TheGardenLady’s Parent’s Farm

Lenni Lenape dancer by impulse2c

As a child, I wished I knew about the original people who lived on the land that my parents’ farm was on. I wanted to know about the Lenni Lenape Indians that preceded my family to that area. But there were few books in our local library- and very few books on the Lenni Lenape.

I spent many hours of my childhood poring over the ground looking for Indian artifacts. Findings were best after the fields were plowed. It seems that each time the field was plowed it turned up more Indian artifacts. My sister and I, trailed by the family dogs, would slowly go up and down the field looking. We children found lots of flint and arrowheads or pottery shards. (sadly my collection was stolen when I took it to school) We also found clam shells. The closest clams were about one hour drive away from the farm, yet there were clam shells in the fields. So I imagined that the Indians had Pow Wows where they ate clams. But what else did they eat that they found in the area where the farm was?

Continue readingTheGardenLady’s Parent’s Farm”

Growing up on the farm

TheGardenLady’s House on the Farm

We were poor when I was a child growing up on the farm. But so was everyone else in my community and the surrounding communities, so no child felt the poverty. That was how things were. Yet my parents worked hard. Hard physical labor. Especially my mother, who not only worked in the fields and had a small dairy that she took care of by herself, she had two small children at the time and took care of the house.

TheGardenLady’s Mother

My parents worked hard so that we always had food on the table. All summer we had an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables and for the rest of the year Mom canned everything. No one had a freezer. The cellar was a dirt hole so it was cold like a root cellar. Foods like potatoes and onions could last a long time down there. And the shelves around the walls were filled with Mom’s canned food in glass jars. The jars looked as beautiful as any stained glass window any artist created.

In spite of all this labor, Mom loved flowers. I never thought to ask who planted the roses, the spirea bushes, the deutzia bush, the ornamental quince bush, the yucca, the apple tree, the lilacs, rose of sharon bushes, the gooseberries, weeping willows and other shrubs and trees that surrounded the house- they were just there. Yet this was a question I regret not having asked.

You see, my parents were the second family household to ever live on the farm. Before that the land belonged to Native Americans. The Leni Lenape Indians lived in New Jersey. And they must have spent time on the property that eventually became our farm. We bought the farm from a family who must have somehow bought it from the Leni Lenape- I wish I could learn more of that history.

Continue reading “Growing up on the farm”

Toadshade Wildflower Farm


The other day a catalogue arrived. It came from a small nursery that specializes in Nursery grown and Propagated Perennial Wildflower plants native to Northeastern America only; Toadshade Wildflower Farm in Frenchtown, NJ. All the plant species in their catalogue, they say, to the extent that the Toadshade owners can determine,  are NATIVE – not alien, introduced or naturalized. They also let the reader know that “No plant or plant parts are dug from the wild!”

Since TheGardenLady has been so upset to see so few butterflies this summer- yes, she has seen a few more since she wrote the article- she decided to try to find more host plants to plant on her grounds. One butterfly enthusiast the TheGardenLady knows said that she has so many butterfly eggs and larvae on her host plants that she is “harvesting” them and raising them for the 6th annual Master Gardener Insect Festival to be held on Sat. Sept. 13 from 1-4 in Pennington, NJ on Federal City Road. TheGardenLady has offered to attempt to raise butterflies for this event.  Any budding scientists can raise butterflies themselves or teachers of science can purchase kits for their students to raise butterflies.

Continue reading “Toadshade Wildflower Farm”