The study of garden history can be inadvertently elitist, simply because the documentation of gardens of the wealthy is comparatively so extensive. Other than the odd photos or family accounts that make their way into archives, there are few sources for records of the gardens of a more average sort; those by people not wealthy or significant enough to have their gardens documented outside the family.
So the flickr photoset 'Vintage Gardens and Gardeners', administered by lovedaylemon, is an invaluable garden history asset. Period books and magazine show what advice was being given as to garden design, but photos are the essential evidence for how gardens were actually decorated, planted and used.
The photoset is a wonderful record of tools and implements, dress and manner, not just how gardens were planted but how they were used. And the faces, beaming out from their beautiful and personal landscapes, which are clearly treasured, make me teary.
I can't say enough about the value of this archive. If you have family or found photos of vintage gardens and gardeners, I would urge you to post them with this flickr set (include as much information about location and date as you know). Let them become a part of garden history. Garden historians everywhere will thank you!
From the top, an elaborate Victorian parterre in a style often associated with a much grander house than that pictured. Families in what was probably their favorite place in the garden: a woven willow summerhouse in the first photo and a sunny bench in the second.
And finally, a topiaric Adam and Eve...note the apple in Eve's hand and the serpent rearing his ugly head. I wonder if they were inspired by Pope's description?
[all photos from the group admin, lovedaylemon]