Drawings by Ellen Isham Schutt for Pomological Watercolor Collection (PWC).
PWC is a unique archive created by U.S. Department of Agriculture and it includes accurate watercolour drawings of around 7500 fruit and nut varieties drawn by 21 artists between the years 1886 to 1942. Browse the archive here
Mirzasho Akobirov is reclining comfortably on a cold, jagged rock as
though he had stumbled upon a chaise lounge. Propped up on an elbow, he
is silhouetted by a quickly setting sun on a cold evening in early
Akobirov, who is 56, occasionally gestures behind him towards Jafr,
the village where he was born and still lives, and the Rasht Valley, a
wide stretch of land in northeastern Tajikistan that extends up towards
the Kyrgyz border. It is in that valley that Akobirov spends most of his
time, cultivating and grooming his botanical garden.
Akobirov’s neighbors in Jafr have orchards typical of the Rasht
Valley: a few apple and pear trees, and perhaps an apricot or peach
tree. Akobirov’s orchard is different. According to him, the lush plot
of perhaps four or five acres produces 52 different types of apples, 37
varieties of pears, and 24 kinds of apricots, as well as peaches, black
mulberries, white mulberries, walnuts, and an assortment of cherries.
The garden has made him famous throughout the valley and, to a
certain extent, beyond: praising his orchard’s fruit, Tajikistan’s
president, Emomali Rahmon, once called him the country’s best orchard
We interrupt our pre-Halloween programming to wish everyone a most happy National Nut Day. This is a day to celebrate the kind of nuts you eat, not the kind you work with. These nutty images are from Nut Culture in the United States, Embracing Native and Introduced Species (1896). This work was published by the United States Division of Pomology, a branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture founded in 1885 to share information about burgeoning fruit and nut varieties with farmers and horticulturists. To that end the department commissioned thousands of watercolors, some of which, like these two, were reproduced in their official publications. The complete collection of watercolors is held at the National Agriculture Library.
Elsie E. Lower, Avocado Seedling, 1906, watercolor, 17 x 25 cm. U.S.
Department of Agriculture Pomological Watercolor Collection. Rare and
Special Collections, National Agricultural Library, Beltsville, MD