Strawbery Banke Debuts New Horticulture Learning Center and Garden-Related Workshops

Portsmouth, New Hampshire (May 23, 2019) -- Strawbery Banke Museum’s new Horticulture Learning Center in the restored Cotton Tenant House (North) is designed as a teaching space for the Historic Landscape Department. Focused around the theme "Change Over Time: Natural Resources and the Innovations of American Horticulture," the Center complements the Traditional Crafts Center in the adjacent house and borders the Ethnobotanical Herb Garden (created in 2013).

The individual rooms of the Center offer visitors the opportunity to learn about the museum’s heirloom seed-saving program (with packets of complimentary seeds to take home) and uses interactive technology to trace the history of American agriculture and to give visitors a chance to examine plant materials under a microscope. The Center also opens space for programs that preserve and interpret heirloom plants and gardens, teach hands-on garden crafts, and archive online learning opportunities utilizing the museum’s garden-related historical collections. On a regular basis throughout the museum season, Horticulture Team Members introduce visitors to garden and nature-inspired science investigations and crafts inspired by the history of the site, including:

• distilling essential oils
• microscope investigations
• wreath-making
• harvesting and saving heirloom seeds
• sustainable gardening

The team has also planned a series of 2-hour workshops (11:00 am to 1:00 pm), led by guest horticulture experts, to teach adults and children about plants, the role they have played at Puddle Dock, and practical ideas to take their own gardens. The cost for each program is $15 (Members $10) and tickets are available online at

Upcoming programs include:

Saturday, June 15, 2019 - Fermentation Fundamentals
Local herbalist and seasoned gardener, Helen Levitt, returns to Strawbery Banke for a program on how fermentation transforms foods and beverages in countless ways.

Saturday, July 27, 2019 -- Garden Herbs: Their Cultivation, Cookery, Cures, and Caveats
Plants offered the first effective cures for disease, and the history of herbal medicine is defined by lore and science—in equal measures. ?This program is presented by Judith Sumner who specializes in ethnobotany, flowering plants, plant adaptations and garden history. 

Saturday,  August 3, 2019 - Grow Your Own Soil with Permaculture
Certified permaculture designer, Amy Antonucci, addresses how simple methods utilizing readily available, inexpensive materials can create magnificent gardens without digging or rototilling.

Saturday, August 24, 2019 - Cooking with Heirlooms
Liz Barbour, professional cook and avid gardener, offers tips on using every inch of a small garden, teaches about varieties of ornamental and edible plants, and performs a cooking demonstration with a sampling of two recipes.

The Horticulture Learning Center was made possible in part by grants from the Roger R. and Theresa S. Thompson Endowment, The Mary and Storer Goodwin Decatur Foundation, Cabot Family Foundation, Francis R. Dewing Foundation, Rosamond Thaxter Foundation, The Putnam Fund at the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, the NorthEast Seacoast Unit of the Herb Society of America, the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension/Master Gardener Program, Slow Food Seacoast, Louise Richardson (in memory of Bertha and William Parsons), Laura Brown and Hendrika Sluder.