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Food and Medicine: The Kitchen and Herb Gardens

When most people think of the gardens at Agecroft Hall, they think of the tulips in the Sunken Gardens and exotic plants in the Tradescant garden. But when Agecroft was a manor in England, there also would have been gardens that provided food and herbs for medicine.

The vegetable garden at Agecroft Hall is called the Kitchen Garden. Kitchen Gardens were an important source of food for the people who lived and worked at Agecroft. They would have grown a variety of vegetables, such as greens, carrots, and turnips. The vegetables were eaten in season, but people in England at that time often cooked their vegetables rather than eating them raw. For example, if you see a recipe from the time for a “sallets”, these are similar to our salads, but are served warm. Vegetables and fruits could also be preserved by drying our pickling. The Kitchen Garden at Agecroft Hall today is a demonstration garden, and is located on the border of the Knot Garden.

Agecroft Hall also has an Herb Garden. There are herbs planted throughout the various gardens, but this garden is specifically focused on medicinal herbs. For example, you will find rosemary bushes, and rosemary was believed to help with your memory. Sage, which we often use in cooking, has astringent quality and would be used for wounds and mouthwashes and toothpastes. The Herb Garden today is located near the recreated Still House. A Still House is a space where herbs are distilled- made into perfumes or medicines.





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