Parker Tavern Garden Plant List

Courtesy of the Reading Garden Club

Plants grown at the Parker Tavern are all herbs and flowering plants that would have been familiar to most New Englanders during the 17th and 18th centuries. The samples chosen to plant were selected for their usefulness, beauty and habit of growth. Not all of the plants would have been found in every garden due to sun and shade requirements or lack of space. The beds themselves are not intended to be authentic to any specific history but are simply planted with most of the herbs by the kitchen door and flowering plants by the front door as a way to display the plants attractively to visitors. Herbs have many aspects, including their beauty, smell and taste. They are also filled with historic lore, used as food and in medicine. The list below indicates the plants currently in the garden in addition to their colonial use.

Angelica (Angelica archangelica) ~ Promotion of digestion Marigold (Calendula) ~ Dyes, beauty products, treatment for jaundice
Bee Balm (Monarda) ~ Teas for sore throats, antiseptic Mint (Mentha) ~ Stomachache treatment
Blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium) ~ a tasty food source and as a nutritional aid Mullein (Verbascum) ~ Poultices, treatment for asthma and coughs
Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia) ~ Garden ornamentation Myrtle (Vinca Minor) ~ driving out the fever from a cold, eases toothache
Catmint (Nepeta) ~ Bruise treatment/sedative Nasturtium (Tropaeolum) ~ Food, flavoring, seeds substitute for capers
Camomile (Anthemis nobilis) ~ Soothing teas, antiseptic, insecticide, vermifuge, flavoring, cold treatment

Onion (Allium) ~ Food, flavoring, dye for cloth

Chives (Allium) ~ Flavoring Oregano (Origanum) ~ Flavoring, tea for sore throat and improved digestion, dye for cloth
Columbine (Aguilegia vulgaris) ~ For use in a lotion for sore throat and mouth Peony (Paonia officinalis) ~ Cleansing the womb after childbirth
Comfrey (Symphytum) ~ Wound healing, poultices Primrose (Primula) ~ Headache remedy
Costmary (Balsamita) ~ Flavoring for ale, indigestion, head lice, insect sting; leaves used to mark pages in bible called the 'bible-leaf' plant Purple Cone Flower (Echinacea) ~ Treatment for snakebite, wounds, toothaches, couhgs an dcommunicable diseases. Immune system stimulant
Elderberry (Sambucus) ~ Wine making Rose (Rosa) ~ Rose water used as an astringent, treatment of hemorrhages and bowel problems. Rose hips used in jellies, teas, syruyps and wine
Fennel (Foeniculum) ~ Promotion of digestion, flavoring Rue (Ruta) ~ Flavoring, vermifuge, treatment for colic, epilepsy and hysterics
Feverfew (Tanadetum parthenium) ~ Vermifuge, antiseptic, insecticide, fever reducer Rhubarb (Rheum) ~ Food, lazative, inestinal worms
Foxglove (Digitalis) ~ Treatment of hear failure, regulate heartbeat Sage (Salvia) ~ Flavoring, improve brain function, liver treatment, promote longevity
Hollyhock (Althaea) ~ Ingredient in cough syrup Spiderwort (Tradescantia) ~ Native plant, garden ornamentation
Horseradish (Amoracia) ~ Condiment, diuretic, flavoring Strawberry (Fragaria virginiana) ~ Cool the liver, blood and spleen; wine; tea
Hyssop (Agastache) ~ Tea for sore throats, improved digestion Tansy (Tanecetum) ~ Intestinal worm treament, jaundice treatment antiseptic, vermifuge, insecticide, cure for toothaches and menstral cramps, aborifacant, flavoring, tea, dyes for cloth
Lady's Mantle (Alchemilla) ~ Aborifactant Thyme (Thymus) ~ Tea for sore throats and improved digestion, expectorant, antiseptic, curing nightmares
Lamb's Ear (Stachys byzantina) ~ to dress or bandage wounds, the wooley leaves used in place of lint; the textured leaves could also be used as a washcloth. Violets (Viola) ~ "Heartease" treament for heart ailments, inflammation, used in cough medicine, food in salads and jams
Lavender (Lavendula) ~ Teas, sore throats, improved digestion, treat headache, improve melancholia, condiment for meat, fragrance for sachets Falerian (Valeriana officianlis) ~ Leaves were a common ingredient in broths and soups, roots relaxes and sedates
Lavender Cotton (Santolina) ~ Antiseptic, insecticide, vermifuge, jaundice and intestinal worm treatment, sooth insect stings Wormwood (Artemesia) ~ Intestinal worm treament, antiseptic, insecticide, vermifuge, astringent, flavoring in absinthe
Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) ~ Tea for sore throats and improved digestion Yarrow (Achillea) ~ Stop bleeding, antiseptic, insecticide, vermifuge
Lovage (Levisticum officinale) ~ Food, flavoring  
Lily of the Valley (Convallaria) ~ Treatment of heart failure, dye for cloth