Because there were no reference books describing rural gardens of 1900, the garden club members filled the plot with cuttings and bulbs from their grandmothers’ gardens and planted seeds they saved from one year to the next.
Over the years, dozens of volunteers from the Home and Garden Club, Master Gardeners, and students from the Sturgeon Bay and Sevastapol have kept the garden growing, each year striving to make a garden more historically correct. Whatever that was.
At approximately the same time our garden started growing, the Lee Somerville, head gardener at Heritage Hill Historical Park, was struggling with the same questions of authenticity.
According to Somerville, “Much had been written about the formal gardens of the fabulously wealthy of the 1900, but as the gardeners at Crossroads had lamented, few references described vernacular gardens–the gardens of ordinary people who lived in ordinary homes.”
Lee was determined to find out. She was accepted into a master’s program of the Department of Landscape Architecture at UW-Madison where she “was encouraged by an extremely supportive group of faculty members to locate, consolidate and document the horticultural and garden literature written specifically for Wisconsin homeowners in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.”
Lee’s research grew into a book “Vintage Wisconsin Gardens” which has won a number of prestigious awards. Now, because she now spends her summers in Sturgeon Bay, Lee has become the leader of the loyal volunteers from Master Gardeners and the Sturgeon Bay Home and Garden Club who maintain the Crossroads Heritage Garden to provide vegetables for local food banks, to teach our family gardening classes, and to enable the Door County Historical Society to interpret gardening practices of the early twentieth century.
Heritage Garden is the outdoor classroom for our Garden Workhop for Families. Crossroads, Door County Master Gardeners, UW-Extension, the Community’s Garden, and Pat’s Patch Organic Produce will collaborate to offer this three-session garden class on April 27, and May 11 and 25 from 6:00-7:30.
Families make their own soil blocks, plant and tend vegetables in our greenhouse, discover how to make good garden soil, how to keep weeds under control and how to grow and prepare their own vegetables. Families learn how to transplant small plants by helping plant our Heritage Garden, and at the completion of the program, each family takes home plants for their own gardens or to grow in the Community’s Garden. The materials cost for this class is $15. For information or to register, call Jenny Spude at 746-5994 or by e-mail at jmailto:Jennifer.email@example.com
On Tuesday, April 19, at 7:00 Master Gardeners will offer the program called Cottage Gardens. According to speaker Mark Konlock, who is the Director of Horticulture at the Green Bay Bontanical Garden, “Cottage gardens combine a little bit of everything-vegetables,fruits, annuals, perennials, trees, and shrubs-usually in an informal setting. They are bountiful wonderlands of flowers, pollinator paradises and idyllic retreats from the busyness of our lives.” This program is free and open to the public.
Crossroads at Big Creek welcomes learners of all ages to programs in science, history and the environment. The Collins Learning Center is open daily 2:00-4:30. During construction, you can reach the Crossroads Main Entrance from the Highway Detour by taking County T (Alabama Street) , crossing the highway and driving to Big Creek Road. Turn right and drive to Lily Bay Road. Turn right again. Lily Bay merges with Michigan Street at Crossroads. To reach the Astronomy Center, follow Utah Street (which will cross the highway during construction, or follow Memorial Drive under the bridge, turn on to 18th Place, and then turn right an go up the hill to the Cove Road Intersection.
Saturday, April 16
10:00 Hike: Ida Bay
Celebrate early spring with a walk through the Ida Bay preserve. Meet at the Parking Lot at the intersection of Canal and Buffalo Ridge Trail. (Utah Street is open across the highway. Follow Utah to Cove Road turn right. Follow Cove Road to Canal and turn left continue on Canal (it turns) till you reach the small parking area.
Monday, April 18
7:00 Frog Chorus Hike
The frogs have arrived in Hauser Pond. Enjoy an evening hike to Big Creek and on the way back, we should hear the frogs just warming up. Wear footwear that can get wet. Meet at the Collins Learning Center.
Tuesday, April 19
7:00 Master Gardener Lecture: Cottage Gardens
Mark Konlock, the Director of Horticulture at the Green Bay Bontanical Garden, will discuss Cottage Gardens, which combine a little bit of everything-vegetables,fruits, annuals, perennials, trees, and shrubs-usually in an informal setting. They are bountiful wonderlands of flowers, pollinator paradises and idyllic retreats from the busyness of our lives.” This program is free and open to the public. Lecture hall of the Collins Learning Center.