Garden History and Historic Gardens of the Northeast

Flower border - The Path to Gardens Past


About This Site

The purpose of this site is to rediscover and examine the gardens that our ancestors grew in the rural and small villages of the Northeast U. S from the Colonial period to the present. We must remember that our gardening predecessors created beautiful and productive gardens with fewer plant species than we have available and with fewer varieties of those species. That did not make their gardens in any way inferior to ours, and it did not make their pleasure as gardeners any less than ours.

We will look at the plants that were available during various periods and places and the ways that they were made available. We will look at their uses as well as the cultivation tools and methods that our earlier gardeners worked with. We will look at the histories and origins of the plants that have made their way into our gardens and look at their domestication and development.

We will illustrate the pages, wherever possible, with color photos of the plants discussed, and we want to include pictorial visits to reenactment heritage gardens that are brought to our attention. We are particularly interested in the cottage garden or the farmstead gardens more than the formal gardens around our big estates. Those already have good coverage and publicity and don't need our attention as much.

Another purpose, I have to confess, is to give me my gardening "fix" during the months when we are garden-deprived and it's too early to start seeds. We can "garden" to our heart's content here on the Internet any month of the year and regardless of the weather. [I unplug for lightning].

Where We're Going - Site Subjects

At this very early stage most of the categories you see at the left are intentions and are not yet created. [I have put asterisks in front of the titles that are live links]. They can give you an outline of our intentions in developing this site. I am linking in some articles that have appeared in the past on my "other website."  Tri-Counties    If  you or your historical society or garden club have a period - heritage garden let me know about it. If you already have it on a website, I can link to it. If it is near enough for me to drive to, I may want to visit and photograph it to feature it on this site. []

Developing the site as I have planned will take months or years. This is my second major site. The first was started in 1996 and takes a lot of time, also. It, too, will never be finished but will always be under development.

The Path - How We'll Get There

This Garden History site is under development from February 2008. We are starting with a concept of what we intend to develop, or hope to develop and will let it grow from there. Your article submissions and ideas will be welcome. As of this writing, we are full of ideas and have a long way to go to implement them. We have taken the first steps.

We hope that is is not presumptuous of us to create this site when there are organizations fully devoted to the subject and with far more expertise than I can claim. However, my own search of the Internet finds links to subscribe to journals on the subject, which are no doubt excellent. What I can't find are the articles that I need to understand what was grown when and where and how. What I did find is scattered in fragments all over but in no place is it pulled together in a comprehensive coverage of the subject. That is what I hope to create here, and I welcome any articles and photos to help reach that goal.

About Us | Site Map | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | ©2008 Joyce M.Tice

Robert Buist -

Colonial Gardens -

1834 Athens food supply  - 1910 Memoir of Elizabeth Corneby on Tri-Counties Site

Bibliography - Recommended reading and Sources used in developing this site.

Books & Magazines
Better Homes & Gardens, January 1930, February 1930 issues
Colonial Dames of America, Herbs & Herb Lore of Colonial America, Dover Publications, 1995
Cooke-Brown, Alice, Early American Herb Recipes, Dover Publications, 1966/1994
Dutton, Jane Perry, Plants of Colonial Williamsburg. Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, 1979
Favretti, Rudy F, & Gordon P. DeWolf, Colonial Gardens, Barre Publishers, 1972
Flower Grower, the Home Gardener's Magazine, May 1949
Leighton, Ann, American Gardens in the Eighteenth Century "For Use or for Delight" U. of Mass, Press, 1986
Leighton, Ann, American Gardens in the Nineteenth Century, "For Comfort & Affluence" U. of Mass. Press, 1987 
Leighton, Ann, Early American Gardens "For Meate or Medicine." U. of Mass. Press, 1986. 
Sumner, Judith. American Household Botany; a History of Useful Plants 1620-1900, Timber Press 2004 
Taylor, Raymond L., Plants of Colonial Days, Dover Publications, 1959/1996
Weishan, Michael, The New  Traditional Garden, Ballantine, 1999
Wiles-Adams, Denise, Restoring American Gardens, An Encyclopedia of Heirloom Ornamental Plants 1640-1940, Timber Press, 2004
Wilson, Gilbert L., Native AmericanGardneing, Dover Publications. 2005
Seed and Nursey Catalogs in my Collection
Burpee Seed List 1889 - Vegetables
Burpee Seed Catalogs 1915 [CD], 1933, 1934, 1939, 1952, 1957, 1969, 1976, 2008
Emlong's Selected Fruits for Farm & Garden (catalog), 1927
Harris Seeds - Seeds, Plants, Supplies 1946
Jackson & Perkins, 1942  Parade of Roses, 1980 Seedbook,
Interstate Nurseries 1942
Maloney & Wells, Your 1919 Catalog, 1919
Maule's Seed Book, 1942
R. H. Shumway, Seedsman, 1942, 1948, 1952
Stark Bro's, Catalog of Stark Seeds, 1927, 1944/45?
The Ackerman Nurseries, A Complete Line of Nursery Stock, 1949
Three Springs Fisheries - Waterlilies, 1950
Wayside Gardens, Guide to Fall Planting, 1940
Counter installed 23 FEB 2008 - gardens.dat Tip From Joyce - Use the Gardens Partition to search just the garden part of this site. Also try the Diaries Partition with "garden" as your search criteria to read about our early diarists'mention of their garden work.
Site Search by PicoSearch