Glocester Heritage Gardens | Glocester, RI
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Dr. Reuben Mason
Medicinal Garden

Although parts of the old farmhouse date to 1747 the garden was created to represent a formal medicinal garden that may have existed in the 1790s when our doctor live and practiced medicine there. Started in the spring of 2012 the garden itself is a recreation, not a restoration.

The garden is fenced in with a period five-strike picket fence common in the 18th century. Upon entering you will find hand laid glacier-worn stones placed in typical colonial fashion with a sundial in the middle. Within the partnered sections there are well over one hundred medicinal herbs all labeled and identified.

Also worth noting are the two clumps of Lilacs on the property. As with many colonial dwellings, it is not uncommon to find these around the old homestead, we are fortunate these have survived.





In the spring of 2017 the east side of the barn will be taken advantage of and a set of pear trees will be planted and espaliered against the wall in typical 18th century fashion.  You will also notice there has been a small four tree apple orchard started which will expand as funds allow. Pictures show it is in the same area as the original very large orchard grew.




Retaining Wall Garden

The garden has also spilled over its boundaries into its surroundings where you will find in the rear of the house a very old retaining wall holding up the back hill. It is believed it held up the corn crib for the farm which was moved sometime in the last century to the east rear of the property where it sits today.

In getting back to the retaining wall that was left behind we have taken advantage of all the nooks and crannies left over centuries of erosion and filled them with a variety of sedums and hens and chickens. Our research shows these plants have a smaller amount of the chemicals found in aloes and were used in similar medicinal ways. The best time to visit this part of the garden is in May as there is a small naturally occurring field of blue Lupines that bloom atop of the wall and all the sedums are in full flower.




Valley Forge Elm Tree Planting

One other notable event we have had is the planting of a Valley Forge Elm tree in the exact same spot one was planted over two hundred years ago. The Glocester Heritage society has the photos from the late 1880s showing a mature Elm tree growing in front of the house directly at the east end of the original building. With this documented evidence we were then able to locate three healthy elm trees through the Glocester Land Trust that turned out to have been being grown by a Master Gardener in town. With this unique collaboration a ceremony was held on September 28th 2014 of the planting of the tree in the exact same spot as one grew before the Dutch Elm disease took it from us. This was a great day as it shown how  we are capable of make right what went wrong so long ago through education and science  which is the force behind the URI Master Gardener Program.




Job Armstrong
Shopkeeper’s Garden

This garden is being started in the spring of 2017. The focus here is to create what a typical shopkeeper living over a store between 1814 through the Civil War may have grown out back to help sustain their family or possibly even sell in the store.

At the early stages before starting research has been to find out what was grown and the manner in which it was done. The garden will represent the utilitarian side of gardening of the period and a dose of a pleasure garden along the street side where there might have been a little showing off of the latest and best flowers available in early 19th century. The garden paths will be laid in a combination of leftover brick and stone which would have been commonly used in kitchen like gardens and preferable to tracking in mud.

Although Chepachet is considered today to be one of the more rural parts of Rhode Island it was a bustling town center when the store was in business. The Job Armstrong store was one of many that once lined Maine Street so space was at a premium for businesses.

This garden when complete will be a good educational example of gardening in small spaces.





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1181 Main Street | PO Box 269 | Chepachet, RI 02814
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