The Museum collection includes gardens surrounding the two houses. The 17th Century Housewife’s Garden at the Whipple House contains herbal plants that were in many Housewives’ gardens in Ipswich the 17th century. Arthur Shurcliff designed the 6 raised beds. Ann Leighton supervised the planting and developed the list of medicinal, housekeeping and culinary herbs based on documentary evidence in chronicles, diaries, letters, inventories, and recipes of 17th century Ipswich. Leighton’s book, Early American Gardens: “For Meate or Medicine”, is a result of her research and remains a required reference for gardeners. The garden is best viewed May – September.
The Old Rose Gardens at the Whipple House contain pre-1864 rose varieties, many originally from Ipswich residents’ gardens. Primary bloom time for these single-bloomers is mid-June to mid-July and a sale of Old Roses occurs in June, weather permitting.
The Formal Garden at the Heard House represents mid-18th-century gardens which “began to acquire the interest and style, the variety and charm, that can come with a relaxed society” according to Ann Leighton’s book, American Gardens in the Eighteenth Century. Planted in parterres with Iberis, Heuchera, Boxwood, Peony, and Phlox, the garden becomes a white garden at it’s peak in August. Today, the Heard House is surrounded by lawns with a few ornamental trees, the most spectacular of which are two copper beech trees, easily dating to the mid 19th century.
Garden workshops take place on Saturday mornings 9-11, weather permitting. All are welcome. Garden work attire and gloves are recommended. For information please call 978-356-8696. See below for an article about the Museum’s gardens, published in the May 2014 edition of New England Antiques Journal.