DAR members preparing for history lesson on all facets of Colonial plants

The John Bartram Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution is preparing to learn all about Colonial plants.

The local DAR chapter will meet Friday, Dec. 20 at 10:30 a.m. at the Eisenhower Recreation Center. Members will learn about the importance of Colonial plants and the integral role they played in the lives of our ancestors.

A Colonial garden like the one pictured above provided our ancestors with a variety of herbs that could be used for everything from flavoring food to curing ailments.

In Colonial times, each home would have a kitchen garden outside the back door, which contained both native plants and those grown from seeds or rootstock brought from their homeland. The Colonial garden served as an apothecary, perfumery and spice rack.

Herbs were grown to enhance flavors, cover unpleasant flavors, control pests and provide dye for fabrics. They also were used to cure the Colonists’ coughs, colds, stomach aches and more serious ailments. Some of those remedies still are in use today.

Food preferences were regional due to climate and availability. In the North, the diet was seasonal and supplemented with breads and seafood. Hunting wild game was easier and less expensive than raising domestic animals.

Vegetables and fruit were stored in cold cellars or could be salted, pickled or preserved. Residents of Southern colonies had a longer growing season and a more diverse diet using many native crops.