Historic Gardens

Recipe for Martha Washington’s Great Cake

by Seasonal Wisdom on November 12, 2012

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Today’s famous foodies and stylish hostesses could learn a lot from Martha Washington. In the early days of the United States, George Washington’s wife was renowned for her hospitality and cooking. As the first First Lady, she entertained thousands of guests at Mount Vernon and helped establish the young nation’s culinary tastes.

Travel back to 18th-century Virginia as Seasonal Wisdom brings you an authentic recipe for Martha Washington’s Great Cake — as well as a modernized version — just in time for the holidays… Photo copyright Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association. Read the full article →

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Post image for Interview with Peter Hatch about Monticello’s Historic Gardens

Thomas Jefferson was the third president of the United States, author of the Declaration of Independence and father of the University of Virginia. But in his heart, he was a gardener. “No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, and no culture comparable to that of the garden,” wrote Thomas Jefferson in 1811.

Few know this better than Peter Hatch, who for nearly 35 years maintained, interpreted and restored the 2,400 acre landscape at Jefferson’s Monticello. Recently, Seasonal Wisdom met the renowned historian — a month before he retired — to discuss the gardens, his new book and why Jefferson was our nation’s first foodie. Take a peek… Read the full article →

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George Washington: One of Our First Foodies (Plus a Recipe!)

July 2, 2012
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Imagine traveling back to the earliest days of the United States, and having the chance to dine with the first president, George Washington, and his wife Martha at Mount Vernon, their plantation on the Potomac River. Ingredients for your meal would have come from this attractive Lower Garden. The kitchen garden supplied farm-to-table vegetables, fruits […]

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A Garden Tour of Mount Vernon

June 26, 2012
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“No estate in United America is more pleasantly situated than this …,” declared George Washington about his beloved home, Mount Vernon. The first president of the United States was not only a wartime hero, he also was a farmer who worked tirelessly for nearly 50 years to expand his plantation to 8,000 acres. Take a […]

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Garden Tips from The Past

March 11, 2012
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This is the time of year when even city folks start to dream of a little garden of their own. After the winter months, these warmer days have long inspired weather proverbs, poems and superstitions, as you’ll see from these old garden tips from long ago.

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Great Garden Advice from Thomas Jefferson

June 5, 2011
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Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States, was the author of the Declaration of Independence and founded the University of Virginia. But he also was a highly knowledgeable gardener and farmer. At Monticello, he grew 330 varieties of vegetables, 170 fruit varieties and amazing flower gardens, such as these larkspurs (Consolida orientalis) growing in the […]

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Vintage School Book Teaches Kids About Soil

June 2, 2011
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Vintage magazines, cookbooks and educational materials offer wonderful ways to better understand our culture in earlier times. Often featuring delightful illustrations or old photographs, these vintage periodicals can be found at garage sales, flea markets, library bookstores, and antique markets for a couple dollars. Recently, I found a school booklet from 1953, published by the National Wildlife Federation. Nearly […]

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The Story Behind the White House Garden

June 17, 2009

The seeds of the newly built White House kitchen garden were sown long before the Obama family arrived in the nation’s capital last January. In fact, the idea started the year before at a much smaller white house in Maine on a cold February day. Not the best time for outdoor gardening, but definitely a […]

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Great Victory Garden Resource

April 8, 2009

So, now that you’ve learned a bit about the Victory Gardens in WWI/WWII — not to mention how one artist interprets The Victory Garden of Tomorrow — are you hooked yet? Want to learn more about Victory Gardens? No problem. Just get yourself over to Red, White and Grew. It’s a wonderful clearinghouse of resources, […]

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A Historian Looks Back at Victory Gardens

April 5, 2009

Imagine a world where millions of healthy kitchen gardens are created throughout the nation, for the rich and the poor, because the government makes it the patriotic thing to do. Is this idea some wild and strange utopian concept? Nope. It’s happened before in the United States. In fact, the seeds of this initiative sprouted […]

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