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Ker Place Herb and Kitchen Garden

The Ker Place Herb and Kitchen Garden project was to design and implement a Jeffersonian-style garden.

The design is based on the Adam Thoroughgood House in Virginia Beach – a house built at the same time as Ker Place.


One of the goals for the project was to use historically accurate herbs and plants for the year 1799. Herbs in colonial times would have been plentiful and inexpensive; spices had to be imported, making them quite expensive. Therefore, the use of spices in the early colonial home would have been limited.

The colonial woman's back-door gardens, along with her larger vegetable gardens, were expected to provide many of the foods, flavorings, medicines and chemicals necessary for a largely self-sufficient household with little cash.


Since most households were isolated from medical care, herbs such as those listed below were used to treat medical ailments:

  • Yarrow
  • Angelica
  • Feverfew
  • Valerian

 

Garden Herbs in 1799  

Below you can see the beauty of the garden when photographed in the summer of 2007. We have provided a list of but a few of the herbs that would have been grown in gardens during John Ker’s time. Several of them are represented in our garden. A brochure is available to show the past and present uses of the plants.

Angelica
Basil
Betony (Lamb’s Ears)
Borage
Burnet
Calamint
Catnip
Celedine
Chamomile
Chervil
Chives
Cloves gillyflowers
Comfrey
Costmary
Cowslip
Dill
Fennel, Sweet
Feverfew
Garlic
Germander
Hollyhock
Honesty
Horehound
Hyssop
Lady’s bedstraw
Lavender
Lavender Cotton
Lemon balm
Lily of the Valley
Lovage
Lungwort
Marjoram, Sweet
Marjoram, Wild (Oregano)
March Mallow
Mullein
Ox-eye daisy
Parsley
Peony
Poppy
Pot marigold
Rose (damask and wild)
Rosemary
Rue
Sage
Savory, summer & winter
Southernwood
Spearmint
St. John’s Wort
Star of Bethlehem
Sweet rocket
Tansy
Tarragon
Thyme
Violets
Wormwood
Yarrow

 

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