The Gardens - The Early Years

The Gardens


The Early Years

In the early years of the American republic, the primary purpose of gardens and gardening was almost always to obtain produce for sustenance or for sale.

Workers both hired and enslaved by Janet Montgomery developed two functional gardens on the estate, then called Chateau de Montgomery: a commercial nursery for fruit trees, shrubs, and vegetable seeds, and a kitchen garden to supply food for Janet's large household of more than twenty people. This page from her account book notes the skills she sought when hiring a gardener, including acting as nurseryman and attending to “the collection and putting up seeds properly for sale.”

Pages from Janet Montgomery's account book related to hire of John George as a “Gardener and Nurseryman,” January 10, 1815.  Manuscript Division, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

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