Who Were They?

Lost and forgotten photos from the past

Garden parties are really a phenomena of the past, when girls in long white dresses played croquet on expansive lawns and men smoked cigars. These days we have barbecues and the kids want a bounce house. Well, back when garden parties were among the most enjoyable form of family gatherings, many photographs were taken outside because of lighting. Early cameras in the 20th century did not have the abilities our modern cameras have, and so, exposures indoors were often dark and lacking in detail. The cameras could not “see” enough light to catch the finer details, but outside under natural light, people’s faces and clothing was much more clear and the camera could capture those details for posterity. Following are several photographs of gardens, surely redolent in the natural sunlight.

Starting things off, a courtyard garden or park, with a building in the background, benches in the foreground. This is on an AZO real photo postcard with the triangles pointed up, so it dates from 1904-1918. I would enjoy sitting on the bench and reading a book.

Here is a large family posed in front of what looks like a camellia bush. Mother, Father and eight children! They look like a very happy family. It’s also an AZO real photo postcard dating from 1904-1918.

This snapshot shows stair step kids, six of them, with the youngest looking like a toddler of maybe 1 1/2-2 years of age. Had I found this a few weeks ago, it would have been perfect for the “Scouts” Sepia Saturday as it shows not one but two scouts – a boy scout and a girl scout! The back yard there reminds me of my grandmother’s garden for some reason. Perhaps it is the low chain fence that allows you to see all the way over to the neighbor’s house.

This is a young garden, you can tell by the very thin trunks of the trees. Our young lady looks happy and is possibly showing off her new dress or hat, but I’m just imagining she is quite proud of all the work she and her new husband have put into the back garden, dreaming of all the fruits and vegetables they will harvest for their family.

Now this little fellow is stereotypical cute! He is wearing overalls and a hat – no shirt, no shoes. Remember the days when you ran around bare footed and walked through soft, warm dirt? He looks as though someone stopped him in the middle of an adventure and said “here, Billy, pose in front of this bush, Mama will be so proud of you…” but he’s already thinking of where he will get off to next.

Is this even a garden? I don’t know, but I rather like how the boy is not quite as big as his bicycle. I bet he was proud of that machine and rode it everywhere!

Finally, a garden of a different type…a cactus garden. I believe I see aloe right there in the front, a barrel cactus just behind the man’s shoulder, prickly pear, there are probably others I cannot see as well. Behind it all in the right of the image you can see their car. I’m no expert on cars, so I’ll just say it’s old.  :-)

These gardens have been brought to you as part of Sepia Saturday, which links up bloggers from all over the world, showing off their sepia images, telling stories, and saving memories. Click the button below to jump over to Sepia Saturday, then follow the links to the gardens of imagery you’ll find there.

Garden party time

12 thoughts on “Garden party

  1. I can’t believe I never stumbled on your blog until just now. I love these garden party photos! So now I’ll be spending the rest of my afternoon browsing your other photos instead of working. Thank you!


    1. Mrs Marvel says:

      I’m so glad you found me and I hope your boss won’t mind either. :-)


  2. postcardy says:

    I especailly like the photo with the stair step kids and the scouts.


  3. Now this is simply and awesome post … thanks for the huge variety of gardens, and Happy Sepia Saturday!

    Kathy M.


  4. Karen S. says:

    Oh all these photos are priceless. Everyone just spells happiness in their faces! Of course who wouldn’t want to go to a garden party? Just the words sound like a party! I especially like the cactus garden too!


  5. Little Nell says:

    I enjoyed all these photos but ‘Billy’ is a winner! I’d love to know where the cactus garden was. We have one here; a formal one, designed by Cesar Manrique, which is a big tourist attraction.


  6. kristin says:

    My favorite is the very relaxed, happy family with the 8 children. I hope all went well for them.


  7. Wendy says:

    Re: the scouts — isn’t that always the way? The perfect picture shows up AFTER Sepia Saturday! But really you are right on the mark with every one of those photos for this week. The barefoot boy looks like he got into a lot of trouble but charmed himself out of any real punishment.


  8. Christine says:

    That family with the many children looks so much happier than the typical photo subjects of that time. These are all wonderful pictures. I wonder if the first one isn’t one of the California missions.


  9. Bob Scotney says:

    As we have just planted some new trees I have to admire the young lady showing of her dress and the ‘thin’ trees in her garden. I’d settle for any of the gardens – but not 8 kids!


  10. QMM says:

    Oh I do remember running barefoot out on the farm after my grandfather had plowed. He would fuss at us but always let us have our fun. Almost as fun as walkint barefoot in the sand. Great post.


  11. Now that is some big cactus..wonderful old photos all of them. All fun garden shots:)


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