Heirloom Garden at the National Museum of American History, Behring Center
Highlights plants passed down from generation to generation
The Smithsonian Heirloom Garden highlights many types of plants that have been passed down from generation to generation. The plants chosen for this garden have been cultivated in American gardens prior to 1950. Filled with annuals, perennials, bulbs, shrubs and trees, the Heirloom Garden brings wonderful color and aroma to the terrace which wraps around the National Museum of American History.
Although many of these plants are considered "old-fashioned" and not frequently seen in modern gardens, it is hoped that you will be inspired to grow one or more of these heirlooms in your own garden.
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Listen to this audio tour of the Heirloom Garden to learn how its plants were used in early American medicine and folk traditions.
Books Related to Heirloom Plants
- American Horticultural Society A – Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants. American Horticultural Society. D. K. Publishing, Inc., 2004.
- Passalong Plants. Steve Bender and Felder Rushing. University of North Carolina Press, 1993.
- The Edible Rainbow Garden. Rosalind Creasy. Periplus Editions, 2000.
- Heirloom Flowers: Vintage Flowers for Modern Gardens. Tovah Martin. Fireside, 1999.
- Gardening with Heirloom Plants. David Stuart. Putnam Group, 1998.
- Seed Sowing and Saving: Step-by-Step Techniques for Collecting and Growing More than 100 Vegetables, Flower, and Herbs. Carole B. Turner. Storey Communications, Inc., 1998.
- Taylor's Guide to Heirloom Vegetables. Benjamin Watson. Houghton Mifflin Company, 1996.
- Heirloom Vegetable Gardening. William Woys Weaver. Henry Holt and Co., 1997.
- Garden Seed Inventory. Kent Whealy. Seed Savers Exchange, 1999.
- Heirloom Flower Gardens: Rediscovering and Designing With Classic Ornamentals. Jo Ann Gardner. Chelsea Green Publishing, 2001.
- Restoring American Gardens: An Encyclopedia of Heirloom Ornamental Plants 1640-1940. Denise Wiles Adams. Timber Press, 2004.
- The Garden’s Guide to Life: Timeless Lessons Based on the Principles of Gardening. Criswell Freeman, Editor. Walnut Group, 1997.
This is not meant to be a complete list of reference material related to heirloom gardens. Plant images by Smithsonian's Smithsonian Gardens staff and interns.