Rooted in History: Bountiful Heirloom Gardens to Discover
Winston-Salem boasts a number of impressive historic and heirloom gardens that tell the rich agricultural history of the city. Spring and summer seasons bring gorgeous blossoms of hydrangeas, bright sunflowers, fragrant herbs (be sure to shop our Farmers Markets) and leafy vegetables. The earliest known community garden was planted in 1759 just 10 minutes outside of present-day Winston-Salem in Bethabara, the first North Carolina Moravian settlement. Then, in 1766, the Moravians settled the town of Salem and gardening practices which were once used for stocking their own pantries became a successful means of trade. It's safe to say our deep Moravian roots have set the standard for gardening in Winston-Salem since their arrival more than two centuries ago. Winston-Salem has an abundance of well-maintained historical gardens for visitors to tour. Below is a preview of our scenic gardens you can experience on your visit to Winston-Salem.
Gardens to Explore
Take a walk through the gardens at Historic Bethabara Park and enter into the days of the 18th century North Carolina backcountry. Bethabara is home to Winston-Salem’s oldest gardens dating back to 1753. Early settlers used gardening as a way to stay connected to the community as well as provide nourishing meals. Today, the meticulously reconstructed gardens, though reconstructed, celebrate that same sentiment. The 1759 Community Garden at Historic Bethabara Park is surrounded by a hand-split picket fence and is lovingly maintained by local gardeners who specialize in colonial agriculture. Today heritage plants and other varieties are planted based on original documents by Christian Reuter, North Carolina’s first forest ranger. The community garden is the only known, well-documented colonial community garden in the U.S. Bethabara is also home to Hortus Medicus (reconstructed), the country's oldest known medical garden. Registered as a National Historic Landmark, Bethabara Park sets the standard for classical charm.
Click here to learn more.
Upcoming Spring Events:
Bethabara Highland Games
Saturday, May 13; Begins at 9 a.m.
Admission is free.
Reminiscent of the Scotch Fairs that were held in the Carolinas in May in the late 1790s, the 17th annual Bethabara Highland Games and Celtic Music Festival offers a relaxing day for family gatherings, musical entertainment, and the camaraderie of competition. This traditional celebration kicks of with Scottish heavy athletics beginning at 9 a.m. Historic Bethabara Park opens to the public at 10 a.m.
Traditional Scottish athletic competitions are once again a highlight of this year's Games with tartan-clad athletes throwing the 56 & 28 lb weights for height and distance. Champion athletes test their strength by tossing the 100+ pound, 19+ foot caber end over end. Other events include the Clachneart (Stone of strength), hammer throw, and the sheaf toss for height.
Celtic music fans will enjoy the 6th Bethabara Scottish Fiddle Competition. Melinda Crawford, a former U.S. National Scottish Fiddling Champion and President of Scottish F.I.R.E. will offer a seminar and judge the competition. The competition, sanctioned by Scottish F.I.R.E., offers competitors the privilege of competing in the National Scottish Fiddle Competition.
The Fiddle and Bow Society hosts entertainment on the Main Stage and pipe bands will perform throughout the day.
Kids enjoy Colonial games and the children's Scottish athletic competition. They may also don their Scottish gear as kilts are available for children free of charge. Beautiful Border collies perform in addition to there being several seminars about Scottish history, and demonstrations of Highland and Irish Dance. Bring a picnic of your own or purchase food onsite sold by vendors adjacent to the picnic area.
No pets allowed at the Bethabara Highland Games.
The Single Brothers’ Garden in historic Old Salem was once responsible for feeding as many as sixty men of the Salem Single Brothers’ Choir. Now an award-winning restoration garden, it is the largest interpreted garden in Old Salem. Today the Single Brothers’ Garden is planted with crops representing what the unmarried men grew in their kitchen garden during the late 18th century as well as some of their field crops. Heirloom vegetables and grains are found in the garden throughout spring. To learn more about Single Brothers' Garden click here.
Across from the Single Brothers' Garden are the Miksch Gardens and House. Offering visitors a look at the "Seed to Soil to Supper" process, this is the most intensive living history site in Salem. Here (ticket required) visitors are immersed into the life-sustaining activities of the 18th century as they interact with the interpreters.
