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.