Historic Fisher-Martin Herb Garden
The garden is an authentic 1700’s Colonial herb garden. It is planted with herbs that were used by Colonial housewives for culinary, medicinal and other uses, such as dyeing fabric and repelling bugs and offensive odors. There are also plants and herbs that were used by the Native Americans of the Cape Henlopen region. The plants were researched with materials provided by Colonial Williamsburg and the Nanticoke Museum. The willow fence and arbors represent the type of fencing used in Colonial times. The garden was originally planted in 1984 by a group of Lewes residents and was maintained by the Sussex Master Gardeners. It is currently maintained by Lewes in Bloom. – City of Lewes
Public Garden next to the Lewes Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center
By Diana O’Hagan, Herb Garden patron and member Lewes in Bloom
Passing under one of the arches into the Fisher-Martin Herb Garden in Zwaanendael Park, the visitor steps into a microcosm of an eighteenth century Lewestowne housewife’s kitchen garden that showcases not only traditional colonial–but also Native American herbaceous and perennial necessities. With more than 80 species represented during growing season, the sections within the garden are organized by dyeing, medicinal, bug repellant, culinary and Native American plantings. In reality, however, many of the herbs and plants cross lines with multiple uses in the colonial era home.
The Fisher-Martin Herb Garden was originally established in 1984 by a group of Lewes residents to complement the recently relocated Fisher-Martin House, c.1730. Members of Sussex Master Gardeners took over stewardship and maintained the colonial atmosphere of the garden for a number of years. While under the Master Gardener’s care, the garden received the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s Urban Greening Award in 2003. Lewes in Bloom, an award winning, all volunteer, nonprofit that serves to beautify the City of Lewes assumed care of the garden in 2004.
After extensive research including consultation with Williamsburg and Nanticoke experts and with help from the Lewes Parks and Recreation Commission and the City of Lewes, the current garden redesign was built starting in the fall of 2006. The willow arbors and waddle fencing as used in colonial times to protect the garden from farm animals and other intruders were added in 2008. An inventory of the plantings in 2012 was used to procure new plant ID tags and to refresh the garden. Continuing this dedication to authenticity, each year, emphasis is placed on ensuring the accuracy of herb and plant varieties to the time period represented.
Today, the Fisher-Martin Herb Garden is lovingly attended to by many Lewes in Bloom volunteers. Each spring these eager helpers reevaluate the garden for its content and growing conditions procuring plants and making adjustments as needed. From early spring to the hard frost of early winter, Lewes in Bloom members weed, plant, prune and nurture this space so that all can see, sniff and sample a brief moment in 1700’s Sussex County, Delaware.
Lemon Bee Balm
Attar of Rose
Gray Lavender Cotton
Green Lavender Cotton
Eastern Prickly Pear