History of the Miksch family: The 1771 Matthew Miksch House is the first single family home built in Salem. Matthew Miksch was trained as a gardener in Europe where he learned the skills to support his family by growing and selling vegetables, seeds and young fruit trees. He served as the forester and assisted master surveyor, Christian Reuter, with the survey of Wachovia.
Old Salem Museums & Gardens is one of America's most well-documented historic attractions. Old Salem engages visitors in an educational and memorable experience about the Moravians who settled, lived and worked in Salem in the early South. Spring garden workshops are offered now through May in Old Salem. Enjoy learning in the historic town of Salem where one can walk the cobblestone sidewalks to the beautiful heirloom gardens. To register for the workshops below please visit their site here.
Upcoming Garden Workshops and Events
All Old Salem Garden Workshops are free to attend.
Eating to Live or Living to Eat? Cooking with Herbs
Saturday, April 29; 10 – 11 a.m.
Wachovia Room, Old Salem Visitor Center, 900 Old Salem Road
We know that our lifestyle matters to one’s health. Join Old Salem Gardens to discover natural herbs and spices that complement a healthy constitution. Learn insight into natural remedies.
Presented by Trinidad-native Songa Leopold Fultz.
Living with Coyotes
Saturday, May 13; 10 – 11 a.m.
Wachovia Room, Old Salem Visitor Center, 900 Old Salem Road
Learn about one of the most persecuted animals in North Carolina: the coyote. Coyote ecology, the impact of human behavior on its population, and practical ideas to keep domestic pets safe and coyotes wild will be presented.
Presented by Marilyn McGee, local writer and educator, and NC representative for Project Coyote.
Thursday, May 25; Noon – 1 p.m.
Wachovia Room, Old Salem Visitor Center, 900 Old Salem Road
Explore techniques to make your own herbal remedies from plants in your garden. Receive guided direction from start to finish, including how to use items already in your kitchen apothecary. Presented by herbalist Elizabeth G. Morgan of the Dandelion Soap Herb Shop.
Attendees may bring lunch; beverages provided.
Adjacent to the Reynolda House Museum of American Art, the Reynolda Gardens paint a vivid portrait of roses in full bloom, seasonal vegetables and interesting succulents. A walk through the gardens and into the greenhouse not only provides stunning scenery -- it provides a history lesson on early 20th century Winston-Salem during the Reynolds family era. Designed in 1913 on the historic estate of Winston-Salem's tobacco tycoon R.J. Reynolds and wife Katharine Reynolds, Reynolda Gardens hosts numerous year round workshops allowing visitors to learn new gardening techniques as well as discover Katharine Reynolds' vision of these magnificent gardens. With plants native to the area showing what it would have looked like then and new plant introductions to add a modern vibe, the Reynolda Gardens are the perfect example of how history is still very present today. Start your journey inside the reconstructed greenhouse then venture on to see the boathouse, wetlands and maybe take a jog on wooded trails.
Reynolda Gardens is free to tour and open year round during daylight hours. Please visit reynoldagardens.org to learn more.
Upcoming Garden Events:
Featuring twenty-six spectacular gardens that showcase seasonal flowers, ornamental shrubs, and a wide variety of trees native to the area. The Arboretum and Gardens at Tanglewood is one of the most beautiful outdoor attractions in Forsyth County. Nestled behind Tanglewood's historic Manor House, the gardens are open to the public year-round.
2017 Arboretum Adult Education Seminars
All classes are free to attend. Mention the Arboretum Seminar to the park officer working the main entrance for free admission into the park.
Arboretum Office Location: 4201 Manor House Circle, Clemmons, NC 27012
To register for any Arboretum Seminar, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 336-703-2850 no earlier than 2 weeks before the date of the program.
Find the Arboretum Office at Tanglewood:
The Arboretum Office is a white building located behind the Manor House which is on your left-hand side after you enter the park. You may park in the Manor House parking lot, which is to the right of the house as you face it from the street.
Insects in the Garden
Wednesday, May 17; 11 a.m. - Noon
Learn how to create a habitat for beneficial insects with flowering plants and cover crops that provide year-round resources for pollinators and
predators. Cultural practices to prevent pest damage on vegetable crops and tips for managing specific pests will
Wednesday, June 21; 11 a.m. - Noon
North Carolina is home to many native carnivorous plants, including the Venus flytrap, the official state carnivorous plant. Learn about some of the carnivorous plants found in NC and how you can include them in your home garden.
