Category: Uncategorized

The Regency Weather Forecaster

Kristi here. I live in Atlanta, Georgia, unofficially and unaffectionately nicknamed Hotlanta. We have two seasons here, winter and summer. Maybe a week of spring or fall thrown in just to make you hope.

While we are accustomed to hot summers, this year it’s been worse than normal. For most of the United States, higher than normal temperatures have been an issue. With the mixed blessing of weather forecasting we can know that this heat isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Painting of couple walking arm in arm away from church.
How did people in Regency England know whether or not they needed their umbrella?
“A Wet Sunday Morning” by Edmund Blair Leighton Photo: Wikimedia Commons

With this expansive summer heat comes the ever present summer rain shower. I have an app on my phone that can tell me whether or not I can expect rain on a given day and what time it’s going to appear, almost down to the minute.

People in the Regency didn’t have the blessing of their local Channel 5 meteorologist or the Weather Channel app on their smart phone. That doesn’t mean that they were unable to make educated forecasts about the day’s weather.

By the time of the Regency, barometers had become a fairly common tool for the upper and middle class. Barometers use a tube filled with liquid to measure the pressure of the atmosphere. Low pressure meant a higher likelihood of rain and clouds whereas high pressure was usually an indicator of clear sunshine.

Weather forecasting is a notoriously fickle thing. Even the best equipped meteorologist today gets the extended forecast wrong most of the time. This was no different for the amateur forecaster in England. The barometric pressure had an average range of 3 inches. As the tools became used by more and more people, adjustments were made to the barometer’s design that made it easier to read the small variations in pressure.

Example of the wheel gauge barometer. Designed to make it easier to read the small variations. Photo: Morguefile.
Example of the wheel gauge barometer. Designed to make it easier to read the small variations. Photo: Morguefile.

Designers and furniture makers also got into the barometer business, making the tools into decorative pieces for the home and adding thermometers, clocks, or a hygrometer.

The hygrometer used an oat fiber to indicate the humidity in the air.

Barometer makers also created a new way to read the level, creating a wheel gauge that would allow people to more easily detect the level of the mercury. The wheel had a needle that pointed to the pressure level. It had a tendency to stick requiring people to tap lightly on the glass to attain an accurate reading.

While I’m very grateful for the accuracy of Doppler radar and I wouldn’t trade the ability to know how my beach weekend is going to look, I like that so many people acquired a basic knowledge of atmospheric science in order to make their own predictions about the weather.

What is your favorite scientific tool that is now or once was part of everyday life?

Originally posted 2013-07-03 10:00:00.

A War of Ideals: The Difference between War in Regency England and Revolutionary France

For a good portion of the Regency Era (and for the last decade of the 18th Century), Napoleonic WarEngland and France found themselves at war.

Again.

War was hardly a new thing for either country. With past wars between England and France, greed, land acquisition, and strengthening the monarchy were the usual catalysts and goals. But with the advent of the French Revolution (and the American Revolution preceding it), a new mentality regarding war arose among the common people.

Before the American and French Revolutions, commoners fought in wars that served to benefit the aristocracy or monarchy. With these new revolutions, regular citizens and common people had a better reason to fight: themselves. Each man standing in France’s army believed he would have a better life if he was allowed to choose who governed his country, rather than be subject to a hereditary monarch.

One thing that the British initially failed to understand about the French  and Americans was WHY they wanted to fight. If you study the French Revolution, American Revolution, Napoleonic War and then the War of 1812, you’ll find this misunderstanding for every single war. With the changes in the French and American governments came a type of energy and belief that the mass of the population could fight for freedom, or for a government they wanted rather than one handed to them by a monarch. And Britain failed to grasp these ideals.

Napoleonic WarsIf you were to ask a Frenchman in 1793 and 1803 why he fought, he would have given an answer that involved something about freedom and thwarting tyranny. Even if you were to ask this question a decade later in 1813, after twenty years of war, the answer may well have been the same. “We want freedom. We don’t want another Bourbon king.”

