The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Early American flower gardens

Bee balm I was amused to see that most of the flowers in my garden were already being planted in New England gardens before 1700.  These included sunflowers, columbine, crocuses, bee balm, grape hyacinth, evening primrose, star-of-bethlehem, and tulips.  I didn't set out to plant old-fashioned flowers, but I think that the early colonists, cottage gardeners, and I all share similar notions about flowers --- there's little time in our lives to tend to them, so the blooms had better take care of themselves and also have a use.

Like cottage gardeners in England, American colonists transplanted easy to care for wildflowers into their meresteads.  Of course, these were different wildflowers than the colonists had at home, but they're probably familiar to you --- milkweed, butterflyweed, celandine poppy, larkspur, wood lily, cardinal flower, musk mallow, forget-me-not, and black-eyed susan are some examples.  When I was in high school, I was also prone to transplant wildflowers into my garden and I gave over half of these flowers a shot.  It sounds like I should probably consider the other flowers used by the early colonists since the plants are likely to be right up my alley.

The early spring ephemerals currently blooming in the woods are highlighted in my new ebook.

This post is part of our Early New England Gardens lunchtime series.  Read all of the entries:

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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