Creative Vegetable Gardening
Wednesday, July 19; 11 a.m. - Noon
Learn how to use your creative talent and innovative spirit to increase productivity in the vegetable garden and make it a fun place to work.
Our newest garden celebrates new and historic roots. Located in the heart of Kernersville, just 15 minutes outside from downtown Winston-Salem, sits Paul J. Ciener Botanical Garden with two acres, 15 separate gardens and 1,300 different types of plants. An extraordinary feature found here is the Kitchen Garden, planted in accordance with Moravian tradition. The Pattern Garden at PJCBG contains the largest spring bulb display in the Piedmont Triad area.
The garden is open from dawn until dusk 365 days a year.
Admission is free.
For information on Paul J. Ciener and their gardening lectures series and events click here.
Check out Paul J. Ciener's Event and Workshop Calendar:
Concert on the Lawn featuring Balsam Range
Thursday, June 1; 6:30 - 8 p.m.
Elements of jazz, country, gospel, swing, and old-time music are all infused into the fresh sound of this unique Southern band. It's five distinct personalities create one remarkable musical experience. From where the Smokies meet the Blue Ridge, award-winning Balsam Range is offering something that is sure to continue to mesmerize fans of Bluegrass and beyond with their new release Mountain Voodoo. Food trucks, local beer and wine are available for purchase. No coolers, pets or smoking.
Attendees should plan to bring a lawn chair or blanket. The concert is held rain or shine.
To learn more about BALSAM RANGE, click here.
Spring/Summer Farmers Markets in Winston-Salem
The spring and summer months are known for stirring the senses and inspiring creativity in the kitchen. Visit Winston-Salem's many farmers markets and treat your palate to fresh berries, fragrant herbs and bright vegetables. Just can’t wait for the weekend markets? Cobblestone Farmers Market Downtown is located in the Downtown Arts District every Wednesday afternoon. Tanglewood Park Farmers Market covers double shifts on Thursdays and Saturdays and Reynolda Village Farmer’s Market offers a Friday fill-up on produce, meats and flowers. Weekend markets include the Cobblestone Farmers Market in Old Salem, Kernersville Farmers Market and the year-round Dixie Classic Farmer’s Market, each on Saturdays.
Cobblestone Farmers Market: Historic Old Salem District
Every Saturday, April-November
9 a.m. - Noon
Old Salem Museum & Gardens
Corner of West & Salt Streets, adjacent to the Single Brothers Garden
Ranked as one of the best farmers markets in America by U.S. News & World Report, Old Salem Cobblestone Market is a bountiful, producer-only market that entices food-enthusiasts with farm fresh vegetables/produce, leafy greens, grass-fed beef and lamb and freshly picked flowers. Click here to see the rankings.
The Old Salem Cobblestone Market is located next to the Single Brothers Garden and is open Saturdays from 9 a.m. until noon. To learn more about seasonal offerings at the market click here.
Mother-daughter duo Margaret and Salem Norfleet Neff created and operate the Cobblestone Markets and are also the proprietors for Beta Verde. Beta Verde is a “home sown” production that retails small batch local pickles and preserves. Many of the ingredients are harvested in Margaret and Salem’s backyard along with the partnership of local farms. To learn more information about Beta Verde click here.
Dixie Classic Farmers Market
Every Saturday Year-round; 6 a.m. - 1 p.m.
421 W. 27th Street (Dixie Classic Fairgrounds)
Winston-Salem's only year-round Saturday farmers market features locally grown seasonal fruits and vegetables, flowers, jams, jellies, meats, honey, a variety of crafts and fresh baked goods. The Dixie Classic Fair Farmers Market is open on the Dixie Classic Fairgrounds every Saturday from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. For updates on weekly vendors visit their website at www.dcfair.com/farmers-market.
Tanglewood Park Farmers Market
May - October
Every Thursday; 4 - 6 p.m. and every Saturday; 8:30 am.. - noon
4201 Manor House Circle
Clemmons, NC 27012
Winston-Salem's newest farmers market is held on the scenic grounds of Tanglewood Park. Patrons look forward to finding a variety of fresh, locally sourced meats, cheeses, produce and herbs. The Market is located across from the Tanglewood RV Campground and adjacent to the dog park area. Patrons are able to access the farmers market without paying the park entrance.
Visit their website here.