Interestingly enough, if you were to ask a British subject in 1793 why he fought, he likely would have answered “because the king wants us to fight.” If you were to ask the same British soldier that question in 1803, his answer might well be the same, or he might say something to the effect of “because I don’t trust that French Consulate and Napoleon.” If you were to ask the same question again in 1813, the answer would likely be, “Because that Corsican Monster Napoleon is trying to take over Europe, and he’ll take England if we don’t stop him.”

For the first decade of war between France and England, the average British sailor and Napoleonic Warsoldier didn’t have a reason to fight beyond “the government wants us to.” The average Englishman had nothing to gain by fighting with France until the English populace began to believe Napoleon Bonaparte a threat to England (part of which was came about as a result of printing intentionally untrue propaganda against Napoleon). And only then did Britain truly begin to best France in battle.

Now I’m curious about your views. Do you think Britain misunderstood the motivation of both the French and American people when they went to war? Do you think some of that misunderstanding is what led to two decades of war between Britain and France, and the United States defeating Britain two different times?  When you look at the French Revolution and Napoleonic War, do you believe the French people had a reason to fight? Do you believe the British people had a reason to fight?

 

 

Originally posted 2013-06-24 10:00:30.

Your Favorite Holiday… And We Don’t Mean Christmas!

In Regency England holidays weren’t special annual occasions – they were vacations. People went on holiday or holidayed by the sea.

We asked our Reflections authors what some of their favorite holidays were and where they are most wanting to go.

Coast of Lisbon, Protugal
Coast of Lisbon, Protugal

Laurie Alice Eakes

Nine days in Portugal. It’s such a beautiful country, and the people are warm and friendly. I stayed in a little fishing village 35 kilometers south of Lisbon where I ate fish caught just that morning, and soaked up a great deal of sunshine when home was getting an ice storm. I also too forays to historic landmarks like a fountain that has been drawing water from a mountain stream for nearly a thousand years.

Where would I like to go? Lots of places still on my “to visit” list. And I’d like to get back to a few others. You know, I’d rather like to go to the site of the Battle of Waterloo for the 200th anniversary.

Susan Karsten

My favorite adult vacation was to Hawaii. My favorite childhood vacation was to Breezy Point resort in the region of Brainerd, MN. My current dream vacation would be to get back to Hawaii. It’s such a world apart.

Kristi Ann Hunter

I had the opportunity to spend nearly two weeks in Europe touring the Alps and Italy. The mountains are something I will never forget. Standing on top of some of those viewpoints you can see nature for miles, with no manmade obstructions or anything. Just mountains and snow and sky. It’s beautiful. Things there are so much older than they are in America. In the States something that is 200 years old is an amazing relic. There, it’s practically new. Okay not really, but it feels like it when you look buildings that are nearly a thousand years old.

Swiss Alps near Zermatt, Switzerland
Swiss Alps near Zermatt, Switzerland

I would really like to get back to England for a research trip. Tour more of the old homes and museums, take pictures of the countryside. I would also really like to see Australia someday. Closer to home, I eventually want to visit all fifty states. I’m about half way there now.

Vanessa Riley

Bikes on the BeachI rented a condo for a week with all my brothers and their families on an island off Savannah. It was a blast. Bike riding, cooking fresh seafood, watching movies until late. No takers on P&P though.

Kristy L. Cambron

My favorite vacation has been to the quiet beaches of the Outer Banks, North Carolina. My sister and I had a weekend getaway a few years ago and I’ve never forgotten it. Ocracoke Island’s thriving artists’ colony and lazy bike rides we took to the beach I will always remember. Maybe it was the special company I loved the most? 🙂

As for where I want to go? Paris. It’s always been Paris – c’est bon!

