Putting Down Roots: Gardening Insights from Wisconsin’s Early Settlers

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Wisconsin Historical Society, May 26, 2011 - Cooking - 237 pages
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Culture and history can be passed from one generation to the next through the food we eat, the vegetables and fruits we plant and harvest, and the fragrant flowers and herbs that enliven our gardens. The plants our ancestors grew tell stories about their way of life. Wisconsin’s nineteenth-century settlers arrived in the New World in search of new opportunities and the chance to create a new life. These European immigrants and Yankee settlers brought their traditional foodways with them—their family recipes and the seeds, roots, and slips of cherished plants—to serve as comfort food, in the truest sense. This part of our collective history comes alive at Old World Wisconsin’s re-created nineteenth-century heirloom gardens. In Putting Down Roots, historical gardener Marcia C. Carmichael guides us through these gardens, sharing insights on why the owners of the original houses—be they Yankee settlers, German, Norwegian, Irish, Danish, Polish, or Finnish immigrants—planted and harvested what they did. She shares timeless lessons with today’s gardeners and cooks about planting trends and practices, garden tools used by early settlers, popular plant varieties, and favorite flavors of Wisconsin’s early settlers, including recipes for such classics as Irish soda bread, pierogi, and Norwegian rhubarb custard. Putting Down Roots celebrates the diversity and rich ethnic settlement of Wisconsin. It’s also a story of holding fast to one’s traditions and adapting to new ways that nourished one’s family so they could flourish in their new surroundings.
 

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Contents

A Taste for Embellishment
23
GERMAN SETTLER GARDENS
49
Roots of Change
63
NORWEGIAN SETTLER GARDENS
85
DANISH SETTLER GARDENS
131
POLISH SETTLER GARDENS
155
FINNISH SETTLER GARDENS
177
PLANT TABLES
201
NOTES
207
SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY
217
INDEX
225
Copyright

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About the author (2011)

\Marcia C. Carmichael is the historical gardener at the 576-acre Old World Wisconsin, the largest of the Wisconsin Historical Society’s living history museums, where she exercises her passion for historical accuracy and enjoys the research as much as the design, creation, and nurturing of the museum’s heritage gardens. She supervises and works alongside a dedicated group of historical garden volunteers to create period-appropriate gardens and appreciates all aspects of heirloom plants, from propagation to harvest and from folklore to fact.

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