Domestic Landscapes and the Residential Core

The "North Lawn" is the designation we are using for the lawn at the center of the residential core of the property.  Bordered by the Twin Cottages to the east, the service road and vineyards to the north, The White Cottage on the west, and the Log House and Garage / Chauffeur's Quarters to the south, it served as the connecting point between the residential structures.  Like much of the landscape at Craftsman Farms, it appears to have undergone various stages of development and conception, beginning primarily as an open meadow and–sometime towards the end of Stickley's tenure at the Farms–was fully planted with rows of trees and shrubs.   While central to the residential core of the property, this area–perhaps because of its proximity to the vineyards–also was a working space, and featured temporary sheds, chicken coops, and garages.  Most significantly, on the northern border of this space, we have been able to identify one of the "farmer's cottages" written about at the time the property was sold, but that have previously gone unnoticed.    

Probably laid out and planted sometime in 1913, the Sunken Garden, like many features of the Craftsman Farms landscape, evolved over time.  The earliest photograph of the space, published in the November 1912 issue of The Craftsman, demonstrate that while the transition to the space and its boundaries had been completed, there was no "garden" to speak of, no walkways, no bench, and none of the planted beds that helped soften its edges.   By the following October, photographs published in The Craftsman show a substantially different space, with pathways, defining hedges, stone piers, planted beds, and a curious arrangement of cut, young tree trunks that lined the path at the top of the stone stairs leading up to the Log House.   The interactives below use photographs published in the October 1913 issue of The Craftsman to discuss the space in relation to the log house and show its evolution.  

One overlooked detail of the photograph that Stickley published in the October 1913 issue of The Craftsman comes not from the image itself, but from the caption below it.  The scene is described as "A front view of the Craftsman Farms Club House, with the entrance to the Sunken Garden in the foreground and a glimpse of the Rose Garden beyond" (emphasis added).  While we often conflate these two things, in part because roses were planted in the Sunken Garden, the caption makes clear that Stickley was referring to two different things here.  It is tempting to think maybe he is referring to the plants in front of the porch as the Rose Garden, but this too is problematic.  First, we have more than just a glimpse of this area.  Secondly, he describes them as "the planting close about the stone foundation," and not as roses.   So where then was the Rose Garden?  What is beyond the Sunken Garden that we can catch a glimpse of in the published photograph?

The line of tree trunks visible at the top of the stairs along the path that leads into the Log House is the best candidate for that description, for while it is fully visible in the photograph below, in the version published for The Craftsman it is barely visible as it trails off the right-hand side.  This suggests that Stickley planted climbing roses and trained them to grow up these trunks.  As The Reverend H. Honywood D'Ombrain  wrote in Roses for Amateurs: A Practical Guide to the Selection and Cultivation of the Best Roses for Exhibition or Garden Decoration: 

In former days there were all sorts of fanciful designs for training Roses over trellises, arches, etc., but after a time these fell into desuetude, only to be revived some years after. Pillars or poles are now largely used, and some of the varieties of what are called climbing” Roses (for there is really no such thing as a climbing Rose--that is, one which lays hold of anything to support it, as a Clematis) will do for this purpose; but there are many which, by their long and vigorous shoots, answer the same purpose when those shoots are nailed or tied in. There are nowadays to be seen weeping Rose-trees, a comparatively recent section, and one with a fair following. Perhaps one of the most effective ways of using Climbing Roses is by training them up the trunks of trees, amongst the branches of which their brilliant flowers show to perfection.

D'Ombrain was an acknowledged expert on roses who had founded the National Rose Society in England and served as the Secretary.  We may not ever know  whether Stickley followed his advice specifically, but similar advice could be found in journals like The Garden, Gardening Illustrated, and even more general audience publications like Ladies' Realm.  Rather than passing through a stockade of old tree trunks, the paths would have been covered in vines and leaves and–one hopes–resplendant rose blossoms as the plants matured.  

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