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!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Spring Freeze

Spring may be here, but the cold is not quite ready to leave us. Our summery temperatures a couple weeks ago spoiled us, but we are back to more seasonable weather. For the second time since the official start of spring almost two weeks ago, we are expecting freezing temperatures overnight. As with our last freeze warning, I took some time this afternoon to cover the vulnerable plants and seedlings in the garden to protect them from the frost and cold.

I used old sheets, large burlap cocoa bean sacks, and straw to cover up the tender seedlings as well as some of the perennial herbs with vulnerable new growth. Hopefully it will keep the frost off the leaves and insulate the plants for in the wee hours of the morning.
Strawberries under a sheet

During the first frost I neglected to cover most of the hardier perennial plants, but a few of them were nipped by the frost. They will recover just fine, but I have taken care to cover those plants this time.
Marjoram with frost damage

Sage with frost damage

Lemon Balm with frost damage

Despite some cold nights, seedlings both indoors and outside are doing well. For the seedlings outside, it's just a matter of keeping some very invasive vines at bay, keeping the beds moist, and letting the plants do their work. Indoor seedlings should be ready for potting up soon and the cabbage plants can be moved outside. The next batch of seedlings should be along very shortly.


Leaf Lettuce





  1. What potting soil did you use? What age are the seedlings seen at the bottom?

    1. It is a mixture of good dirt from outside and potting soil leftover from some old nursery flats. Nothing very special. The age on those seedlings ranges from one week to a month and a half. The oldest seedlings got off to a bad start, so they aren't as big as they should be, but are very healthy now.

  2. Have you ever found any war (or other era) artifacts when tending to the soil? What happens to them?

    1. No, we haven't really found anything to speak of in the garden. If we find anything interesting we might keep it in the kitchen, but nothing worth mentioning. Bits of glass, tiny ceramic sherds, bits of brick we just ignore. I am always looking though.