No Mad Hatter Here!

1838strawhatPat here:

Behind the scenes, the wenches wandered into a discussion about hats and fell into a deep vat of fascinating history. Jo Beverley will bring you more about the origins of hats and carry her research up to the Regency period. I’m diving into the later eras where my shallow Leo can play with pretties, because after the Regency, hats were designed almost entirely for fashion and not necessity.


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Garden Bells

Wenches cloche copped colonial williamsburg attribe MizGingerSnapsIt's cold outside on the mountains today.  Last night it froze, amazing the poor silly daffodils.

I was thinking about how gardening folks dealt with these early, cold, unpredictable springs in Georgian and Regency days in England when greenhouses or hothouses were fairly rare and expensive. 

Wenches terrac ota cloche modern cc attrib jo-marshallThe English had a characteristically common-sense solution.  They used what we call a gardeners cloche.

Cloches were sort of a poor man's mini-greenhouse.  They could hold about one plant, so you needed a goodly number of them.  You had to keep an eye on them so as not to scorch a delicate plant in the sun.  Keep another eye on to guard from moisture build-up and mildew.  But, oh, how useful.  Cloches didn't just protect against the cold, they held in moisture and kept the wind out, they stand between the tasty succulent little plants and birds, deer, slugs and such hungry beasts like that. 

 The name 'cloche' comes from the shape of it — it's the French word for 'bell'.  In fact, when these glass shapes lived inside in a somwhat less robust form, our historical people called them 'bell jars'. Wenches cloche cc attrib smabssputzer

 These glasses seems to have reached England from French early in the 1600s.  In our Georgian and Regency times, cloches joined cold frames, forcing boxes of many kinds, terra cotta cloches and even woven baskets, in keeping plants warm and safe across the British Isles.

I think kindly of these homely glass hats sitting in the midst of our protagonist's kitchen garden.  How pretty, and how unexpected to come across while sneaking out to adventure in the early light of dawn.

attrib: coldframesmabsputzer; terracotta jomarshall;
cloche Mizgingersnaps' pair of cloches MaggieMcCain Wench cloche colonial williamsburg attrib Maggie McCain


What do you remember from some childhood garden in the spring?
          What are you going to admire and use in your garden this next month?