12 Herbs for the Colonial Garden27 November 2010 | In Gardening | The Herb Companion 1 December 2010 issue
Written by: Jeanne Grunert
The Colonial garden served as the apothecary, perfumery and spice rack for the average household. Gardens graced both the farmyard and the city home. The first Colonial herb gardens were primarily kitchen gardens planted with herbs, fruits, flowers and vegetables. Later, as the colonists' wealth increased, separate gardens were sometimes added to grow only flowers for pleasure, such as Thomas Jefferson's flower walk at Monticello or the formal beds at Mount Vernon, George Washington's home. Herbs served many purposes. In an age when meat was the primary fare, herbs enlivened meals and provided added nutrition. The plants also brightened wardrobes. According to Laura Viancour, Colonial Williamsburg's manager of garden programs, tansy, parsley, madder, walnut and bayberry were just a few of the many plants used to create dyes that would change last year's frock into this year's fashion for the frugal Colonial woman.
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