What’s growing in the Gardens, week of May 23, 2011

May 26, 2011

It seems the super soaking rains continue here at the Thompson Museum Gardens.  The weeds are getting a good hosing from Mother Nature, but we are hard at work stopping them from sending out more seeds.  The good news on this front is the fact that our one year war against dandelions last year seems to have paid dividends!

For the items growing, the Columbine is in full bloom, as are the wild phlox (sweet William).  The Iris are starting to bloom and several of the day lily clusters are sending up shoots.  The flowering onions are happily displaying their purple hues.  The Lilacs are on the way out as are the tree peony.  But the standard peonies are set to be spectacular!

Here are a few snapshots of the gardens taken this week.

The other major project has been the repainting of the garden urns.  Two volunteers have spent the week scraping, brushing, priming, and painting the urns for the summer season.  The garden wedding in August should be a showcase for the hard work of these two ladies!


Artifact of the Week ~ May 11, 2011

May 11, 2011

I uncover all sorts of interested (and not so interesting) items while sorting through the many totes and boxes of paper here at the Museum.  This particular slice of ephemera from the past peaked my interest, as the nation is celebrating its 150th anniversary of the Civil War.

U. S. Grant was the leader of the Union army that defeated the Confederates in 1865.  He rode his popularity to the office of President, being elected in 1868, and again in 1872…the only 2 term president since Andrew Jackson.  Plagued by scandals in his second term, Grant traveled the world and made bad investments (at one point he was forced to settle a bad business deal by repaying a loan with his personal Civil War mementos).  Broke and suffering from cancer, Grant began to pen his memories in 1884.

The series of articles and later book did wonders for his popularity after his poor presidency.  In addition, the sales helped pull his family out of debt.

Veteran organizations such as the GAR in Morenci showed their respect for the former Commander in Chief and the battlefield leader by organizing Memorial programs such as this “National Funeral Service” held on August 2, 1885 at 7:30 p.m.

The program included scriptures, prayers, choir songs and a resolution of respect from the Myron Baker Post of the GAR.

How the program came to be in the possession of W. G. Thompson is a mystery, but given his love of local history, it is likely he came across the artifact in a box lot at a sale of paper items pertaining to Lenawee County.

In the Gardens

April 27, 2011

Perhaps a better title for this particular post would be “In the Lake” or “Amid the Raindrops”.  It has poured buckets of rain the past few days.  One dry and somewhat sunny day is followed by two of rain that are producing nearly a 1/2 inch a day.

Needless to say this has caused the gardens to not be a priority here at the Museum.  Too wet for anything out there.  But Mother Nature continues to decorate here!

The leaves on the trees are beginning to pop open and little green shoots are pushing forward hoping for warmer weather!

The crocus have come and are now gone, as are some of the early “wind flower” bulbs.

In full bloom now are the squill, hyacinths, daffodils, forsythia, and the dutchmen’s britches (a native wildflower of sorts).

We soon will have natural tulips in bloom as well. (I say natural, as they are not the hybrid bulbs typically sold in stores…rather the flowers are smaller and somewhat rodent proof!).

I did make  a trip into see Janet High at Bean Creek Gardens this morning.  The promise of dry warm weather was there in the green houses.  The container garden plants were selected and set aside there for mid-May planting.  So, a flat of inpatients, coleus, geraniums, spikes, vines, begonias and a few grasses wait for drier weather in the greenhouse.

I strongly suggest if you are seeking plants (annuals or perennials) to drive out 127 South of Hudson and see Janet at Bean Creek Garden Center.  She has long been a supporter of the Hudson community and is willing to have you select plants, put down a deposit, and she will keep them safe and watered for you til the threat of frost and freeze has left us long behind.

Artifact of the Week ~ April 25, 2011

April 25, 2011

With what seems to be an endless winter set in upon Hudson, a few sunny and mild days will soon have everyone in the area looking forward to spending time on the lake.  In Lenawee County, lake time is time spent at Devils Lake.  Back in the 1800’s folks from as far away as Toledo spent summer weekends at the popular resort area of Manitou Beach, MI.

The artifact of the week this week is a blue lined travel ad fro Lake Rest Resort at Devil’s Lake.

Ad for Lake Rest Resort

The back of the card reads:

On the Toledo Division of the Cincinnati Norther RR is located Beautiful Lake Rest Resort….Devil’s Lake, Mich.

