Rooted in History

Rooted in History: Borage

August 24th, 2016

This flowering herb is an ephemeral delight. Just gazing upon it can lift the spirit, and it is no surprise that the wise herbalists of the past frequently prescribed it as a treatment for depression. Here are some of the wistful and endearing descriptions from these renowned herbalists: In 1597, herbalist John Gerard applied the “flowers in salads to exhilarate and make the mind glad, to the comfort of the heart and driving away of sorrow.” Johann Sauer’s Herbal Cures (1762-1778) relates that the “distilled water of borage delights and enlivens the heart, guards against fainting spells and tremblings of Read More

Rooted in History: Bee Balm, an American Native

August 8th, 2016

A common question from guests in the park while I am out there tending and talking is: are all these plants native? No. Very few are; in fact, there are only two in this garden: Bee Balm (which is intentionally planted) and Mullein (which turns up uninvited, but I find myself its gracious host regardless). The mission of this garden, as mentioned in the previous post, is for it to be relevant to the late 18th century. Many guests are shocked that so few native plants were in regular use by the colonists of this time. Of course our modern understanding of how plants Read More

Planting the Seeds

July 21st, 2016

By Anna Davis-Agostini, M.S. One of the missions of the Friends of Washington Crossing Park is to help modern-day visitors glimpse into the colonial era of the late 1700s. The Friends help to maintain and exhibit the houses in the Colonial Village section of the park, but the best way to fully incorporate the spirit of 1776 into that park area is with an equally historically accurate garden. The petite and quaint curated garden maintained by Washington Crossing Historic Park has more than enough to capture the imagination of late 18th-century life. There would not have been a garden in Read More