A Statement of Purpose

Since 2012 I have been responsible for
the garden at the Pry House Field Hospital Museum on Antietam National Battlefield. The Pry House garden began as a 19th century style medicinal and kitchen garden, including medicinal plants, herbs, and vegetables. As close as possible, these plants mirrored those available to the Pry Family in the 1860s, meaning heirloom varieties. Since then, the garden has transformed to focus exclusively on medicinal plants, becoming an exhibit of the flora that was employed by military and civilian caregivers in the Civil War Era.

I am strictly an amateur, with no real experience in growing a garden. The purpose of this blog is to document my experiences as I learn by doing. It is anything but authoritative and I welcome any comments and advice for a greenhorn. Please be kind!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


 I have to thank Kevin Walker, historian in the cultural resources division at Antietam National Battlefield, for the contribution of some purple coneflowers, or echinacea purpurea, to the Pry Garden.

Echinacea was used during the 1800s similarly to today, as a treatment for colds, flu, and other common communicable diseases. For reasons that are not entirely known, it boosts the body's natural immune system. Echinacea is a common ingredient in over-the-counter remedies for shortening cold and flu.
Purple Coneflower in bloom


  1. This plant is not goldenseal. I grow goldenseal and can say conclusively that the plant shown above is not golden seal. I am not a botanist, but this plant looks like something in the mint family, perhaps motherwort. A tell-tale sign of mints is a hairy square shaped stem. here is a link for an image of motherwort http://nefaeriaofetsy.blogspot.com/2008/08/herb-profile-motherwort-leonurus.html

  2. Yes you are correct. Thank you for reminding me that this post was never ammended. After this plant was transplanted it became clear that this was not goldenseal, especially when it bloomed. It remained a mystery for a while, but earlier this spring another person here at the museum correctly identified it as Motherwort. For a bit I thought it might be mitrewort but that did not add up either. This is still a good thing though as motherwort was another popular medicinal herb, historically speaking, but to my knowledge it has not retained its popularity as goldenseal has. Regardless, thanks for bringing the lapse to my attention.