Rooted in History: Spring’s Messenger

April 6th, 2017 Rooted in History

Welcome back to Rooted in History! Spring is all about new beginnings, so let’s begin.

This is always an exciting and busy time of the year for gardeners. My first focus of the year is the Hibbs garden. The work began by raising the bricks around the beds so that the pathway stones will not bleed into the new and rich soil. Then a nice new layer of organic (always organic) soil is laid on weed-free and well turned earth. All of this is preparation for the new seedlings, which went in yesterday. Most of what you see when visiting the park garden is raised from seed (non-GMO, organic, and heirloom). This serves several purposes; cost efficiency, historic accuracy, and replenishes the annuals. The vegetables are all started from seed, Blue-podded Capucijner peas, Sugar Beets, Early Blood Turnip-Rooted Beets, Martoc and Windsor Fava Beans, Long Island Cheese Pumpkins, and Patty-Pan squash. I am still hoping to obtain some Early Scarlet Horn Carrots seeds as well.

In hopes of higher production, Calendula seeds have been planted as well as Chamomile, as they are and will play a prominent role in educational programs at the park. Some of last years plants have reseeded, already cropping up are the Corn Poppies, which really liven up the garden and will soon improve the Taylorsville Homes as well. Milk Thistle and Borage are also making an early appearance. The Florentine Irises make for a showy return every year and have been dispersed around the garden plots to liven them with a bit of early beauty. Here are the perennials that are already looking promising: Rhubarb, Comfrey, Lovage, and Mountain Mint.

To be fair, seeds are always a risk. The threats to germination are many: late frost, heavy downpours that wash them away, birds, and sometimes, they are just impotent. At the moment it looks as if the crazy gardener has only planted sticks, as I use them to mark out seed locations. Fingers crossed, here’s to a new bountiful season!

As the garden is not quite picture worthy yet, here’s a little hopeful picture from the park. The main star of this picture show being Ranunculus ficaria known by many common names: Lesser Celandine, Pilewort, Fig Buttercup, and my favorite, Spring’s Messenger.


Such a joyful sight in Spring, a carpet of green capped with sunbursts of yellow.

An exciting additional note:

Washington Crossing Historic Park (PA) will host New York Times bestselling author Andrea Wulf on Sunday, April 9 at 2 PM at the park’s visitor center. Wulf will discuss her book, Founding Gardeners, which tells the story of how gardening and farming shaped the thinking of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and other founding fathers. The book looks at the revolutionary generation from the unique and intimate perspective of their lives as gardeners, plantsmen and farmers.

I couldn’t be more thrilled! I will be attending and working both the lecture and reception, please feel free to seek me out for a gardening chat.