The Manager’s House is the oldest building at Allaire dating from between 1750 and 1760. During the 1830s, the Smith family lived in this house. The Manager was responsible for overseeing the village operation while Allaire, the owner, was away. The garden patches in front of the house are planted with flowers and the side garden showcases vegetables and herbs.
Black walnuts are some of the trees surrounding the Manager’s House garden. These trees contain high levels of a chemical called juglone that is toxic to other plants. The hulls, or skin, of the black walnut are often used for dyeing fabric or making ink. It produces a dark brown or black pigment.
Chives are a small herb with lots of thin shoot. These shooting leaves are often chopped and added to dishes. The plant produces purple blossoms in spring that add a splash of color to the garden or salads as they are edible.
Also seen in the Foreman’s Cottage garden, Lemon Balm is a staple for teas and seasonings for food. A tea brewed from the leaves is said to have a calming effect.
Peas and Beans
Not only are peas and beans a good food source but they add nitrogen to the soil. Nitrogen is one of the elements added to fertilize to assist plant growth. Thus any plant that grows near the peas or beans will benefit. Peas and beans historically were food staples because they could be dried and stored for long periods of time. There is a children’s rhyme that goes “peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old,” which may testify to how often it was eaten historically.
This unassuming plant that appears in walkways and fields actually has a long history. Native Americans called this plant “White Man’s Foot” for it seemed to appear where ever the settlers were. The settlers would use plantains as sources of vitamin C and for producing a poultice, or paste, to treat skin rashes or burns.
Purslane is a small unassuming plant that looks somewhat like an x-shaped weed in this garden. The leaves are often used in soups and salads. The plant has a lemony-like taste and is high in omega 3s.
Sage has a wide variety of uses both medicinally and culinary. Sage is often used in dishes both fresh and dry. When it is dried it can be burned to add a sent to the rooms. The leaves can be brewed and served as a calming tea or sage scented water can be used as a face and hair wash.
Rhubarb is a favorite culinary treat. Today we see it most often in pies. When the stalks are red in early spring its time to pick them. The leaves are discarded because they tend to have high levels of oxalic acid which is corrosive. This caused lots of causes of poisoning during World War I, when the British recommended it as a food source.
Rosemary is a fragrant, evergreen that is often used in culinary traditions today. Historically, it had many other uses. It was symbolically used in flower arrangements, funerary services, and artwork to symbolize memory or remembrance. Williams Shakespeare in Hamlet draws attention to this fact by having Ophelia say “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance.” (Hamlet, iv. 5.) Since the Middle Ages, rosemary has been seen as a love charm and young couples were often seen wearing it.
Tiger Lilies are a very hardy plant with long shoots that produce yellow orange flowers that bloom in the summer. The flowers, shoots, and roots are all edible. Settlers used to dig the plant up and throw it in the back of the wagon without much regard. Upon arriving at their new home they threw it on the ground where it would start growing.