Continuing yesterday’s post about my experience at George Washington’s Mount Vernon…
The garden tours continued with a short walk along the serpentine walk to the Lower Garden. This was the main kitchen garden (fruits, vegetables, herbs) and under the direction of Martha Washington during her tenure at Mount Vernon. There is considerable documentation about the plants that were grown in the garden; one bit of trivia: Martha Washington liked artichokes! The lavender that grew around one bed seemed to be doing particularly well this year.
The garden was reconstructed in 1938….in a Colonial Revival style. Prior to that time the focus has been on the mansion rather than the grounds.
Our group exited the Lower Garden toward the East Lawn of the mansion. We got a closer view of the scaffolding for the façade renovation project….and the walked far enough away to see the whole of the mansion.
But the theme of the conversation was about the view….pointing out the minor changes but also the success that buying and conserving the land on the Maryland side has had on preserving the view shed of Mount Vernon. This is the view down river.
We walked to the chairs on the river-side porch of the mansion and I took a picture upriver too. During Washington’s time the river would have been deeper (a lot of silting has happened since the 1700s) and there was a lot of boat traffic; It was also full of fish….actively harvested. Washington grew hemp to make rope for nets!
Then it was time for a late lunch (most of us ate our box lunch outside on the library grounds – at tables on the porch or park benches). Then it was time to pick up a ‘goodie bag’ – plants and seeds! This year the plants included: chocolate mint, blackberry lily, spearmint, cardinal flower, pink turtlehead, and obedient plant. The seeds were larkspur, Purple columbine and spider flower. I have the plants on some shelves in a south facing window….will have to buy some pots to keep them happy through the winter. Then I’ll be putting them outside in the spring. The seeds will be planted next spring…and I hope they survive our deer population! There was a bar of bayberry scented soap which I unwrapped and have in my office….a pleasant scent to enjoy through fall and winter.
Overall – this was a fabulous volunteer appreciation event.