Submitted By: Carol Kagan, Franklin County Master Gardener
Have you traveled along Franklin Farm Lane and noticed the beautiful gardens on the east side? These are the Demonstration Gardens of the Penn State Extension Master Gardener program. They are open every day, dawn to dusk, for all visitors. And, sometimes, that includes a deer, rabbit, or duck. The gardens are located at the Franklin County Horticulture Center across the lane from the Penn State Extension Office at 181 Franklin Farm Lane, Chambersburg. They include a walking path through the Woodland Native Habitat area and several benches. You are invited to drop by.
Currently there are seven demonstration areas in the gardens: Pollinator Friendly, Drought Tolerant, Sun Perennial, Herb, Patrick Gass, and the Victory Garden plus the Woodland Meadow Native Habitat. Our newest garden is the Historical Gass Garden located near the entrance of the Extension Office. Our Demonstration Gardens are open dawn to dusk to the public. Located on the east side of Franklin Farm Lane, Chambersburg, PA,
Highlighting the Herb Demonstration Garden
The garden is designed to be decorative as well as to demonstrate a variety of gardening practices. It presents a living catalog of herbs, labeled with scientific and common names, organized by category of use or place in history.
In July 2012, the Herb Garden, the oldest demonstration garden on the grounds, was given a total facelift. The 44′ x 20′ plot was leveled, and 10 raised beds were installed.
There are a variety of gardening practices included such as raised and tiered beds plus container and vertical gardening. The garden also provides a beautiful and inspiring setting for public enjoyment and includes garden benches and a variety of decor pieces.
Plants in the Tea Garden make great non-caffeinated, herbal teas. In Colonial America times, when colonists, protesting taxes on English tea, used native bushes and herbs such as mint, bee balm, and sage to make tea. Look for German chamomile, lavender, calendula, and a rose that produces rose hips.
The Vertical Garden displays ways to grow up, especially useful in small space gardens. It includes stacked and hanging pots and a trellis with a passionflower vine. There are many different herbs in the stacked pots including catnip, sweet marjoram, chives, and oregano. There is basil, French thyme, and a creeping rosemary in the hanging pots.
Another good garden practice can be found in the Mint Garden. Mints can be invasive so planting them in pots is a great strategy. Varieties included among the plants there are Cotton Candy, Mojito, and Pineapple.
Using bricks from a demolished barn on the property, the Tiered Garden includes a few unusual herbs such as lovage, winter savory, and salad burnet along with common ones. A fennel plant at the top adds a feather in the cap.
The Fragrance Garden features another trellis with a climbing rose and is surrounded by lavenders and thymes. Look for Elfin and Wooly thyme edging and the unusual Fern Leaf lavender among the varieties of purple and white.
A large stand of fennel anchors the Culinary Gardens. Look for the perennials French tarragon, rosemary, chives, sage, Greek oregano, and the annuals of cilantro, dill, and a variety of basils.
In the Edible Flower Garden another method of vertical growing is demonstrated by using a railing planter on the fence. Look for some unusual plants of borage, sweet woodruff, sweet cicely, and violets.
The Craft Garden features herbs used for making various items such as wreaths, sachets, bath salts, and potpourri. Most are typically dried before use. The white sage included is used in ceremonies of Native Americans.
In the Pollinator Garden plants include those that caterpillars will use for food such as fennel, dill, and parsley. Other herbs that go unpruned will flower and draw bees, butterflies, and other pollinators.
If you have any additional questions about the Demonstration Gardens, please call the Extension at 717-263-9226.
Photo credit: Carol Kagan, Penn State Master Gardener
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