We have many vegetables and herbs growing in the Kitchen Garden that we still grow and use today, but what about the ones we don’t?
For the adventurous visitor who loves to poke around and explore, there are some wonderfully unusual plants you can find tucked away in corners and along the side paths of the Kitchen Garden. I love taking a tour with our gardener, he can point out all sorts of curiosities and the creative ways they discovered for using them in the 17th Century!
One of my favorite plants is definitely the marsh mallow… yes, you read that correctly! The roots of this plant, when crushed up and beaten with sugar and egg whites, produces a gooey, white, mixture very similar to our modern marshmallows. If you visit the garden, be sure to touch the leaves, which are amazing – they feel like a thick, luxurious velvet!
Along the right wall of the garden, you’ll find a very special plant – jewelweed, also called lady’s purse. The juice in the stem can combat poison ivy and poison oak. Modern hikers and campers should definitely learn to recognize this plant, which is most distinctive when it starts to bloom in August. The blossoms are bright orange, and can often be found near where the poison ivy is growing. The juice of this plant is often used to combat other problems, including bee stings and mosquito bites.
Be sure to stop by Pennsbury’s Kitchen Garden and check out what’s growing this season!
By Hannah Howard, Volunteer & Special Project Coordinator