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April 14, 2015
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Greenfield Village is more than buildings and rides. It is home to more than a dozen gardens, each adding its own particular touch to the buildings around it. Here is a guide to the flower, herb and vegetable gardens that are so abundant in Greenfield Village.
Josephine Ford Plaza Gardens
When you enter Greenfield Village, the first thing you see is a large open area named the Josephine Ford Plaza. Designed in the Neo-Georgian style popular in Henry Ford’s day, the plaza was inspired by Portsmouth, New Hampshire’s market square. Filled with plantings of colorful perennials, sedum, coreo sis and anchored by a large fountain, the space has a soothing and dignified charm. Small wonder it has become a favorite meeting place of Greenfield Village visitors.
Henry Ford Home Kitchen Garden
This modest wood-framed home was originally located two miles east of its present location in Greenfield Village. Built in 1860, it is the birthplace of Henry Ford and the home where he spent his youth. Today, the kitchen garden is planted with a variety of heirloom vegetables – ones that might have been found in a typical garden at the time young Henry Ford lived here.
Wright Brothers Home Garden
With its colorful beds of annuals and hanging baskets of heirloom angel-wing begonias, the Wright Home’s garden is reflective of what you might have seen in Midwestern flower gardens in the earliest years of the 20th Century.
Mulberry Grove Garden
The best-known type of silk comes from cocoons made by the larvae of silkworms. After consuming large quantities of mulberry leaves, the larvae spin thick cocoons made of the fine, soft fiber so prized as a textile fabric. Henry Ford had this grove of mulberry trees planted near the Hanks Silk Mill in the early 1930s.
Susquehanna Train Station Gardens
The first thing you notice about the gardens near this small station is the color. They’re vivid and varied and exceedingly pleasing to the eye. What you can’t see, though, is that the varieties of perennial wild and prairie flowers represented here are particularly tolerant to drought conditions.
Cotswold Cottage Herb Garden
The lush gardens that surround this picturesque stone cottage are favorites of gardeners and photographers alike. The story goes that Clara Ford saw the now-400-year-old Rose Cottage near Oxford, England and was so charmed that her husband, Henry, brought it home for her. Today, it is surrounded by a sumptuous English-style country garden filled with begonias, delphiniums, peonies and a host of other plant species chosen to attract hummingbirds and butterflies even as they are visually dazzling.
Greenfield Village Herbal Associates Garden
Divided into 18 distinct beds, this working garden is filled with scores of different herbs, from the commonplace to the highly unusual. Some, like Queen Anne’s Lace, you’ve probably seen before. But others, like Gomphocarpus and Amaranth, are complete mysteries to most of us. Download a PDF of the Burbank Garden Map.
Mattox House Garden Built near Savannah, Georgia, in 1879, this farmhouse was home to several generations of the Mattoxes, an African-American family who owned and farmed the land that surrounded the house. Like several other homes in Greenfield Village, the Mattox House has a kitchen garden to provide the family with food throughout the year. Located in front of the home, the garden is planted with green, squash, green beans and many other vegetables typical of southern Georgia in the early 20th century.
Dr. Howard’s Office Garden
Alonson Howard was a member of the University of Michigan’s first class in medicine. Though he never received his medical degree, he was well aware of the most advanced medical practices of the time. But Dr. Howard also employed the traditional herbal recipes that he had learned from local Native Americans. Like many country doctors of the 19th century, Howard also served as dentist, druggist and surgeon for his patients. Download a PDF of the Garden Map.
Martha-Mary Chapel Garden
Site of many weddings every year, this chapel is also home to a tranquil mixed-shade garden that has been a visitor favorite for decades. It is filled with color almost nonstop from early spring to late fall. First come the azaleas and rhododendrons, followed by blooming astilbes, hydrangeas, hostas, goatsbeards and shade-loving annuals, among others.
Garden of the Leavened Heart (near Martha-Mary Chapel)
This is the small garden directly in front of you as you leave the Martha-Mary Chapel. Clara Ford developed the garden in 1938 as a physical symbol of prayer. Despite its location at the end of the sprawling Village Green, it is a surprisingly contemplative place. It is one of three herb gardens in Greenfield Village.
A Taste of History Restaurant Garden
At first glance, the large garden that curves around the front of A Taste of History® restaurant doesn’t look unusual. But look closer. This isn’t just for decoration. Surrounded by a border of brilliant-colored coleus, Village gardeners created a distinctly food-themed garden filled with edible flowers, medicinal herbs and ornamental vegetables.
Oxbow Island Garden
Despite all its color, this is a multilevel rock garden. But gardeners softened what could have been a cold appearance by planting sun-loving annuals, perennials and trailing flowers. Blues, violets and pinks combine to make this an idyllic waterside space. Graceful ornamental grasses that catch even the slightest breeze enhance the effect.
Liberty Craftworks District Gardens
This district is best known for the artisans who create hand-crafted glass, pottery and tin works in the many workshops that populate the district. But it is also home to Greenfield Village’s only cultivated wetland. Here, you’ll see cattails, water irises, native grasses and other plants that grow nowhere else in Greenfield Village.