He began his historical essay with Sir Francis Bacon's On Gardens:
"Men come to build stately sooner than to garden finely; as if gardening were the greater perfection."
His survey introduced ancient gardens and exalted the urban ones that had been discovered at Pompeii (Plate I, above). He equally favored the Islamic gardens of southern Spain and those of Louis XIV (Plate II, below).
For early American architecture, his essay highlighted "Spanish" gardens in the South, "High English" gardens in Virginia, "Catholic" ones in Maryland, "Quaker" and "German" in Pennsylvania, "Swedish" in New Jersey, "Dutch" in New York, "Puritan" in New England and "French" in Canada. He included his 1922 sketch of the Patio Royal in New Orleans (Plate III, below) to illustrate the southern garden, which he equated with violets, heliotropes, carnations, lobelia, iris, lilies, tulips, hyacinths, roses, oleanders, rose bay, myrtle and jasmine.
Reflecting on the modern American garden of his day, Wiedorn emphasized an increased formality in design and a growing attention to urban parks:
"The American is becoming more and more a city man, and his civic pride runs high. Evidences of this are seen in our new parks, cemeteries and garden cities. The American thinks and works in larger areas than flower gardens; he is more interested in open lawns, lakes, trees and shrubs. Flower gardening, unlike the European practice, is the last phase to be developed. The American excels in developing parks and is laying the foundations for the finest natural park scenery in the world. Our cemeteries are being treated as natural parks. Garden cities or land subdivisions, in which every house and garden is part of a large unit, are being built everywhere. Such divisions as Forest Hills (Queens), New York; the Country Club District, Kansas City; and Roland Park, Baltimore, have set standards which others are adopting."
Johns Hopkins doctoral candidate Paige Glotzer has been documenting Kansas City financial connections to Roland Park and the subdivision's influence on other real estate developments and federal housing policies.
More on Wiedorn's Kansas planting recommendations later.
Images and quoted matter (unless otherwise indicated) from: W.S. Wiedorn. “A Brief History of Gardening.” The Biennial Report of the Kansas State Horticultural Society XXXVII. Topeka: Kansas State Printing Plant, 1924, pp. 127-137. University Archives, Kansas State University Libraries.