Naomi Rawlings

My favorite vacation was to Finland before my junior year of high school. We have some family friends over there, and it’s a really beautiful country. Did you know they have church buildings that are 400 years older than the United States? We saw one built in the 1300s. I’ve never seen a more beautiful church in my life.

Angkor Wat with trees and Native huts
Angkor Wat in 1866 before refurbishment.

As for a favorite place I would like to go, I’m a little weird so I’d go for something in Central or South America that would allow me to see some ancient Indian ruins. I’ve wanted to visit Angkor Wat since I was in high school. But actually those ruins have been restored and turned into a bit of a tourist destination. So I’d rather go to some less visited area and see ruins with grass and trees and the like growing out of it.

 

What about you? What was your favorite holiday? Where would you like to see? Have you been to any of our favorite places? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

All pictures courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Originally posted 2013-06-19 10:00:00.

And You Think Your Street Needs Repairs

And You Think Your Street Needs Repairs

To go on holiday, or even to market from farm or country house, the Regency traveler needed to make that journey on what were called roads, yet usually resembled nothing more than rutted tracks. In other words, the roads in Regency England barely managed to qualify for that nomenclature.

Roads were made of stones roughly broken into the size of bricks and laid in a bed of earth. They weren’t crowned (higher in the middle). Imagine the disaster that caused in a wet country like England, especially in the winter. Rain fell. Mud oozed between those stones, and the stones shifted, creating ruts and an unstable surfaces over which horses stumbled and coaches bounced. In many counties such as Cornwall, the roads simply did not exist beyond mere tracks. Around Bristol, the roads became impassible in the winter.

ipostch001p1

As a result of these bad roads, coaches often turned over, causing injury and even death to the passengers. Bridges collapsed under the weight of coaches, plunging the occupants and their luggage into the rivers below. And no passenger could count on actually riding the entire journey. Often they had to exit the coach and walk so the horses could haul the vehicle up a muddy or rutted incline. In winter, passengers sometimes froze to death in unheated coaches, as the conveyance slogged through frozen ruts of mud or over ice-slick stone.

Dilapidated bridge photo courtesy of Angela Breidenbach
Dilapidated bridge photo courtesy of Angela Breidenbach

Then Thomas Telford came along. From 1815, to 1829, he improved the road between London and Holyhead at the cost of 1,000.00 pounds per mile. His road was grated with a slope from crown to edge to ensure drainage. Stones about ten inches deep were laid upon this surface. He laid stone chippings atop this layer. Finally, a steam or horse-drawn roller compressed the top layer. The chippings compressed thus locked into a smooth mass.

John Macadam improved on this technique even further. Macadam used hand-broken stones around six ounces apiece to form a thin layer. Traffic itself compressed these angular stones into a smooth surface.  Or, if one still did not wish to travel on the uncertainty of the roads, one could take a canal boat to many locations.

My thanks to the wonderful traditional Regency author Emily Hendrickson (www.emilyhendrickson.net) for allowing me to use much of her research on road conditions and improvements in the Regency.

Originally posted 2013-06-17 03:24:25.

SECRET CODES IN THE NAPOLEONIC WARS

Most of us who have read a regency romance or two have heard of the Peninsular Wars.napoleon

The hero of the romance is usually back from the Peninsula, recovering from an almost fatal wound—but alive and whole, thank goodness, and still dashing in his red coat, though perhaps a bit wan and lean in the cheek.

220px-Sir_Arthur_Wellesley,_1st_Duke_of_WellingtonWhich peninsula was this? It was the Iberian Peninsula, encompassing both Spain and Portugal. England and France fought over this peninsula between 1807 and 1814. The peninsula catapulted then Lt. General Arthur Wellesley—later the 1st duke of Wellington—to fame.

The armies depended on couriers conveying messages from troop to troop and commander to commander over the vast Spanish plain. Partisan fighters intercepted many of these French messengers and passed along their dispatches to the British.

