“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Delphi in Carroll County, Indiana — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)

An Herb Garden

Fine Flavor for Food & Medicine for the Sick

— Wabash & Erie Canal Park Village —

An Herb Garden Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Doda, July 18, 2020
1. An Herb Garden Marker
Before You Is a Kaleidoscope of Flavors and Scents
Early settlers maintained an herb garden for four reasons: Medicine, flavor for food, to provide scents for soap and for fresh flowers as well as dried flowers for year-long floral bouquets.

The herb garden was placed close to the house, preferably the kitchen, so it was easy to get fresh herbs for cooking and medicine when needed.

The plants we have chosen for our herb garden represent some of the most durable herbs for the climate of the Midwest. They also represent flavoring that complements historic cooking of the canal era. These same herbs are as important to food preparation today as they were in the 1840s and 50s.

We have planted our herbs in an arrangement of sizes and heights that allows for easy access in our terrace garden and also creates a pleasing composition of color, texture and volume. As time goes by we may add new plants or even expand our space somewhat but we will retain the basic arrangement of plants you see in the illustration.

The herbs in our terrace garden are perennials. Perennial plants resprout

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on their own every year. The herbs in our cement urns are annuals. Annual plants must be started from seeds every spring.

During the canal era people would dry seeds in the fall and store them in glass jars for planting in the spring. Often this was the only way a family could be guaranteed fresh herbs and garden plants for the coming season.

Rhubarb a perennial that originates from Siberia, was often referred to as pie plant. It was common for pioneer women to bring the root stock with them as they migrated to the Wabash Valley and surrounding regions. Still a favorite in the region today rhubarb tastes great by itself or mixed with other fruits such as strawberries.

Historically homes of wealthy people would have a formal herb garden. Formal gardens which date to 14th century Europe were designed in geometric shapes such as a circle, cross, square, hexagon or. octagon. They often had crushed stone or gravel walkways. Sometimes brick or cut stone was used for walking areas or for tasteful edging It was common for the garden to have a center focal point which might contain a sculpture, bird bath or a large dramatic plant.

Herbs were hung to dry and then transferred to bottles in the kitchen for use during the cool winter and early spring. A kitchen was not complete without many colorful bottles of dried herbs lining the shelves.

An Herb Garden Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Doda, July 18, 2020
2. An Herb Garden Marker

Erected by Catherine T. Smith.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Horticulture & ForestryWaterways & Vessels. In addition, it is included in the Wabash & Erie Canal series list.
Location. 40° 35.5′ N, 86° 40.833′ W. Marker is in Delphi, Indiana, in Carroll County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of West North Washington Street and North Charles Street, on the right when traveling east. The marker is on the Grounds of the Wabash & Erie Canal Conference & Interpretive Center. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 12252 West North Washington Street, Delphi IN 46923, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Blacksmithing (here, next to this marker); River Travel (within shouting distance of this marker); Welcome To Canal Park (within shouting distance of this marker); Wabash & Erie Canal (within shouting distance of this marker); Welcome To Delphi (within shouting distance of this marker); The Cooper (within shouting distance of this marker); Education Along The Canal (within shouting distance of this marker); Broom Maker (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Delphi.
Credits. This page was last revised on December 25, 2020. It was originally submitted on December 25, 2020, by Craig Doda of Napoleon, Ohio. This page has been viewed 76 times since then and 13 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on December 25, 2020, by Craig Doda of Napoleon, Ohio. • Devry Becker Jones was the editor who published this page.

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Dec. 5, 2023