Garden Tour: The Sherburne Garden at Stawbery Banke

This weekend we visited Strawbery Banke in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. This is a historic preservation area much like Colonial Williamsburg, but the houses there are interpreted in several different time periods instead of the whole village being in just one era. The time spans from the earliest settlements in Portsmouth in the 17th century through the 1940s and 1950s. In addition to the preserved buildings, there are also several gardens that span the centuries.

The 17th century garden is the Sherburne Garden, and it features raised beds and symmetrical designs that are from the same world of ideas that we looked at while designing our own garden. When you enter the garden through the picket fence, you have a chance to pick up a large map of all the plantings. These are fantastic — everything is color-coded and clearly labeled, including the variety of vegetable you are looking at. This garden runs near a reconstructed stone foundation uncovered in a fairly recent archeological dig at the site:


To the far left is a border of perennial and annual herbs — many of them we have or will soon plant ourselves. The beds with paths around them have some common New England garden vegetables like beets, turnips, parsnips, and lettuces. An orchard of Roxbury Russet apples is in the back.

Here you can see the planting plan provided by Strawbery Banke:


Most of the perennial herbs here have come up, and the apples are just past their peak blossoming. You can see some leftover leeks in the background, and new greens growing in the center bed:


Here Tiegan is using ceramic sprinkling can. It is in the bucket near her feet. It's the kind that you fill by dipping it straight down into a bucket, and you cover a small hole at the top with your thumb to hold the water in. When you are ready to water, you release the hole at the top and water sprinkles out the holes at the bottom. 

This photo also gives some scale for the apple orchard behind Kirk. These are obviously standard trees, but they didn't seem overwhelmingly big to us, and we were heartened by how closely they are planted together. I really like the way they have formed a canopy back there. This gives us something to look forward to as our grow — a mini version of this is in our future, perhaps, as our dwarf trees get bigger each year.

Since it's still pretty early in the season in New Hampshire, this garden is just getting started — there's not too much to see just yet. We enjoyed Strawbery Banke so much that we got a family membership, so we'll be back over the coming months to keep tabs on the progress of each garden as things grow and come into their own. I'm interested to see how these gardens evolve, and how their plants compare to our own as the seasons progress.

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