Carolyn's Daily Posts: 2011

April 10, 2011

Plants Cultivated in German Gardens Date Back To 812 A. D.




     It is evident that many of our plants go back to the ancient Roman civilization. They were taken from Italy to Germany and England and thence to America. Our forefathers brought over from Germany not only plants but a knowledge of gardening…

     Many of the plants which the Pennsylvania German cultivates in his garden and field were introduced into Germany by Charles the Great in 812 A. D.:

     We desire that they have in the garden all the herbs, namely the lily, roses, fenugreek, costmary, sage, rue, southernwood, cucumbers, muskmelons, gourds, pole bean, cumin, rosemary, caraway, chick pea, squill, iris, arum, anise colotium, burdock, pennyroyal, chicory, animi laserwort, lettuce, black cumin, garden rocket, nasturtium, Alexander, parsley, celery, lovage, sabine tree, dill, fennel, endive, dittany, black mustard, savory, curly mint, water mint, horse mint, tansy, catnip, feverfew, poppy, beet, ginger, marshmallows, high mallows, carrots, parships, orachs, amarantha, kohlrabis, cabbages, onions, chives, leeks, radishes, shallots, garlics, madder, artichokes or fulling thistles, big beans, field peas, coriander, chervil, caper, spurge, clary.

     And the gardener shall have, on his house, the houseleek.

     This list of garden plants is of the greatest importance for the study of horticulture…Its influence is still felt among our Pennsylvania German farmers.


     For certain, I am not true to my Pennsylvania German roots. I am even ignorant concerning some of the plants on the above list. What is costmary, squill, madders, fulling thistles, spurge? I didn’t know you could grow marshmallows.

     At the time my husband Monte and I had sufficient acreage to plant this variety of plants I was fully unaware of my German roots. Now we have a small lot. However, chives, lemon mint, peppermint and cloves volunteer themselves for our consumption.

     Out three small raised gardens might yield more if I disciplined myself to work them correctly. Perhaps next year.

     But I will never grow the recommended Pennsylvania German garden, regardless of my roots. And I have yet to know anyone who raises marshmallows!


The original order of Charles the Great given in G. H. Pertz, Monumenta Germania Historica 1835, Vol. 3, pp. 168



A Fortune of Spices in my Kitchen Cupboard

Herbs and Spices Defined

Herbs & Spices: Their Role in History


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