The Library of Congress recently added some sweet old garden pics to their online collection, noting, "These extraordinary photographs were rarely seen for more than 60 years because they lacked identifying information. Then house and garden historian Sam Watters took on the challenge of breathing life back into the collection." Watters spent five years digging through the photos taken by Frances Benjamin Johnston, and at the end came out of it with a new book, Gardens for a Beautiful America, 1895-1935, which is being published in collaboration with the Library of Congress this year.
In addition to the grand estates that resemble Hollywood movie sets, you’ll also find plantings and designs adaptable to any space. The views of backyard and window box gardens in Manhattan reflect Johnston’s commitment to beautifying city life, too. As Johnston wrote in 1922, “There is more to photography than just taking pictures!”
You can take a stroll through more of the collection right here. And here are photos of backyard gardens in Brooklyn circa 1978.