Canterbury Shaker Gardens




Spend an idyllic summer day at Canterbury Shaker Village. Explore the gardens, check out the Farm Stand or sign up for one of the workshops. That’s just the beginning of what the Village has to offer serious and armchair gardeners.

Founded in 1792, Canterbury was the sixth of 19 Shaker communities stretching from Maine to Kentucky. Twenty-nine buildings remain on 694 acres of gardens, fields, ponds and forests.

The Shaker Gardens bear the designation Certified Organic and reflect the Village’s commitment to sustainable gardening methods. Knowledgeable volunteer gardeners help maintain them. Heirloom vegetables dominate one area while rows of summer flowers add a profusion of color. Just beyond is an extensive herb garden.

In the newly planted medicinal herb garden, row markers carry intriguing monikers — yarrow, bee balm, St. John’s wort, darfry, wormwood, indigo, wolfbane and monk’s hood. Some garden herbs and flowers produce the dyes once used for Shaker textiles. You’ll have a chance to see actual broom corn growing and learn how the Shakers made it into their famous brooms. Flax is also grown and in the fall there are demonstrations of the complexities of turning flax into linen cloth.

The Farm Stand across the street sells some of the garden harvest, plus plants and produce from local organic farms. It also offers items for a box lunch that you can eat on the grounds.

The Shakers reverence for the land is revealed on two daily tours — 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. The Backyard Herbalist Series presents eight Saturday workshops from 9 a.m. to noon. Check out the Strawberry Jamboree June 19 and Lavender Day July 10. The informative Summer Garden Talks are scheduled March through September and will augment your gardening and cooking repertoire. Check the Web site before you visit — and have a lovely day at the Village!

— Frisky Stal

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