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New Saltbox - needs authentic garden design

Posted by saltbox_2006 Illinois (My Page) on
Sun, Aug 6, 06 at 15:48

This is my first posting to this site, but have been extremely impressed with the helpful responses to others seeking information, and hope that I can pick a few brains out there... I have recently completed an updated version of a late 18th Century Saltbox home. Though we live in Illinois, my wife and I feel a deep affinity to the Early American/Colonial home and lifestyle. We have a large area that we are dedicating to our garden (60X60) which is expandable as time goes by. We are not looking for a formal design, but more the informal country-colonial look of perennials, fruit trees, etc... Everything we've been able to find has been either too formal and rigid or too informal and overgrown looking. Our tastes run more to a middle ground. Any and all tips and resources would be greatly appreciated.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: New Saltbox - needs authentic garden design

I don't visit this forum often, but popped in today to see what's going on. Period gardens would have had a geometric layout, which does not necessarily mean formal. Filled with perennials, herbs, roses, and whatever else you want to grow, even straight-lined beds will have an informal look. When I think of strictly formal, I think topiary, lawn, and hardscape, not masses of flowers.

You can use a layout for your gardens that relates to the style and lines of the house and still have a relaxed look. Check out Gordon Hayward's website and books, especially "Your House, Your Garden" for a common-sense approach to laying out a landscape.

RE: New Saltbox - needs authentic garden design

  • Posted by elizh z5/6 MA (My Page) on
    Sun, Nov 26, 06 at 10:45

Do you ever travel to New England? If so you could check out Old Sturbridge Village in MA. ( Their time point is slightly later (1837), but the houses and gardens represent a range from town to rural and rich to poor. In town, the rich general (in a Greek Revival mansion) has a pleasure garden that is similar in scale to yours, with a lovely pergola. The minister (in a more basic house) has a veg. garden. I think there must be a saltbox but can't remember for sure.

One issue with period gardens is that most ordinary people didn't have as much time and energy for ornamentals as we do. Maybe just a few right near the house. In my mind's eye, the main garden of a saltbox is going to be a vegetable garden, with the structure coming from corn and bean poles as well as the fruit trees. If you don't feel like having a vegetable garden, you could still consider growing scarlet runner beans or hyacinth beans (dolichos lablab) as flowering vines...

I can come up with pointers to plant lists, and to some other example gardens.


RE: New Saltbox - needs authentic garden design

I also live in a Saltbox which was built in the 18th century and found alot of my inspiration at Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth NH. The Sherburne Garden & Orchard is a period example, and like elizh said it focuses on the kitchen garden. They have a bookstore, you may be able check it out online.

Here is a link that might be useful: Strawbery Banke Gardens

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