Archive of American Gardens on Flickr



The Smithsonian Institution's Archive of American Gardens has created their very own Flickr account and we're all invited to visit, tag and comment on these images of gardens from the 1920s and '30s – deemed the "golden era" for American gardens.  (Really?  I'm kinda hoping the best American gardens are yet to come.)

The small Flickr selection, including  this photo taken in Virginia in 1930, is just a teaser, though – there are 80,000 more where they came from. 

I'm just happy to see that gardens are officially deemed worthy of preserving – at least in photos – as part of American history.


  1. I wonder if 100 years from now, people will look back to the 2010s and 2020s as a “golden era” for American gardens. I’m thinking that all the people who planted vegetables for the first time this year are going to find tomatoes are just a gateway drug to the amazing universe of gardening and we’re in for a big gardening boom. I like to imagine so, anyway!

  2. Cool Cool, I can’t wait to check it out! I love looking at photos of gardens from long ago. I have to admit though, we in America have nothing on those French country gardens.

  3. I’m also skeptical of the 20’s and 30’s as the golden era. The photo up top barely qualifies as a garden in my opinionated 21st century opinion. But it’s a cool flickr stream and it looks like the photos are not copyrighted.

  4. Think I can get the rest of the family to forgo the sumnmer beach vacation for garden touring? It was definately a golden age of gardening. Hopefulyy not the only golden age, but such an influence on all landscapes and gardens. The gardens of the 20’s and 30’s had reached their maturity by the time I came along. We lived in a house built in the teens that my parents bought after WWII (thank you mom and dad for being frugal and not buying a ranch burger in a subdivision with no gardens). Most of the neighbors were elderly and many of them were gardeners and had much loved and well maintained gardens that they had started in the 20’s. And there were still a lot of Victory Gardens, with the fruit trees at the optimum age. They are all gone now, people wanting their own garden style, or taken up by additions and 2 car garages. I passed my old home the other day and cannot believe that in the 50′ x 150′ lot we had 2 peach trees, 2 apple trees, 1 plum, 1 cherry, and one apricot tree. And a veggie garden and flower beds. Of course we only had a very tiny detatched garage (first rule of car buying was would it fit in the garage?). Now there is a large deck and a huge garage. Only thing left of the landscape is the 2 oaks my dad transplanted to the front yard when the silver maple street trees had to be removed. Thanks for the memories.

  5. I’m always surprised to see “modern” plants in photos or illustrations of the days gone by. I don’t think we’ve changed all that much. I thought rare orchids on the windowsill was a newer thing until I saw them in an old magazine illustration (before photography) or a postcard from the 50’s showing large agaves ringing a cement sculpture at a public garden in Pennsylvania – so the old “out-of-zone” ideas have been around a while.

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