Spring Garden Talk Planned

Join the Shirley-Eustis House Association and The Roxbury Historical Society for an online discussion about garden plants as cures for illness and preservers of wellness in early New England. Master Gardener Mary Lou O’Connor will share surprising facts about the history of some of our most common kitchen garden plants. She will also reveal how Native American knowledge and African traditions combined with European herbal treatments to make for a particularly American herbal medicine cabinet.

“Lots of people have heard how Cotton Mather learned about vaccinations from his enslaved man Onesimus. But that wasn’t a one-time thing. At the local level in communities across New England, healers and housewives often shared their knowledge about herbal treatments with each other,” says Mary Lou. “Kitchen garden plants like St. John’s Wort and Comfrey, for example, had a long history of medicinal use in Europe and Africa. While Native Americans learned about these plants from colonists and enslaved Africans, they also shared their knowledge about indigenous American plants with the newcomers. One of the most famous examples is tobacco. We’ve been exploring these fascinating exchanges as we develop the gardens at Shirley Place.”

 The event is free, but a suggested donation of $12 per participant would help defray costs. Proceeds benefit the Shirley-Eustis House Association. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/herbs-botanicals-and-wellness-in-colonial-new-england-tickets-260606821017?aff=ebdssbdestsearch or contact the Shirley-Eustis House at [email protected] or call 617-442-2275 for more information.

The Shirley-Eustis House is a National Historic Landmark located at 33 Shirley Street in Roxbury, Massachusetts. The 1747 house, preserved at Shirley Place, is a relic of British rule in colonial North America, and one of only four colonial governors’ mansions remaining in the United States. The Shirley-Eustis House Association preserves the site in order to explore the early history of our nation and the community of Roxbury. More information about guided tours, events and programs can be found on our website: www.shirleyeustishouse.org.

The Roxbury Historical Society researches Roxbury history from before the landing of Europeans to the present day. RHS works to preserve community memory by collecting oral histories and offering opportunities for community presentations and discussions.

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