I cordially invite all those in cities seeking rest and recreation to try the home-like comforts and quietness to be found at LAKE REST.  It is the paradise of the fisher.  Scenery Picturesque, Atmosphere Cool, Water View Enchanting.

Location near the highest point in Michigan.  Fresh fish and the delicacies of the season will be found on the table.  Rates $2.00 per day, $7.00 to $12.00 per week, according to location of the room and service required.  Fishing tackle and boats included.  Safe and comfortable Steam Yachts can be had on application.  Extensive improvements, with double accommodations have been made including a new bath house.

J. Trauz, of Toledo, Ohio, proprietor.

Artifact of the Week, April 12, 2011 “Civil War @ 150 years Edition!”

April 12, 2011

This week’s “Artifact of the Week” pays honor to the 150th Anniversary of the American Civil War, which began this very day.  The item is this particular ribbon, found in the library of the house.

4th MI Reunion @ Hudson Ribbon

From the Collection of W. G. Thompson House Museum

The ribbon is for the reunion of the Michigan Fourth Infantry Regiment.  The 4th was originally recruited from the southern tier of Michigan counties. It mustered into service for a three year enlistment on June 20, 1861 with the Army of the Potomac. Its members were recruited from Sturgis, Ann Arbor, Monroe, Trenton, Dexter, Hudson, Adrian, Hillsdale, Jonesville, and Tecumseh by Col Dwight A. Woodbury in Adrian.

It was a distinguished unit serving with glory at Hanover Court House, Mechanicsville, Gaines Mills; took heavy loss at Turkey Bend, White Oak Swamp and, Malvern Hill where Col. Woodbury lost his life. The Fourth was also involved in battles at Antietam, Brandy Station and, the Wheatfield at Gettysburg, Pa.

The regiment lost three commanding officers; Woodbury at Malvern Hill, VA, Col Jeffords at Gettysburg, and Col. Lumbard in the Wilderness.  The regiment is one of the few to loose more men to battlefield wounds than to disease.  The regiment was known to be a hard fighting outfit, and often was called upon to stop Confederate advances.

After the three year enlistment had expired, their regiment arrived in Detroit, Michigan where it mustered out of service June 30, 1864. The Fourth reorganized and was mustered into service on October 14, 1864 in Adrian, Michigan this time serving in the western department.

It is presumed the G I Thompson, builder of the house, served on the committee who organized the reunion of the veterans.  G I was the president of the Thompson Bank, and likely the entire committee was made up of the businessmen of Hudson.

Be sure to check back next week for the artifact of the week!

Artifact of the Week, April 7, 2011

April 7, 2011

For the past couple of months, the visitor’s center of the Museum had featured an exhibit on the pink lustre from the Thompson Collection.  I am re-posting a bit of the information here, and making this pink lustre teacup the Artifact of the Week!

Pink/purple lustre or lusterware is one of four types of lusterware that became popular in the late 1700’s through the American Civil War.  Luster glazes seem to have started in the 4th century in the Far East, and were used in Egypt by the 10th century.  The technique spread to Europe by the 1500’s.  The version that we are familiar with today became commonplace in English pottery factories by the 19th century. The areas of Staffordshire, Sunderland, and Swansea became prolific exporters of the lustre pottery.

The English lusterware was a popular import in the United States for use by a growing middle class after the American Revolution.  As silver tea sets were too expensive for the middle class, women found the whimsical and pretty cups to be perfect for tea services.  Often these sets would be and early version of “mix and match”.

Most lusterware was made in England during the period of time when potters were not required to mark their pieces, so often the maker remains a mystery as is the case with this particular cup.

Spring. Has it Sprung?

April 7, 2011

***Note:  My camera is refusing to talk to the computer, so the pictures will be forthcoming, when the camera apologizes to the computer!***

We’ve been busy at the Museum this past week working the in gardens.  And by working, I mean working at staying warm!  The ice storm that hit the region in late February really did hit the gardens pretty hard.  Many branches found their way to the ground…and not all of them were small.  Raking has been the priority, as several of the small and early bulbs are up and out.  Check our our flickr account for a few images of the gardens this spring.

I hope to update you on the progress of the gardens weekly, as it not only lets you know what is out if you are planning a visit, but it will aid us in timing out the gardens from year to year.

What’s out this week?

-Witch hazel bush in full bloom
-Snowdrops in full bloom
-Early crocus in East yard in full bloom
-Surprise lily foliage out, daffodil foliage out, Iris foliage out, Fall crocus foliage out