The garden was established in 2008 by 2 Master Gardeners, Marilyn Wilson and Sylvia Simmons. In February 2008, a partnership with the Beaches Museum and the Duval County Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Program was proposed to create a Demonstration Garden. The purpose would be to demonstrate a sustainable kitchen garden, circa 1920, and to educate the community on the history of edible landscapes and sustainable garden practices. The Demonstration Garden was named the “Heritage Garden”.
Backstory and Context
Today the Heritage Garden consists of 6 garden areas in the Beaches Historical Park.
The Bromeliad or Shade Garden is located next to the Foreman’s House back porch. There are 20 varieties of colorful Bromeliad plants in this garden area.
The Herb Garden occupies a quarter circle space across from the cabin. This garden offers a sampling of herbs for culinary uses as well as a selection of herbs having a history of medicinal uses.
The Vegetable Garden occupies the fenced-in area on the west side of the Foreman’s House. This garden replicates a circa 1920 kitchen garden. The purpose is to demonstrate and educate the community on the history of edible landscape and sustainable garden practices which include utilizing organic amendments, crop rotation, and solarization.
The Perennial Garden is located on both sides of the Foreman’s House front porch and along the east side of the building. The garden consists of Florida Native and Heritage plants seen in the Beaches area in the 1920s. An interesting plant is the Coontie Palm which dates back to Florida’s earliest residents who crudely processed the plant to make a starch that was used to make bread.
The Rose Garden is between the Foreman’s House and the Depot building. This garden provides a variety of beautiful roses from the early 19th century to the present day. Some favorites are Assesblage de Beaut which is a small pink rose, Hybrid Tea-Folklore (1977) and Hybrid Angel Garden rose.
The Butterfly Garden is the area along the west and southwest sides of the Depot building. This garden is dedicated to providing habitat, nectar and host plants for butterflies in our Beaches area. The garden has 5 varieties of Milkweed, 2 are native to Florida, along with numerous other plants to attract pollinators.
The Heritage Garden is an award winning garden, recognized in 2008 by the City of Jacksonville as an outstanding example in “Greenspace Additions”. In 2012 the garden was awarded the distinguished “Outstanding Demonstration Garden Award” for its exceptional educational impact and contributions to the goals of community education by the UF/IFAS Florida Master Gardener Volunteer Program. Today 30 Master Gardener Volunteers maintain the Heritage Garden giving over 2,000 volunteer hours annually.
Wittmer, Dorothea . The Heritage Garden at Beaches Museum, Accessed June 23rd 2020.