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Colonial Herb Garden restored at Wilton Historical Society

Wilton Historical Society - 1740 Colonial Herb Garden
Wilton Historical Society

The Wilton Historical Society located on 224 Danbury Road is celebrating the completion of a three year garden project on July 17 from 4 p.m. - 7 p.m. All are welcome to tour this authentic colonial herb garden that is accurate to the year 1740 at the historic Betts House. The garden is in full summer splendor and is fragrant with lavender and thyme and embellished by beautiful summer blossoms. Knowledgeable docents will be on hand to explain how the garden has been constructed and light refreshments and wine will also be available.

The colonial herb garden is traditionally divided into four sections, herbs for dying are located in one area, culinary, medicinal and those herbs used for potpourri are located in the remaining three sections. The house that the garden surrounds was built in 1740 and the Fairfield County Agricultural Extension Center has been working with Jackie Algon, Master Gardener and volunteer and many other volunteers at the Society for three years to make this garden historically accurate in keeping with its surroundings. This group has worked on the garden for the past three growing seasons that is now ready to be enjoyed by the public.

The renovation project of the existing garden included removing "non-historical" plants and planting those that would have been used in the 1740's. The garden has a printed guide and markers making viewing this garden educational and enjoyable. There are many unusual herbs to be seen in the garden. Penny Royal for example was a mint used for flavoring soup, another herb, Rue was used for joint stiffness, Skirret was used to flavor stews and Wrinkled Rose provided Vitamin C to prevent scurvy.

In addition to the new herb garden, the Wilton Historical Society's summer show called Connecticut Tools of the Trade from the Walter R.T. Smith Collection displays a diverse number of tools Connecticut farmers would have used prior to the Industrial Revolution. The tools on exhibition date from 1772 - 1890 and represent a multitude of hand tools that were used in order to make things like baskets, oxen yokes or tools used to cut hay or ice that were necessary to survive.

In an adjacent gallery there is a Tavern Sign and Painting exhibition by Heidi Howard. This is a contemporary view of colonial signs painted on hand planed 100 to 200 year old wood.

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