220px-Sir_George_Scovell_by_William_SalterA key but little known player in the British army was George Scovell, a deputy assistant quartermaster general, who had a knack for languages, organization and detail. The hero of my current regency, Moonlight Masquerade, is a little like this soldier. He is able to see patterns where others see only random numbers.

If you’d like to try out your abilities at some simple code, try to decipher the names of my hero and heroine in Moonlight Masquerade using the key below.

344,   2&6((62,   .)#   @4(6)4   ”4+&.9

KEY:

A =  .      L = (       W = ”

B = 1     M = 9      X = +

C = @    N = )       Y = –

D = #     O = !       Z = ^

E  = 4     P = 2

F = %     Q = ?

G = 5     R = 3

H = &    S = ,

I =  6       T = :

J = *       U = 7

K = 8      V = /

 

Originally posted 2013-06-14 10:00:00.

Water Colour Painting – One of a Lady’s Accomplishments, by Susan Karsten

Like the fantasy of playing the harp, being able to set up an easel in the English countryside and dabble away with watercolors seems to most of us an unattainable goal. But during the Regency, proficiency with watercolor painting was promoted and taught to young ladies. I’ve run across many scenes in Regency fiction in which a young miss is prompted to get out her portfolio to impress a potential suitor.

I find art supplies to be full of exciting potential. Just the act of perusing easels, touching papers, and hefting brushes makes me think I “could” paint. Then I crash back to reality, knowing I never will.

The paintbox was an essential accessory for the aspiring female amateur outdoor painter. By the middle of the eighteenth century, British artists regularly sketched outdoors. In watercolor, they found a medium well-suited to their needs, capable of capturing fleeting effects of light and weather, and requiring readily portable materials.  Doesn’t this case look wonderfully clever? They certainly helped make outdoor painting possible.

Here’s an example of a portable easel, with built-in paintbox:

Today, the medium is most commonly associated with Britain during the period extending roughly from the mid-eighteenth to the mid-nineteenth century—the so-called Golden Age of watercolor.

The new Romantic watercolor style developed around 1800 employed freer brushwork—often applied to rough-textured papers—and sought to capture fleeting atmospheric effects. Some notable English artists active during the Regency include:  John Constable (1776–1837) who used watercolor to record the appearance of cloud-filled skies at specific times of day, and in various weather conditions, and then used these aides mémoires in composing his oil paintings, Richard Parkes Bonington (1802–1828), a British artist active in France, who developed a virtuoso watercolor style marked by its brilliant palette, David Wilkie (1785–1841), and William James Müller (1812–1845.

Here is a well-executed (circa 1st quarter of the19th century) watercolor similar to what would have been painted by a young woman. It came out of her practice scrapbook, with skills probably learned at a girl’s academy. Artistic skills were considered of great importance to young women because it evidenced their schooling. They spent free time practicing their painting.

If you have painted outdoors, please comment and tell about your experiences.

 

Originally posted 2013-05-24 10:00:00.

Prize Fighting in the Regency

If you have read more than two or three Regency romances, you have encountered at least one male character involved in a fancy form of fisticuffs called boxing. No doubt the hero has gone a few rounds with Gentleman Jackson in his “Boxing saloon (salon)” at 13 Bond Street, London, and, for the truly heroic hero, even bested the great man of prize fighting.

Two other names seem to lend their name in prominence to the Regency era, as well—Cribb and Belcher. They were also champion fighters in the sport. Cribb ended up a rather successful businessman. Sadly, Belcher liked to gamble and ended up In prison and dying young in 1811. He, however, stands out in my mind as having lent his casual style of dress in wearing a large kerchief around his neck instead of a cravat—the belcher kerchief. In the second Regency I ever read, Georgina by Clare Darcy, the hero was disdained by many for wearing one of these.

