Wednesday, March 30, 2016
Lower Gardens at Mt Vernon
As you approach the Mansion at Mt Vernon, the lower gardens are on the right, the upper gardens are on the left. All records and archaeology indicate that the lower gardens were always "kitchen" gardens for the Mansion. A mixture of fruits and vegetables, with two open pit wells for watering. The lower garden also had cold frames for starting seeds. The garden is surrounded by a brick fence. There are espaliered fruit trees along the wall and along the walkways making use of every square foot of space.
The records and archeology of the upper gardens is not as clear. The green house or orangery was in the upper garden. Over the past 100 years the upper garden was planted as a fussy English formal garden of flowers and ornamental plants, until the past few years. Archeological excavations revealed that while laid out as a formal English Garden, in Washington's day it was a mix of flowers, ornamentals and kitchen garden. There are indications of fruit and nut trees as well. It has been replanted in a manner more consistent with what it would have been in the late 1700's.