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!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

A Search for Plants - Your Help is needed!

I did not get a chance to post to the blog yesterday because we were so busy here at the Pry House Field Hospital Museum and I was hopping! If you have not yet  come to pay us a visit, it's supposed to be a beautiful weekend coming up!

Don't mind the weeds!!!

The Pry Garden has really expanded this year. We have some new medicinal plants this year that we have never before been able to display at the Pry House. Nevertheless, there are still so many more plants which were used as medicine by Union and Confederate armies, as well as civilians on the home front. I would like to add as many as possible into our exhibit at the Pry House Field Hospital Museum.

Some new additions:

Fringed Bleeding Heart/Cranesbill

Milk Thistle


To expand the collection, I am turning to friends, family, and my other blog followers. Below is a list of the plants which I am most keep to obtain for transplant into the garden. I thought people would enjoy seeing a list of the kinds of things that I am looking for. Many of them are native, most can theoretically be found in the wild in our region.

Indian Tobacco, a species of Lobelia, is native to our region


Those listed in bold are specifically listed by the Confederate Medical Department during the Civil War.

Spreading Dogbane / Fly-Trap Dogbane - Apocynum androsaemifolium
Hemp Dogbane / Indian Hemp / Rheumatism Root - Apocynum cannabinum
Yellow Lady’s Slipper - Cypripedium pubescens
Pipsissewa / Prince’s Pine - Chimaphila umbellata
Hemlock - Conium maculatum
(Black) Henbane / Stinking Nightshade - Hyoscyamus niger
Senega Root - Polygala Senega
Queen’s Delight - Stillingia sylvatica
Lobelia / Indian Tobacco - Lobelia inflata
Burdock - Arctium lappa or minus
Goldenseal - Hydrastis canadensis
Steeplebush or Hardhack - Spiraea tomentosa
American Gentian - Gentiana Catesbaei
American Columbo or Yellow Gentian - Frasera caroliniensis
Flowering Spurge - Euphorbia corollata
Indian Physic or Bowman’s Root - Gillenia trifoliata
Horse Gentian or Feverwort - Triosteum
Virginia Snakeroot - Aristolochia serpentaria
American Centaury / Rosepink - Sabatia angularis
American Wormseed - Dysphania Anthelmintica or Chenopodium ambrosioides
Fleabane - Erigeron
American or Wild Senna - Senna hebecarpa
False or Indian Hellebore - Veratrum viride
American Wintergreen /Teaberry /Checkerberry /Boxberry /Partridgeberry- Gaultheria procumbens
Woody Nightshade /Bittersweet /Bitter Nightshade /Fellenwort - Solanum ducamara
Calamus /Sweet Flag - Acorus calamus
Skunk Cabbage - Symplocarpus foetidus
Sesame Plant - Sesamum indicum
Blue Vervain - Verbena hastata
Agrimony / Agrimonia
Mad-dog Skullcap - Scutellaria lateriflora
Self-heal / All-heal - Prunella vulgaris
Oxalis / Wood Sorrel - Oxalis acetosella
Colt’s Foot - Tussilago farfara
Compass Plant/Flower - Silphium laciniatum
Prairie Dock - Silphium terebinthinaceum
Sweet Everlasting/Rabbit Tobacco - Gnaphalium obtusifolium (Not Life Everlasting, a sedum)
Mugwort/Felon Herb/Chrysanthemum Weed/Wild Wormwood - Artemisia vulgaris
Pilewort/Fireweed - Erechtites hieracifolia
Toothwort/Crinkle Root - Cardamine diphylla
Wahoo - Euonymus atropurpureus
Indian Hellebore is native to the Eastern US and was used commonly by both
Union and Confederate Surgeons.

I can afford to purchase plants from commercial sources, but these have either been too tricky to find, or have proved to be prohibitively expensive. If anyone knows of a good and affordable source for these specimens, please let me know! If you have any of these plants, live near us, and would like to donate some to the Pry Garden, I would be ever so grateful!

Bittersweet/Woody Nightshade - native to Europe and Asia, but is a problematic
 invasive species in North America. Unfortunately for me, I can't find it here!

Please do not go trespassing on private property to find these plants or remove them from the wild if it is illegal to do so!

Goldenseal is a native but endangered species in Maryland.
It is still a very popular medicinal plant.