But back to boxing…

The sport has been around since at least ancient Greece. Throughout the medieval period, it seems to have disappeared, but began making a comeback in England in the sixteenth century. By the early 1700s, rules were beginning to form, and popularity of the sport grew amongst all classes of males.

At first, it was a bloody sport with few regulations. The most hand protection a fighter wore were leather strips around their knuckles. Mostly they fought with bare fists and could hit anywhere. By the Regency, no hitting below the belt existed, but pretty much anything else prevailed.

Men from errand boys, to gentlemen in fine rigs drove out to heaths and commons, to observe the fight, cheer on their favorites, and, of course, wager on the outcome of the fight. The sporting magazines of the time reported on these fights. One account seems to have been quite a day of sport.

“By way of ushering in the New Year, the amateurs of the fist had a full day s sport cut out on the 1st inst. No less than three fights having been fixed to take place. These matches were decided on Highgate Common, in the presence of a very numerous field. The first match for forty guineas, was between an Irishman, of the name of Christie, who never fought a pitched battle before, and a second rater of the name of Byrne. This battle afforded but very little diversion. Christie could neither give nor stop, and his adversary, although he possessed some science, had no gift at hitting, and but suspicious bottom. After a hugging battle of forty minutes, Byrne was declared the victor. Richman, the black, and Blake, were the seconds.

Simon Burn photo
Possibly depicting Simon Byrne

“The second battle was between two well-known boxers in miniature, one of whom was Ballard, a Westminster lad, and the pupil of the veteran Caleb Baldwin, and the other Charles Brannam, who has combated with Dixon and others…”
(The Sporting Magazine, January 1812 PP 192-193.)

Also, according  to this same publication, English men at the turn of the nineteenth century, were so prize fighting crazed pitch—spontaneous–battles took place. These. “A pitched battle was lately fought at Thorpe, between two champions of the names of Cannell and Fox. The former was victorious, but the fight afforded little satisfaction to the amateurs. At its conclusion, Pegg, a known bruiser, jumped into the ring, and challenged any one present to fight for a guinea, which was accepted by his former antagonist Chapman, who, after a short contest, beat Pegg completely…”

This sport, with its ever-changing rules, could prove deadly. “On Saturday, the 20th instant, a pitched battle was fought at Wanash, near Guildford, between one Mansell, of that place, and a paper-maker, named Wokins; when the latter, having nearly beat his antagonist, received a blow under the ear, which killed him on the spot. A Coroners Jury sat on the body and returned a verdict of manslaughter.”

Thirty seconds was how long an opponent needed to stay down for his adversary to declare victory. Any fighter feeling he needed a break, could drop to one knee for 30 seconds to give himself time to recover; however, this was considered unmanly.

For myself, I’ve never considered having a hero step into the ring (which is really a square now), thinking it a little on the lowbrow side of sports. I am, however, wrong in this thinking. Even Lord Byron learned the art from Gentleman Jackson.

Related post on author Clare Darcy.

 

Originally posted 2013-05-20 03:00:00.

Outdoor Sports for Lovers, The Picnic

Vanessa here,

As we focus on outdoor activities here at Regency Reflections, I would like to spend sometime highlighting one meant for lovers, lovers of scenic views and food, the picnic (picnick).  By the time of the Regency, communing with nature and enjoying natural activities became the rage. What better way to indulge both passions, outdoors and food, than by dining al fresco.

Photo from http://myaustendreamworld.com
Photo from http://myaustendreamworld.com

The ingredients of a fine picnic are the weather, the guests, the place, and the food.

The Weather

The weather should be warm and sunny. Most picnics provide a linen cover on the ground for the participants to sit and eat their meals. Thus, if it has rained for several days, the saturated ground will wet the coverings and bring mud and damp clothes to the event. We wouldn’t want to spread consumption.  Moreover, if one tried to have a picnic in 1816, the year without a summer, the temperature would be too cold or worse too snowy to have had an enjoyable picnic.

