the kitchen garden near the house for ease of tending and harvesting was balanced with the desire to remove the less attractive sights and smells of a manured garden, and crops such as cabbages and onions. Others extolled the convenience of placing the kitchen garden near the greenhouse (if one existed), or near the stables and barns for easy conveyance of dung. On a more aesthetic question, treatise writers disagreed about the relationship of the kitchen garden to more ornamental areas of an estate. Authors ranging from John Parkinson (1629) to J. C. Loudon (1826), George William Johnson (1847), and A. J. Downing (1849) in the nineteenth century advocated separating or at least screening the kitchen garden from other areas of the pleasure ground. Ephraim Chambers (1741) noted that kitchen and fruit gardens were for “service” while flower gardens were to be placed conspicuously “for pleasure, and ornament.” Downing’s plan of a suburban villa residence offered one solution of screening the kitchen garden from the lawn by “thick groups of evergreen and deciduous trees.”5 In garden periodicals and treatises of the 1840s, the kitchen garden saw a resurgence as an element of newly marketed plans for suburban domestic landscapes.
the larger landscape of the farm or estate  
 
was a point of both practical and aesthetic  
 
debate in treatise citations, and, judging  
 
from the collected images [Figs. 6 and 7] and  
 
texts, a considerable variety of plans were  
 
adopted throughout the colonies. Some  
 
treatises suggested that the convenience of  
 
having the kitchen garden near the house  
 
for ease of tending and harvesting was balanced  
 
with the desire to remove the less  
 
attractive sights and smells of a manured  
 
garden, and crops such as cabbages and  
 
onions. Others extolled the convenience of  
 
placing the kitchen garden near the greenhouse  
 
(if one existed), or near the stables  
 
and barns for easy conveyance of dung. On a  
 
more aesthetic question, treatise writers  
 
  
disagreed about the relationship of the
 
kitchen garden to more ornamental areas of
 
an estate. Authors ranging from John Parkinson
 
(1629) to J. C. Loudon (1826), George
 
William Johnson (1847), and A. J. Downing
 
(1849) in the nineteenth century advocated
 
separating or at least screening the kitchen
 
garden from other areas of the pleasure
 
ground. Ephraim Chambers (1741) noted
 
  
that kitchen and fruit gardens were for  
+
Other writers and practitioners emphasized the integration of the kitchen garden with other parts of the landscape. This general concept, first described by Stephen Switzer (1718) in Ichnographia rustica, more often was referred to as an “ornamental farm” (see Ferme ornée). Thomas Jefferson advised landowners to “lay off lots for the minor articles of husbandry . . . disposing them into a ferme ornée by interspersing occasionally the attributes of a garden.”6 This aesthetic was exemplified at two of the colonies’ most famous sites, Monticello and Mount Vernon. In each instance, the kitchen garden was visually screened from the views from the house, but was nonetheless incorporated into the overall landscape design. For example, Vaughan’s Mount Vernon plan of 1787 [Fig. 8] depicted the kitchen and flower gardens symmetrically balanced, but the placement of the kitchen on the southern or “lower” side meant that it was visually much less prominent than the northern flower garden and its corresponding elaborate greenhouse. At Monticello, Jefferson’s plans (most of which were never executed) called for interspersing pavilions, temples, a grotto, grove, flower beds, and other “ornamental” features throughout the grounds and linking them with walks and roundabouts. Jefferson (1804), however, admitted that “after all, the kitchen garden is not the place for ornaments of this kind, bowers and treillages suit that better.” The nineteenth-century legacy of this aesthetic of integration may be seen in plans such as that published by Downing in A Treatise on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening (1849) for the ferme ornée [Fig. 9].  
“service” while flower gardens were to be
 
placed conspicuously “for pleasure, and
 
ornament.” Downing’s plan of a suburban
 
villa residence offered one solution of  
 
screening the kitchen garden from the lawn
 
by “thick groups of evergreen and deciduous
 
trees.”5 In garden periodicals and treatises
 
of the 1840s, the kitchen garden saw a resurgence as an element of newly marketed
 
plans for suburban domestic landscapes.  
 
