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Vt. colonists knew about herbs; learn their secrets at museum in Addison

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Posted on August 17, 2017 |
By Addison Independent



n Herb Garden DAR.jpg
THE HERB GARDEN at the DAR John Strong Mansion Museum is being restored to its colonial-era glory as part of the UVM Extension Master Gardener Project. A talk on how herbs were used in the colonial era will be given at the Strong Mansion on Saturday, Aug. 19, at 1 p.m.

ADDISON — The first settlers of Vermont had to depend on trade, hunting, and growing their own vegetables and herbs. Herbs were not only grown and foraged to make food more flavorful but were also used to heal wounds, to cure ailments, for cleaning and to deter pests.

To shed more light on the value of herbs to colonial era households, the Vermont Daughters of the American Revolution will hold a free event at the John Strong Mansion Museum in Addison on Saturday, Aug. 19, at 1 p.m. ?Susan Ferland, curator of the mansion, will be giving a talk entitled: “Herbs: A Colonial Housewife’s First Defense.”

The John Strong Mansion Museum — a more than 200-year-old home of a Revolutionary War Patriot and his family — is the oldest home on the Vermont side of Lake Champlain and is open to the public. The museum’s herb garden is in its first season as a UVM Extension Master Gardener Project, being restored to one typical of the colonial era, with herbs that would have been appropriate for that time period.

On Sunday, June 11, a group of UVM Extension Master Gardeners and DAR volunteers showed up to work on the gardens. Criteria for the garden restoration require that it be low maintenance, easily accessible for the older generations, planted with herbs that were used in the colonial era, and serve as a pollinator garden. Steps up to the garden and a rock pathway through the garden bed were constructed to help museum visitors look at all the different herbs and learn about the different uses. The herb garden is a work in progress. They workers are slowly improving the soil quality and incorporating more colonial herbs.

The mansion is open for guided tours on Saturdays and Sundays from Memorial Day to Labor Day, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 

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