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Container gardening contest time!

One aspect of living in Plattsburgh that I love is the city's rich history. Nothing may exemplify the city's history as well as the Kent-Delord House Museum. The museum is the dedicated to preserving the history of a family of community leaders how lived in Plattsburgh from 1797 to 1913.

The Kent-Delord families were involved in the Battle of Plattsburgh during the war of 1812, the American Civil War, and the Women's Christian Temperance Union, a feminist group interested in prohibition, labor issues, banning prostitution, public health, and international peace.

During the period the Kent-Delords resided in their Cumberland Avenue home, their gardens would have been a prominent and integral part of the home. In days prior to modern medicine, grocery stores, and refrigeration, every home had a kitchen garden. These gardens contained medical and culinary herbs mixed with vegetable plants and flowers. Besides food and medicine, plants in this garden would have been grown for use as dyes and fragrances as well. A larger vegetable garden was probably also located on the property.

In addition to this, the property featured formal, geometric gardens strongly influenced by European styles. These gardens prevailed as front entrances to homes into the 19th century.

The property has had several additional gardens including an East Garden featuring several roses, grape arbors, and more. All of these gardens have been recreated and maintained by the Kent-Delord House Museum Garden Club. This fine group of volunteers search for clues as to content and design of the gardens and use as many of the same species as possible to re-create the Delord family gardens.

This year, the Kent-Delord House Museum Garden Club and Cook and Gardener are teaming up to raise funds for the continued improvement and preservation of the house's gardens by holding a container gardening contest. Entries can be obtained at Cook and Gardener on Tom Miller Road in Plattsburgh. For a $5 entry fee, which is donated to the garden club, contestants receive a numbered pot. They are then encouraged to get creative and grow any style of container garden he or she chooses. The pots are returned to Cook and Gardener for judging the weekend of July 9, which is the same weekend as the club's yearly Secret Garden Tour. Pots will be judged by a panel of judges and can also be voted on by the public. The contest is a great way to express your gardening creativity, help preserve Plattsburgh's historic gardens, and possibly win some great prizes

Anne Lenox Barlow is a professional horticulturist who enjoys gardening with her family in Plattsburgh. She also chronicles her gardening experiences at her blog www.northcountrygarden.wordpress.com. She can be reached at a.lenox.barlow@gmail.com.

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