  
 
+
-- ''Elizabeth Kryder-Reid''
Other writers and practitioners emphasized
 
the integration of the kitchen garden
 
with other parts of the landscape. This general
 
concept, first described by Stephen
 
Switzer (1718) in Ichnographia rustica, more
 
often was referred to as an “ornamental
 
farm” (see Ferme ornée). Thomas Jefferson
 
advised landowners to “lay off lots for the
 
minor articles of husbandry . . . disposing
 
them into a ferme ornée by interspersing
 
occasionally the attributes of a garden.”6
 
This aesthetic was exemplified at two of the
 
colonies’ most famous sites, Monticello and
 
Mount Vernon. In each instance, the kitchen
 
garden was visually screened from the views
 
from the house, but was nonetheless incorporated
 
into the overall landscape design.
 
For example, Vaughan’s Mount Vernon plan
 
of 1787 [Fig. 8] depicted the kitchen and flower gardens symmetrically balanced, but
 
the placement of the kitchen on the southern
 
or “lower” side meant that it was visually
 
much less prominent than the northern
 
flower garden and its corresponding elaborate
 
greenhouse. At Monticello, Jefferson’s
 
plans (most of which were never executed)
 
called for interspersing pavilions, temples, a
 
grotto, grove, flower beds, and other “ornamental”
 
features throughout the grounds
 
and linking them with walks and roundabouts.
 
Jefferson (1804), however, admitted
 
that “after all, the kitchen garden is not the
 
place for ornaments of this kind, bowers and
 
treillages suit that better.” The nineteenth-
 
century legacy of this aesthetic of integration
 
may be seen in plans such as that
 
published by Downing in A Treatise on the
 
Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening
 
(1849) for the ferme ornée [Fig. 9].
 
 
 
EK-R
 
  
 
==Texts==
 
==Texts==

Revision as of 19:59, February 1, 2016

History

In New England’s Prospect (1634), William Wood described the Massachusetts Bay Colony geography “as it stands to our new-come English planters, and to the old native inhabitants.” Most important to the recent settlers was the suitability of the land for growing food in what was commonly called a kitchen garden. The kitchen garden provided vegetables, herbs, and often fruit for a family’s table. It was an essential part of a household’s subsistence base, particularly given the difficulty of transporting fresh produce long distances in the absence of refrigeration and a developed road system. Unlike agricultural fields, the kitchen garden was smaller in scale, contained a variety of crops, and was generally enclosed and located near the dwelling house.

As European settlement expanded, travelers throughout the colonies recorded well-organized kitchen gardens as a sign of the prosperity of a region. As markets grew and produce became more widely available, the importance of kitchen gardens diminished, at least for households in towns. Mary M. Ambler (1770) commented that in Baltimore “People depend on the Market for their Stuff for there is not more than Seven Gardens in the Whole Town.”1 Living in Philadelphia, Benjamin Franklin noted that there existed such “well-furnished plentiful markets” that he converted his kitchen garden into grass plots and gravel walks with trees and flowering shrubs, rather than for the cultivation of peas and cauliflowers.2 Kitchen gardens were essential, however, for those without access to markets.3 They were not only in domestic but also institutional layouts, such as that mentioned in the description of the Friends Asylum for the Insane, near Frankford, Pa., and seen in the design for the Marine Asylum in Washington, D.C. [Fig. 1]. A kitchen garden primarily provided food and diversion for the asylum residents. In addition, as Thomas S. Kirkbride noted for the Pennsylvania Hospital for the Insane in Philadelphia, the three-and-a-half-acre vegetable garden was to be “large enough to furnish all of that description of supplies that may be required for the institution, and may occasionally be made profitable from sales of the excess.”4

