Continued from <-Heirloom Vegetables in Public Display Gardens, Part 1
A religious community known today for their remarkable furniture and decorative arts, the Shakers were also talented gardeners. They were the first to sell seeds in packets. They also developed and/or popularized many vegetable varieties. Today, that legacy remains alive at Hancock Shaker Village, where two heirloom vegetable gardens feature Shaker varieties. One garden reprises heirlooms from the 1830s. The other fast-forwards 60 years, and displays vegetables from the 1890s.
One of the super-stars among living history museums, Old Sturbridge Village lets visitors step back in time and explore a New England village circa 1830. The gardens here (there are several of them) display a wide variety of period-appropriate heirloom vegetables.
What was it really like to be a Pilgrim? Plimoth Plantation sets aside stereotypes (funny hats, big collars, turkey dinners with pumpkin pie) and lets visitors see real life in 1627. This place is a time-machine. The buildings, fences, and other structures are replicas of the originals. So are the staff, who dress, sound, and act like Pilgrims. Even the livestock are 17th century breeds. The fields and gardens are equally authentic, planted as they are with heirloom vegetables and other crops the Pilgrims would have grown.
The half-acre Childrens Gardens has at least two areas of interest to budding heirloom gardeners. One features vegetables and other plants mentioned in Laura Ingalls Wilder's "Little House" books. The other is a collection of crops Indians grew before 1492. Both collections are part of the Rainbow Area of the Children's Gardens, located near the heart of the MSU campus.
Noted for founding the Grange, Oliver H. Kelley moved from Boston to this farm in 1849. Over the next twenty years, he learned farming and tried his hand at growing a wide variety of crops. Today, the farm re-creates rural life in the 1860s, complete with vegetables of the time.
The nineteenth-century comes to life at the Waltus Watkins mill. The woolen mill, a National Historic Landmark, is the only surviving textile mill with original machinery. The grounds are time-pieces, as well. They feature vegetables, fruit, herbs, and flowers that were grown in Clay County during the 1870s. The farm also has animals, including some rare minor breeds. All in all, a worthy effort.
This museum tracks a lot of the really cool things that happened in the last 4.6 billion years in what is now the Rockies. Landforms changed. Dinosaurs came and went (they have fossils to prove it). So did mammoths and some other pretty amazing animals. Then things got really interesting. Gardeners arrived! Costumed interpreters at this museum's Living History Farm recreate life at a typical Montana farmstead c. 1900, complete with a garden of heirloom vegetables. The garden often includes traditional Native American crops as well as those popular in settlers' gardens. Montana State University operates this museum, and the exhibits here are impressive.
Located on the site of an original American Fur Company trading post, this museum depicts life on the prairie in the mid-nineteenth century. The garden is filled with vegetables that the area's Native Americans grew then, including those famous three sisters (beans, corn, squash), watermelon, and tobacco. These plants are authentic. A pioneer horticulturist got seeds from the Indians 125 years ago, and dedicated gardeners have been keeping them alive ever since.
Colonists arrived at Strawbery Banke circa 1630 not so much to flee religious persecution but for economic gain. The port, which was the colonial capitol, was famed for fishing, boat building, and commerce. Today, the Strawberry Banke Museum explores more than 300 years of history. Exhibits include many early New England buildings, and period gardens and landscapes. The earliest, a kitchen garden, dates from 1696. Others ornamental landscapes explain Victorian, Colonial Revival, a Jewish immigrant garden, World War II Victory Garden, a herb garden, and more. The various gardens all include period-appropriate (and many heirloom) vegetables.
The Howell Living History Farm explores rural New Jersey during the years 1900-1910. Farmers work the land with horses and sow about 40 acres of field crops. They also tend a kitchen garden of vintage vegetables. The farm also hosts an heirloom tomato festival, and several other harvest events in late summer.
Gardens of heirloom vegetables and a barnyard populated with historic farm animals help bring the 19th century to life at the Lippitt Farmstead at the Farmer's Museum.
A dozen gardens, large and small, vegetable and ornamental, span close to 100 years of garden history and show many of the changes that occurred in the 19th century landscape. These gardens, which are clustered around a collection of historic buildings, range in style from a rustic subsistence garden to a high Victorian landscape. All are planted with period-appropriate plants, including heirloom vegetables in several kitchen gardens in the village. Other gardens showcase herbs, antique fruits, flowers, trees, and shrubs. Like the plant materials, the designs were based on seed catalogs, garden books, and similar materials, and are historically accurate. Very cool.
Four centuries in the vegie garden: a late 18th century Colonial, a late 19th century Gilded Age display, 20th century Victory Gardens from WWI and WWII, and a contemporary garden. Each displays period-appropriate varieties and cultural practices.
Champoeg has deep historical roots that stretch across centuries, from the Kalapooya Indians to French-Canadians voyageurs to Oregon Trail emigrants and later farmers and merchants. It was also the place where Oregon's first provisional government was formed in 1843. Today, exhibits and living history events tell these and other stories, including that of Donald Manson, who retired from the Hudson's Bay Company and built a home on the site in about 1862. A small garden of heirloom vegetables and herbs, and an orchard of vintage fruit trees lets visitors see a little of what it was like to be a pioneer.