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Add History and Fun to the Garden with Heritage Plants

Add a bit of history to your garden with heritage plants. Also called heirloom plants, these flowers, edibles, trees and shrubs maintained their traits over time as they were passed along from one generation to the next.

Impress young gardeners with the Marshmallow Plant (Althaea officinalis hardy in Zones 4 – 9). A relative of the hollyhock, the French took the plant’s root and added sugar, egg and a binding agent to create a fluffy white candy.  

You’ll need to look up to enjoy these giant lilies (Lilium superbum hardy in zones 4 to 7). In 1783 the #1 plant catalogue called it “the most magnificent and showy native American species.”

Add a bit of flavor and fragrance to the shade with the native wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens hardy in zones 3 to 8). The glossy green leaves and edible fruit have the smell and flavor of wintergreen. In 1876 The Garden Journal said “Gaultheria procumbens is in absolute perfection and beautiful – first, as regards its bell-shaped blossoms and afterwards its berries.”

A bit more information: Add more history lessons to your gardening experience by learning more about others who found gardening and horticulture as interesting as you.  Thomas Jefferson is known by most for his political career, but he was also an expert plantsman. In 1811 he wrote “No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth and no culture comparable to that of the garden.”

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