The Guests

Selection of the guest needed to be done with the same care as choosing ones for an indoor dinner party. Participants will be sitting very close together, even leaning near the next person. Thus, social people with excellent conversation would be preferred. Unmarried people still required chaperones, so the hero won’t be sneaking away with his single heroine… unless he’s sure not to be caught.

The Place

The place to hold the picnic must be selected wisely. Because of the need for the eyes to experience nature, the environment for the picnic should be as inviting as the food. Yet, choosing a picturesque place might mean settling on an out of the way flat plain on the moors, or a hill like Box Hill, the famed picnic spot in Emma. Box Hill, the summit of the North Downs in Surrey, is set up high and framed in boxwood trees, oaks, tall grasses, and wild flowers. Perfect for a picnic.

Source: Wikicommons. Panoramic View of Box Hill
Source: Wikicommons. Panoramic View of Box Hill
Photo from the Movie Emma (1996 British TV)
Photo from the Movie Emma (1996 British TV)

The provisions for the picnic can consists of tables to hold the food, the food, plates, cloths, servants to dish the food, servants to do the setup and the clean up, the linens, etc. These goods and servers can require wagons or carriages for transportation to and from the location. If the scenic spot was too out of the way, servants had to walk and carry picnic fare from the closets point of access (the road, etc.) to the picnic spot.

The Food

Food for the picnic can be arranged one of two ways. (1.) The picnic organizers can assign foods for each of the participants to bring. This ensures that no foods are duplicated. Each participant must bring enough food for all of the picnickers. (2.) The other way is for the organizer to supply it. This option was mainly chosen by the wealthy as an extension of showing off their good fair just as if the picnic were an indoor dinner at a ball.

The common foods supplied were pre-sliced cold roast and cow tongue (also sliced). Deviled eggs were popular. Once the egg is boiled, it’s sliced in half and the yolk is removed. The yolks are mixed with pepper, Worcester sauce, salt, and mustard and then returned to the inside of the boiled egg half. No addition of mayonnaise (1756 Charles de Lorraine, duke of Mayenne) to worry about spoilage.

I found a reference to walnut sandwiches and fruit sandwiches.  Walnut sandwiches were made from chopped walnuts mixed with cheese and spices and served on thinly sliced bread. Fruit sandwiches were made with stiff stale bread topped with thin slices of bananas and pineapples sprinkled with sugar. After it sets up with the fruit juices penetrating the bread, it is cut into little cakes and served with whipped cream (or clotted cream).

The drink offered would be a popular beverage that can be served at ambient temperatures (not too cold and not hot): lemonade, white wine claret, or a sweet madeira wine.

All foods should be easy to port and serve the picnic-goers to show the host as a considerate and generous person as well as match the beauty and ease of the natural surroundings.

So, if your weekend permits, have your servant or dear hubby fetch a sandwich and blanket and dine al fresco Regency-style.

References:

“Cookery”, by Amy Richards, published in 1895

Andrew Hubbell, How Wordsworth Invented Picnicking and Saved British Culture. Romanticism, Volume 12, Number 1, 2006, pp. 44-51

MyAustenDreamworld.com

Janeaustensworld.wordpress.com

Timothy Morton, Radical Food: The Culture and Politics of Eating and Drinking, 1790–1820, vol. 1 (New York: Routledge, 2000), pp. 3–8.

Originally posted 2013-05-17 10:00:00.

Writing’s Not A Hobby… But This Is!

Our Regency Reflections authors spend a lot of time writing, but it isn’t all they do. We asked them to share what some of their favorite hobbies are and what they use them for.

Kristy L. Cambron

Not surprising, my main hobbies center around what I have time for in a packed schedule: chasing after our young boys, belting out off-key worship songs in my car before I get to the office, and of course, writing.

