A very special garden

Reporter in Residence
Monroe Mouse

I like to call myself a house mouse, but I also like to go outside. So, on a nice summer day, I sometimes sneak into the garden that surrounds the mansion. It’s a wonderful place for a mouse to play, run, and hide.

In May the MCHA’s Garden Club, which takes care of the garden, sponsored a plant sale. I was there. Nobody saw me, but I was there. Maybe you were, too — digging plants to transfer to your own garden. I hope you were!

The members of the garden club have worked very hard over the years to revive the area were Jacob Stroud once had his garden back in 1790s, and they have been very successful (in fact, SO good at their work that the plants get too crowded).

I love the garden so much, and have written about it before. In 2010 I wrote a report about colonial herbs planted in the garden,prompted by finding what looked like a treasure map in a lilac tree. In 2012, my report explained the “pizza garden” that had appeared outside to my friends Caleb Cricket, Sarah Spider, and all of you who read The Fanlight.

You can find the complete versions of each of these reports in the Monroe Mouse archives online.

The mansion garden had a big year in 2012. Not only were there more and more plants appearing, but the garden received a very important recognition from the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.

Our director Amy, along with three volunteers, went all the way to Harrisburg to accept the “Greening Award” for the MCHA. (I was going to try to sneak in the car, but it didn’t work out.)

A 2012 inventory of plants lists 79 (yes, 79!) varieties of plants — trees, bushes, perennials, roses, ground covers, herbs, and vegetables that were growing in the garden! Some of the plants I saw on the sale day this year include columbine, hosta, phlox, iris, lamb’s ear, coreopsis, and several different flowering bushes, just to name a few.

Over the years, the Garden Club volunteers have given and received many donations of plants. Not only is the garden a peaceful and colorful place to be (don’t forget there’s a little bench there), but many of the plants are there to purposefully widen the educational experiences offered to our visitors.

How many flowers can you identify? Are there any medicinal herbs growing? Which plants come from the colonial era?

The next time you go walk the mansion, take a good look at the garden. Stop and rest on the bench. And, if you missed the plant sale, you can still come to the mansion and dig some plants for yourself! I like to call it “DIG and DONATE”!

Just call the MCHA office and make an appointment. Bring your own tools, plastic bags, or pots. Dig some plants that would like good in your garden, and please leave a monetary donation to the Garden Club!

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