In the 18th century, gardens provided plants essential for making food and beverages, medicine, and other household items. As part of its mission to educate the public about 18th century life, the Friends of Washington Crossing Park cultivate three gardens: the Historic Village Garden, the Hibbs House Kitchen Garden, and the Thompson-Neely Farmstead Garden.
Please note: the gardens at Washington Crossing Historic Park are not pick-your-own. We rely on some of our plantings for public and educational events.
Any questions? Get in touch with Anna Davis-Agostini, Historical Horticulturist at Washington Crossing Historic Park.
The Hibbs House Kitchen Garden
The Hibbs House Kitchen Garden will soon encompass several hundred different species of plants—each accurate to 1776 or earlier, and likely to have been grown in Bucks County at the time. The garden grows culinary and medicinal herbs. The garden features a tool shed and large trellis, which are both historically-accurate timber-framed structures that use traditional joinery to form the connections.
Numerous activities will be offered to both seasonal visitors on tours and to the thousands of schoolchildren who visit the park each year for field trips. Educational opportunities at the Hibbs House Kitchen Garden include:
- Exploration of garden plants used in medicine and cooking
- Discussions of native, non-native and invasive plant
- Demonstrations of broom-making, cooking, and natural dyeing
- Sowing and harvesting programs
Support is needed for:
- Preparation of the ground prior to installation
- Fencing, signage and accessible walkways
- Training for historical interpreters and guides
- Period-accurate gardening tools, watering cans, containers, and tools for guests who participate in demonstrations
Your gift can make a direct impact in this project. Contribute to the Hibbs House Garden Project on our website. Checks can also be mailed to: The Friends of Washington Crossing Park, PO Box 1776, Washington Crossing, PA 18977.
Hibbs House Garden Project Donors
- Albert W. Bader Foundation
- Bucks Beautiful
- John and Joanne Godzieba
- Lower Delaware Wild and Scenic River
- McLean Contributionship
- Trigiano Foundation
The Historic Village Garden
Photo by Dawn Brooks
The oldest garden at Washington Crossing Historic Park, the Historic Village garden is located across the path from the Hibbs House Garden. It features vegetables and culinary and medicinal herbs, including bee balm, calendula, chamomile, poppies, wormwood, and more.
All plants in this garden are relevant to 1776 or earlier, and they must have likely been grown in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, at that time.
Learn more about the Historic Village Garden:
- Planting New Opportunities for Historical Education
- New Structures Add Another Dimension to Hibbs House Garden
- Rooted in History: St. John’s Wort, Corn Poppy, Borage, Spring’s Messenger, Bee Balm
- Planting the Seeds
The Thompson-Neely Farmstead Garden
Located two miles north of Washington Crossing Historic Park’s Visitor Center and Historic Village, the Thompson-Neely Farmstead Garden grows ornamentals, vegetables, and culinary and medicinal herbs in about 700 square feet of space. The garden offers multiple beds, including a road-facing ornamental bed along the fence-line and seven in-ground beds down a small flight of steps on the side of the building.
The main section of the Thompson-Neely House Garden is located directly off the basement kitchen and a few steps from the building’s original kitchen. The area is sheltered and receives ample sunlight. While the park’s historical horticulturalists have not found documented evidence of a kitchen garden in its modern-day location, the home certainly would have had a kitchen garden, and its modern-day placement is a likely spot.
The park’s historical horticulturalists hope to grow plants appropriate to wool-dying in this garden. They’re currently growing a small batch of wheat and have successfully grown corn in the garden. The corn grown here, Sehsapsing Delaware Black Flint, is believed to be the same variety that was grown locally by the indigenous Lenni Lenape. John Pidcock is believed to have had a lively trade relationship with this group.
May 31, 2020: Fever and Sickness in the Continental Army
Park horticulturalists Anna Davis-Agostini and Ross Heutmaker will lead a free tour of the Historic Village garden at 1:00 PM before historian Kim Burdick’s lecture on soldier health inside the Visitor Center. You’ll learn about the plants used in the 18th century to treat fevers and other illnesses. No registration is required for the garden tour, but registration is required for Kim Burdick’s lecture. Learn More
Date TBD: Garden Day
Explore Washington Crossing Historic Park’s historically-accurate gardens and learn how gardening provided food, beverages, medicine, and other household items during the colonial era and beyond. Garden Day is free, open to all, and a perfect opportunity to delve into the gardens at Washington Crossing Historic Park.
July 12, 2020: Bubble Bubble, Herbal Tonics and Teas
On Sunday, July 12 at 11:00 AM, learn how to create tonics and teas for wellness and enjoyment in the Thompson-Neely House Garden. You’ll leave with a little gift to remember the experience. After the workshop, you may wish to take the curator’s tour of the Thompson-Neely House at 1:30 PM. Capacity is limited to 10 people for the curator’s tour, and registration is required. Learn More