Spring is a busy time in the maritime world, as boats are scraped and painted, batteries are charged, hulls are caulked, and sails come out of winter storage to be inspected, repaired and readied for the season. Spring is also a busy time around the 19-acre grounds of Mystic Seaport, as our nine gardens and miles of landscaping need to be awakened from their winter slumber.
Of course the winter weather that has dominated this spring has been challenging for Garden Supervisor Julia Jankowski and Steve Sisk, gardener. They had to postpone pansy planting for three weeks because of the cold, the snow, and the rain. Of course, the Museum’s many snow drops, crocuses and daffodils ignored the weather and just came up regardless. Also now appearing are scilla, grape hyacinth, and hellebore.
Jankowski and Sisk have been busy in the greenhouse, where they grow many plants from seed, including vegetables for the Buckingham-Hall House. In addition to the wide variety of perennials on the grounds, there are more than 50 boxes and tubs with annuals (starting with pansies) that change with the seasons.
A dedicated corps of volunteers works with Jankowski and Sisk to maintain the grounds and gardens.
Three of the Museum’s gardens are 19th century historic gardens, one at the Burrows House and two at the Buckingham-Hall House (one kitchen garden with vegetables and herbs and a parlor garden with flowers). These gardens are designed to show gardening techniques from the 1830s to the 1870s, as well as plants themselves. They utilize both native plants and plants that were brought to New England by ship captains.
Other specialty gardens include:
- Children’s Zoo Garden (Located at the Children’s Museum, each of the plants has an animal or insect in its common name such as dogwood, elephant ears, butterfly bush, snail flower, and turtlehead.)
- Mallory Birds & Butterflies Garden (This garden is in front of the Mallory Building and is inviting to butterflies and hummingbirds.)
- Memorial Garden (Located behind the Treworgy Planetarium, the Memorial Garden was created to honor those who have given their time and resources to Mystic Seaport.)
Now that the weather appears to be evening out somewhat, Jankowski, Sisk and their volunteers are busy raking, removing winter leaf mulch, and filling boxes and tubs with pansies. As you stroll the Museum grounds on a lovely spring day, take a moment to admire the beautiful landscaping, and all the man and woman hours that have gone into it. For more information on all the special gardens at the Museum, please visit our website.