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An old Community Garden

  • Subject: [cg] An old Community Garden
  • From: "Sharon Gordon" gordonse@one.net
  • Date: Fri, 5 Sep 2003 10:15:33 -0400
  • Importance: Normal

In late April or early May of 2002, I think we had a discussion on this list
about the oldest community gardens in the US.  I thought I knew of some
really old ones in the Bethabara-Salem areas of NC, USA (central area of
NC).  In checking around I was referred to Dr. Rod Meyer, Director of
Bethabara Park.  So I wrote to ask about them.

Yesterday he sent some interesting info saying that in 1759 the Bethabara
Upland Garten or Community Garden was done as a whole community garden.
They have plot drawings of what was planted in each plot.  Today each
community gardener has a plot which they garden individually.  They can
plant from the colonial plant list and have the same colonial varieties
where available or modern cultivars of those plants, but not plants which
came later to the area like tomatoes and corn.

Bethabara Park also has an exact reconstruction of the community medical
garden, the 1761 Hortus Medicus. "The plants (with the exception of the
opium poppies) are the same plants specified in the colonial plant list and
are planted in the exact same plots indicated on the garden map."

Both the Community Garden area and the Horticus Medicus are in their
original areas.  He notes that "While both gardens are planted in the exact
locations and with the same fencing, summerhouses and arbors indicated on
the maps and confirmed by archaeological investigation, only the medical
garden is an exact reconstruction of the original."

The gardens in Bethabara and in Old Salem are fun to see if you are in the
area.  And if you are visiting as many gardens as you can, walking in the
nearby Reynolda Gardens is also a treat (though on previous visits I have
never known there to be in community gardens).  In Old Salem people who live
there can grow historical flowers, fruits, herbs, and vegetables in various
garden plots, but the system is a bit different from usual community

Bethabara Park

Old Salem

Reynolda Gardens

Article about Bethabara and Old Salem gardens from Traditional Gardening


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