Powell, Patricia (ed.) / Wisconsin Academy review
Volume 30, Number 4 (September 1984)
Pioneer Wisconsin gardens, pp. 3-8
Other than the vines on trellises, transplanted fruits, and flowering herbs, little ornamental gardening was attempted during the early years. Most photographs and draw- ings show the cabin surrounded by bare dirt or unmowed prairie grasses and forbs. Some photo- graphs show one or more mature trees which apparently had been left at the time the cabin was built. The absence of a flower garden does not imply a lack of aesthetic sensitivity, however, but more likely, a short- age of money and time. A few set- tlers brought and planted shrubs, bulbs, or flower seeds, but diary en- tries lamenting the death of these first plants indicate that there was little time to coddle tender young plants. The predominance of lilacs, honeysuckle, daylilies, lilies of the valley, morning glory, and holly- hocks around farmsteads may have been due as much to the hardiness and ease of propagating these plants as to their nostalgic value. The postfrontier period (1850-1865) Significant efforts at ornamental gardening began only after the dwelling had acquired some degree of refinement, usually after the original cabin had been replaced by a new, larger house. Within ten years after settlement, many pi- oneers were enjoying the success of the wheat boom and were finan- cially able to build a permanent house. This second house could be built of hewn logs, brick, stone or half-timber, but the method most often used was the new "balloon frame" construction whereby a light wooden frame was covered with clapboards. If the cabin was not re- placed, it was usually enlarged and modernized with clapboard siding. Although simple in plan and ver- nacular in style, the new house was frequently pleasing in proportion and details, demonstrating skillful carpentry. The woodworker's skill was also displayed in attached and freestanding trellises and arbors as well as in the picket or decorative board fence surrounding the house. The orchard and vegetable gar- den were sited in a location selected ..1 GAMDEN . ~ ~~ . .:: f I~ .~ eRG4A Am'',', +*,LO S5E':'4X This drawing depicts the frontier farm several years after settlement. The house has been enlarged from the original one-room log cabin. The garden includes fruit trees and herbs as well as vegetables. (By Jean Reince) This drawing depicts the traditional garden of an established farm with a simple frame house about ten to twenty years after settlement. Board fences surround the farm. A pair of evergreen trees flanks the front gate. Flowers and shrubs are randomly grouped on both sides of the board walk. (By Jean Reince) 6/Wisconsin Academy Review/September 1984 HING WN ....
Copyright 1984 by the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters.| For information on re-use, see http://digital.library.wisc.edu/1711.dl/Copyright