Gardeners install new president

GREENVILLE – The Olde Thyme Gardeners of The Darke County Park District installed a new president, Andrea Long.  She brings a wealth of energy and knowledge from Randolph County, Ind. Andrea is well versed in heirloom gardening and related early 1800’s living. Bethany DuPuy, the departing president and long time Greenville resident, moved to Miami County where she continues as a Master Gardener Volunteer with the OSU Miami County Extension.

The Olde Thyme Gardeners plan and plant an early pioneer type kitchen garden near the log house at Shawnee Prairie Preserve. The small group of dedicated enthusiasts researches the types of plants that would have been used by the early settlers in Darke County in the 1820’s-1830’s era.

The garden may be viewed by looking over the stockade style wooden fence during normal park hours.

A couple dozen perennial herbs compose about a third of the enclosed area. Recently observed blooming varieties include Tansy, Costmary, Calendula, Nasturtium, Comphrey and Marshmallow.  Black Hollyhocks, Lavender, Wormwood, Lemon Balm, Sweet Annie, Yarrow and Spinner Gourds grow outside the fence. A few other herbs are Lovage, Sage, Hyssop and of course, Thyme.

The annual demonstration area features “the three sisters” (corn, beans, and squash or pumpkin) similar to food crops cultivated by the Shawnee Indians who were the original inhabitants of the area. Pioneers in Darke County grew corn, beans and squash as staples to be stored and used throughout the year. This year’s corn variety is “Bloody Butcher.” It grows six to ten feet tall and produces large ears of mottled, deep red, hard kernels. One of the Olde Thyme Gardener members saved the seed from last year’s crop.

Old Joe Clark, an heirloom from Tennessee, is one of this year’s bean varieties that was planted in the same hills as the corn. It is a four foot tall half runner plant that produces edible green beans. The dried pods turn red. When cooked the dried beans taste like peanuts.

An heirloom Winesap apple tree resides inside one corner of the garden.

The Olde Thyme Gardeners meet in the Nature Center at noon on the second Tuesday of most months.  The group invites anyone who is interested in gardening whether they are novice or master gardeners or someone interested in learning more about gardening, pioneer living or using herbs.

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