Historic gardens

What did your great-grandmother grow in her garden? How did she arrange her garden space? For those who came to America in earlier centuries, what gardening traditions did they bring from their homelands?

Virginia's historic homes & gardens
Pat and Chuck Blackley.
Minneapolis, Minn. : MBI Pub. LLC and Voyageur Press, 2009.
Home to Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in the New World, Virginia is in many ways the birthplace of America and the home of U.S. history.nbsp; It is also literally the birthplace of eight presidents and numerous Revolutionary and Civil War heroes. Virginia was among the wealthiest southern states in the antebellum period, resulting in a long tradition of stately homes on luxuriant plantations. In addition to their elegant architecture and classic southern styling, these homes feature some of the most extravagant and noteworthy gardens on the eastern seaboard. nbsp; From the James River Plantations to the Shenandoah foothills,Virginiarsquo;s Historic Homes and Gardenscelebrates the legendary houses and landscapes of Old Dominion. Virginia natives, the authors travel throughout the state to highlight the best of the famous and lesser-known homes. Including such national landmarks as George Washingtonrsquo;s Mount Vernon and Thomas Jeffersonrsquo;s Monticello, the book brilliantly illustrates the homesrsquo; exteriors and interiors as well as their gardens and landscaping.nbsp;nbsp; Historical details accompany the exquisite color photographs, along with useful information on each sitersquo;s location. List of Feature Houses: Adam Thoroughgood House 1636 Parish Road Virginia Beach, VA 23455 nbsp; Lee Hall Mansion 163 Yorktown Road Newport News, VA 23603 nbsp; Smithrsquo;s Fort Plantation 217 Smith Fort Lane Surry, VA 23883 nbsp; Baconrsquo;s Castle 465 Baconrsquo;s Castle Trail Surry, VA 23883 nbsp; Berkeley Plantation 12602 Harrison Landing Road Charles City, VA 23030 nbsp; Shirley Plantation 501 Shirley Plantation Road Charles City, VA 23030


Flowers and herbs of early America
Lawrence D. Griffith ; photography by Barbara Temple Lombardi.
New Haven, Conn. ; London : Yale University Press, c2008.
"Pennyroyal. All-heal. Love-in-a-mist. Ragged robin. Viper's bugloss. These plants, whose very names conjure up a bygone world, were among the great variety of flowers and herbs grown in America's colonial and early Federal gardens. This sumptuously illustrated book brings this botanical heritage back to life." "Drawing on years of archival research and field trials, Colonial Williamsburg curator of plants Lawrence Griffith documents fifty-eight species of flowers and herbs and explores how they were cultivated and used." "Barbara Lombardi's glorious photographs capture the delicacy and strength of the flowers and herbs. Elegant period hand-colored engravings, watercolors, and woodcuts provide provocative visual counterparts to the modern photography." "This book is a dazzling treat for armchair gardeners and for those who have visited and admired the famous gardens in Colonial Williamsburg's Historic Area. It is also an important contribution to our understanding of colonial and Federal plants and an invaluable companion for today's gardeners, who will appreciate the advice of a master gardener on how to plan, choose appropriate species, and maintain a beautiful period garden."--BOOK JACKET.
The garden : a history in landscape and art
Filippo Pizzoni.
New York : Rizzoli International, 1999, c1997.
Features international, sculpted landscapes from the medieval era through the present.

Today's gardeners can explore the gardening techniques of earlier generations to find old practices that enhance our modern gardens. Learning about the gardens of our ancestors brings a satisfying sense of continuum to a beloved hobby, tending the earth.


Heirloom flowers are open-pollinated varieties that originated fifty or more years ago. Open-pollinated flowers are fertilized by insects, birds or the wind and the resulting seeds will reproduce itself, true to type, from seed.

Heirloom plants, the same varieties that were carefully tended by gardeners of the past, may be appropriate for the gardens of today. Not only are those plants hardy and reliable, many have fabulous scents or other characteristics that have been lost as modern hybrids come on the market.

Old-fashioned flowers : classic blossoms to grow in your garden
Tovah Martin, guest editor.
Brooklyn, NY : Brooklyn Botanic Garden, c2000.
Once-forgotten flowers and the stories behind scores of captivating plants from the past are rediscovered in this fully illustrated volume. Alternately admired and considered out of fashion, these enchanting blossoms have been the bedrock of spectacular bouquets and have provided medicine and food throughout the centuries. This book delves into the history of classic bulbs, ravishing old-garden roses, antique annuals and perennials, heirloom houseplants, and vintage vines. Tips on how to create period floral arrangements and an extensive list of hard-to-find heirloom suppliers make it easy to reintroduce these beloved garden species into a contemporary setting. Keeping vintage flowers available and teaching gardeners how to grow these heirlooms -- this book ensures that neither they and nor their fabulous history will disappear.
Heirloom flowers : vintage flowers for modern gardens
Tovah Martin ; consultants, Diane Whealy and Marilyn Barlow ; photographs by David Cavagnaro.
New York, NY : Fireside, c1999.
A guide to growing & preserving heirloom varieties of flowers.

Some modern gardeners want to embellish their old homes with historically correct period gardens. Because garden trends change over time and differ in geographic areas matching an architectural style to an authentic period garden design can be challenging.

  • For instance, a small Victorian cottage would have had a utilitarian kitchen garden, different from the ornamental gardens that would be found on a large estate.
  • Specific fruits and vegetables were fashionable during specific times, and it can be fascinating detective work to find the varieties that would have been popular during one time and place.

Recreating a period garden and working with plants of yesteryear provides a link to our past that modern gardeners enjoy.

Article by: St. Louis Public Library staff