Garden treatises described in detail the layout and care of kitchen gardens and were remarkably consistent in their advice. The size of the kitchen garden depended upon the needs of the household, and several treatises mention a preference for regular shapes, such as a square or rectangle. All citations emphasized the need to enclose a kitchen garden with a wall or a fence. These barriers created sheltered environments and also deterred potential intruders. Within the confines of the garden, treatises also suggest laying out beds, squares, or quarters, dividing them by walks, and creating borders along the perimeters. Many texts suggest planting smaller varieties of fruit trees, either espaliered along the wall or fence or planted in borders (see Espalier). These trees not only bore fruit earlier than their less-protected counterparts, but also, as mentioned by Bernard M’Mahon (1806), their shelter created microclimates for the growth of smaller plants beneath them. While treatises often offered a variety of designs for the arrangement of plant material within the kitchen garden from the complex [Fig. 2] to the relatively simple [Fig. 3], American kitchen gardens appear to have been executed in fairly modest form, even at the most elaborate estates [Figs. 4 and 5].

The placement of a kitchen garden within the larger landscape of the farm or estate was a point of both practical and aesthetic debate in treatise citations, and, judging from the collected images [Figs. 6 and 7] and texts, a considerable variety of plans were adopted throughout the colonies. Some treatises suggested that the convenience of having the kitchen garden near the house for ease of tending and harvesting was balanced with the desire to remove the less attractive sights and smells of a manured garden, and crops such as cabbages and onions. Others extolled the convenience of placing the kitchen garden near the greenhouse (if one existed), or near the stables and barns for easy conveyance of dung. On a more aesthetic question, treatise writers disagreed about the relationship of the kitchen garden to more ornamental areas of an estate. Authors ranging from John Parkinson (1629) to J. C. Loudon (1826), George William Johnson (1847), and A. J. Downing (1849) in the nineteenth century advocated separating or at least screening the kitchen garden from other areas of the pleasure ground. Ephraim Chambers (1741) noted that kitchen and fruit gardens were for “service” while flower gardens were to be placed conspicuously “for pleasure, and ornament.” Downing’s plan of a suburban villa residence offered one solution of screening the kitchen garden from the lawn by “thick groups of evergreen and deciduous trees.”5 In garden periodicals and treatises of the 1840s, the kitchen garden saw a resurgence as an element of newly marketed plans for suburban domestic landscapes.


Other writers and practitioners emphasized the integration of the kitchen garden with other parts of the landscape. This general concept, first described by Stephen Switzer (1718) in Ichnographia rustica, more often was referred to as an “ornamental farm” (see Ferme ornée). Thomas Jefferson advised landowners to “lay off lots for the minor articles of husbandry . . . disposing them into a ferme ornée by interspersing occasionally the attributes of a garden.”6 This aesthetic was exemplified at two of the colonies’ most famous sites, Monticello and Mount Vernon. In each instance, the kitchen garden was visually screened from the views from the house, but was nonetheless incorporated into the overall landscape design. For example, Vaughan’s Mount Vernon plan of 1787 [Fig. 8] depicted the kitchen and flower gardens symmetrically balanced, but the placement of the kitchen on the southern or “lower” side meant that it was visually much less prominent than the northern flower garden and its corresponding elaborate greenhouse. At Monticello, Jefferson’s plans (most of which were never executed) called for interspersing pavilions, temples, a grotto, grove, flower beds, and other “ornamental” features throughout the grounds and linking them with walks and roundabouts. Jefferson (1804), however, admitted that “after all, the kitchen garden is not the place for ornaments of this kind, bowers and treillages suit that better.” The nineteenth-century legacy of this aesthetic of integration may be seen in plans such as that published by Downing in A Treatise on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening (1849) for the ferme ornée [Fig. 9].

-- Elizabeth Kryder-Reid

Texts

Usage

Citations

Images

Notes

Retrieved from "https://heald.nga.gov/mediawiki/index.php?title=Kitchen_garden&oldid=18014"

History of Early American Landscape Design contributors, "Kitchen garden," History of Early American Landscape Design, , https://heald.nga.gov/mediawiki/index.php?title=Kitchen_garden&oldid=18014 (accessed September 25, 2022).

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