Tour of Herb Gardens and Native Plants at Saugus Iron Works


Tour of Herb Gardens and Native Plants at Saugus Iron Works
Time: 1:00 pm - 1:45 pm
Location: Saugus Iron Works, 244 Central St., Saugus, MA
Type: Lecture     Price per Person: free
Two free 45 minute tours of the herb garden and other plants at Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site will be given to highlight the changing seasons. The first will be at 1 PM on Friday, September 18 and the second tour at 1 PM on Sunday, October 18. The tours will be led by award-winning landscape designer and garden writer Laura Eisener, who teaches landscape courses at North Shore Community College and Boston Architectural College, and is a landscape consultant for Northeast Nursery. Saugus Ironworks National Historic Site was the first fully-integrated ironworks in North America and is located at 244 Central Street in Saugus, MA. The nine acre park includes functional reconstructed industrial buildings such as a blast furnace, forge, and slitting mill, and a restored 17th century house. While Saugus Ironworks is known as a cradle of early american industry, visitors to the site are often struck by the interesting trees, shrubs, and other plants on the property. Surrounding Broadhearth, the restored 17th century house, is a garden consisting of plants that would be indispensable to the 17th century gardener, many brought from Europe to add flavor to food, treat illnesses, or keep vermin away from the home. It is easy to understand how important these familiar species would be to the families at Hammersmith missing their old homes in Europe, especially when you realize that the first pharmacy in America did not open until nearly a century after the Ironworks was at its peak of production. Medical knowledge of herb use was passed down among the women of the family. Herbs would also help vary the tastes of the limited food available to the settlers. Lemon Balm, for example, "comforts the heart, and driveth away all sadness and melancholy" according to an old herbal. As time went on, families became familiar with North American plant species that the Native Americans used. Saugus Iron Works is also home to some spectacular trees and shrubs, such as the large purple-leaved European Beech which was probably planted in the early 20th century before the Ironworks became a national park, the Common Lilacs which were often planted for good luck around homes through the 18th and 19th centuries, and the Smokebush which retains its fluffy inflorescences summer through fall. The native Winterberry along the fence has beautiful fall color and red berries that persist even after the leaves have fallen. The Ironworks' distinctive topography drops down to the banks of the Saugus River, where we will see some native plants such as Cattails, Water Parsnip, Boneset, and Wild Cucumber Vine which also have interesting uses for people and wildlife.
[Phone] 781-231-5988,