Asthma Walk LogoMaybe lesser known is our family’s struggle with asthma. Our two older sons have endured hospital admissions and seemingly endless urgent care visits since six months old. Now that they understand what asthma is, we try to get them involved with a community that focuses on well-being. We’ve walked in the American Lung Association Asthma Walks for a number of years and though not exactly a hobby, we are passionate about research to cure childhood lung disease and to live a healthy lifestyle.

Naomi Rawlings

My hobby is hiking. There’s lots of lovely trails around Lake Superior, so we don’t have to go far at all.

Ruth Axtell

Peony clusterMy hobby is gardening, both vegetable and flower. I love getting out there and grubbing in the dirt! I always have more vegetables that I, or my family can use, so I’ve been taking extra stuff to church, putting a box out back for anyone to take if they wish after the service. If I’m in town on the day the food pantry is open, then I donate fresh vegetables there. 

 

Susan Karsten

This question sparked me to realize I have hobbies, interests and passions!

Sun Quilt (not one of Susan's)
Sun Quilt (picture via WikiCommons) Not one of Susan’s quilts

I consider the hobbies to be the tangible skill-based activities.  Using this classification system, sewing and quilting have got to be my top hobby.  I like sewing and have since around age eight. I made my first quilt in my teens, then stopped and started up again in my late twenties.  With my sewing, I am able to mend things for people, and I make and give away baby bibs, often combining re-purposed fabric with new. I also do light alterations for my friends.   I make and give baby quilts to each new baby in my life — at church, in my friend circle, or within my family.  It’s so inspiring to see the excitement on the recipients’ faces.  For some, it’s the only hand-made quilt they’ve ever owned.  My nieces and nephews (and my own kids) have kept their quilts from me on their beds into their teen years.  And that warms my heart and encourages me to persevere.

Laurie Alice Eakes

Fingers Knitting
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

I knit and crochet. I’m not terribly good at either, and it keeps my hands  busy while I read. I have given some of my better projects as gifts—prayer shawls and baby afghans—and I made an afghan for my husband the first Christmas when we were dating. Usually, I get bored with the project and give it up, so now I’m working on my first complex project, having decided that the reason I get bored is I haven’t challenged my ability enough.

Kristi Ann Hunter

Hobby… hobby… that’s what you do during free time, right? 🙂 My “killing time” hobbies include playing computer and Wii games, reading, and messing around on social media stuff like Pinterest. Television is probably my main unwinding activity since my husband and I watch it together.

I don’t get to spend a lot of time on those things because my passions take up whatever time isn’t dedicated to caring for my family. Building my career as a writer and speaker as well as supporting and volunteering alongside my husband in his youth ministry gets me excited and fills most of my free time. I guess those are as close to a hobby as I have.

What’s your hobby? 

Let us know in the comments!

Originally posted 2013-05-15 10:00:00.

Spring at Kew Gardens

Peony cluster Spring is bulb season at Kew. From the carpets of the small, blue, bell-like squill to the tall straight tulips with their simple form, there are bright primary colors everywhere.

What was it like in regency times?

outside my writing windowRhododendron Dell, originally known as the Hollow Walk, was formed at the edge of the Thames out of its flood plain. Famous landscaper Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown designed it in 1773 in the shape of a horseshoe and planted hundreds of mountain laurels along it, which gave it the nickname of Laurel Walk.

 

Kew_Palace

The Dutch House, or the royal palace with its Dutch architectural style, doubtless had many flower gardens enjoyed by the royal family who frequently stayed there. In springtime, tulips, narcissus, squill, and hyacinths were popular bulbs. Since the tulip craze in the Netherlands in the 17th century, the hyacinth, also originating from Turkey in the 1500s, became very popular to cultivate in the 18th century and regency England.

Mora & Ruth with Peonies

 

 

 

I’ve included some photos of my own garden flowers to give you an idea of what visitors to the royal gardens at Kew might enjoy in the early 1800s. garden photos 0072010 garden 002IMG_3442IMG_3441

Originally posted 2013-05-13 10:00:00.