Group Title: Historic St. Augustine: Block 12, Lot 26 - 27
Title: Memo to: Bruce Piatek, Earle Newton
Full Citation
Permanent Link:
 Material Information
Title: Memo to: Bruce Piatek, Earle Newton Ribera Garden plan
Series Title: Historic St. Augustine: Block 12, Lot 26 - 27
Physical Description: Correspondence
Language: English
Creator: Parker, Susan
Publication Date: 1990
Physical Location:
Box: 5
Divider: Block 12 Lots 26, 27 and 28
Folder: B 12 - L 26, 27
Subject: Saint Augustine (Fla.)
22 Saint George Street (Saint Augustine, Fla.)
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida -- Saint Johns -- Saint Augustine -- 22 Saint George Street
Coordinates: 29.897022 x -81.313485
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00096033
Volume ID: VID00003
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: B12-L26

Full Text



DATE: February 26, 1990

TO: Bruce Piatek, Earle Newton

FROM: Susan Parkery}

RE: Ribera Garden plan

Attached is the "research" which you requested that I give to you
today. I had entertained the idea that we might produce a
brochure or, at first, something more inexpensive and informal
that could be a "hand-out" or "pick-up" item at the garden, with
information about the garden, basis for selecting plants, and some
information about the plants themselves--keyed by diagram or
discreet numerals located on or among the plants themselves.
Contemporary, historical remarks about the fauna of St. Augustine
would also provide interest. At one time Old Salem had a
brochure identifying trees planted along the walks; I don't know
if they still do. However, the inclusion of inappropriate plants
would preclude such a brochure. For example, Everett Hunter has
already indicated to me a desire to use the "Tropicana" variety
of rose, which I feel based on cursory research, is too modern
for inclusion (but I intend to find out before saying "nay").
While I am personally fond of Tropicana, having a hardy and hard-
blooming specimen in my yard, and would be happy to choose it
again for my own yard, we need to keep in mind the reason for
doing the garden in the first place and not be led astray by our
own preferences in the present.



If our garden is to reflect the available documentation, the
one type of plant that it must have is fruit trees, especially
citrus. From Pedro Menendez Marquez' telling the officials in
Santo Domingo in 1579 that "there are beginning to be many of the
fruits of Spain" to Pablo Castello's inventory made in 1763 of
homes of the evacuating Spanish Volonists, it is citrus trees and
some other fruits that always are mentioned. Sour oranges are
usually the most plentiful, there are also lemons, limes, and
grapefruit (shaddock and pergamot). Pomegranate, peach, quince,
figs. Guava, banana, citron, and mulberry are mentioned several
times, but not as frequently as the ones previously listed here.
Of course, grape arbors are mentioned repeatedly.

Little attention is given to ornamentals (perhaps because
they had less commercial value than fruit trees) in pre-
nineteenth-century documents. For a possible list of shrubs and
vines to be used, we can safely look to native plants. It would
be advisable to select several varieties which would be in bloom,
or perhaps have decorative foliage, at different seasons, so that
the garden could offer interest and enjoyment throughout the

Sword fern (Nephrolepis exaltata) and gopher apple (Licania
michauxii) are possible ground covers. Carolina yellow-
jessamine (Gelsemium sempervivens), Trumpet creeper (Campsis
radicans) and Virginia creeper (Partenocissus quinquefolia) are
local, native vines, the last with red leaves in autumn. The
following shrubs are candidates: Adam's needle (Yucca
smalliana), Coontie (Zamia floridana), Eastern coralbeen
(Erythrina herbacea>), Fetterbush (Lyonia lucida), American
beautybush (Callicarpa americana), Sweet shrub (Calycanthus
floridus), Blueberry (Vaccinium app.), Southern wax myrtle
(Myricaq cerifera), Spanish bayonet (Yucca aloifolia). Oleander,
a native of Spain, should also be considered.

Annuals which may have come from Spain could provide color
throughout the year and allow us to change the garden from year
to year. In the interest of time we may need to start with some
modern varieties and seek out seed companies or other outlets who
could provide us with older, now less common, varieties for the
next planting. Among the arrivals from Spain were calendula,
candytuft, chrysanthemum, grape hyacinth, Spanish iris, lavender,
narcissus, sweet pea, Spanian squill, rose, lemon syringa. Roses
were widely crossbred in the nineteenth century, and their showy,
breath-taking blooms of today would have been unlikely residents
of an eighteenth-century garden. On the ships from the West
Indies may have come the seeds of lantana, four-o-clock,
marigold, parkinsonia, nasturtium and scarlet ipomoea.

As to design, there is almost no information available for
St. Augustine. John de Solis' 1764 map shows many neat,
geometrical designs for yards. This rendering is probably the

conjecture by the mapmaker of the way he would want the town to
be, much like a modern architect surrounds his building plans
with landscaping that enhances the building he has designed
rather than the protraying the intrusive commercial building
which actually abuts the site. The early days of British Florida
were ones of real-estate promotion, and this map falls right into
such salesmanship. Attached is a picture of a contemporary
garden in Madrid. It features many trees with open areas in


"There are beginning to be many of the fruits of Spain, such as
figs, pomegranates, oranges, grapes in great quantity; there are
many mulberries from the mulberry trees produced in this same
soil..." Pedro Menendez Marquez, 1579.

"...they having large orchards, in which are plenty of oranges,
lemons, pome-citrons, limes figs and peaches: the houses most of
them old building and not half of them inhabited." Jonathan

"There are many fruits like those of Spain: white and black figs,
peaches, quince, mulberries, cherries, plums, huckleberries (?),
arbors from which hang ripe grapes..." Juan Joseph Solana, 1759.

"At the time when the Spaniards left the town, all gardens were
well stocked with fruit trees, citrons, shaddock pergamot, china
and seville oranges..." William Gerard DeBrahm, 1775

"Almost every house has its little garden, of which splendid
lemon and orange trees are not the least ornaments." Johann
Schoepf, 1784.

"They (the houses] are only two stories high, of thick walls,
with spacious entries, large doors, windows and balconies; and a
garden lot to each, most commonly stocked with orange and fig
trees, interspersed with grape-vines and flowers." James Grant
Forbes, 1821

Susan R. Parker
HSAPB Historian
February 26, 1990

Charles E. Kany, Life and Manners In Madrid, 1750-1800
(Berkley: University of California Press, 1932).

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