Grand opening celebration for Civil War-era garden at Monterey Pass

A crew of volunteers recently planted herbs and vegetables in The Institute’s newly-installed Civil War era interpretive garden. Front row, left to right: Pam Rowland (garden director), Barb Bailey, Maxine Beck, Maggie Rovelstad. Back row: Andy Rovelstad, Tom Beck, Margie Hettich, Faith Ulzheimer. PROVIDED PHOTO

BLUE RIDGE SUMMIT–The public is invited to the grand opening of The Institute’s Civil War era garden on Saturday, May 21, at 1 p.m. at the garden site near the Monterey Pass Battlefield Museum. 

The event will feature a brief program with remarks, garden activity for children, self-guided garden tours, and light refreshments. Admission is free.

Created in partnership with the Friends of the Battle of Monterey Pass, the garden was based on extensive research and was planted by The Institute’s garden director and volunteers. It will be an educational tool for area school children and for visitors to Monterey Pass Battlefield Museum.

“The garden is an interpretation of a Civil War-era garden, not a literal reproduction,” said Pam Rowland, The Institute’s director of education and the garden director. “In addition to traditional vegetables, 19th-century gardens often included a variety of herbs, used for both medicinal and culinary purposes.” 

The garden will have a significant number of such herbs. Many of these were used historically as “backyard medicine” by households, and were also used by surgeons and doctors tending to wounded Civil War soldiers. 

“For example, lamb’s ear was used on wounds,” Rowland said, “and lemon balm was used to relieve headaches.”

The 25-by-28-foot garden is enclosed by an historically-accurate wooden fence, constructed with reproduction 19th-century-style nails. 

With six raised beds and one 24-foot-long bed, the plantings will change from year to year, always with an eye to reflecting period gardens. This year, veggies like rhubarb and onions have been planted with the herbs.

A corps of Institute garden volunteers and Blue Ridge Garden Club members will work with The Institute to maintain the garden throughout the season.

The garden project was made possible through financial support by the M&T Charitable Foundation and Younger Toyota, and in-kind support by GRC General Contractor, Inc. Additional support provided by The Institute’s Today’s Horizon Fund contributors: The Nora Roberts Foundation; The John R. Hershey Jr. and Anna L. Hershey Family Foundation; APX Enclosures, Inc.; and the Carolyn Terry Eddy Family: Carolyn, with daughters Connie Fleagle & Kim Larkin. 

For more information, visit The Institute’s website at, call 717-762-0373, or email to [email protected].

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