Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site of Canada

Growing Heritage

A costumed interpreter working in the garden examines the red buds on Scarlett Runner bean plants
An interpreter inspects Scarlett Runner beans
© Parks Canada
Have you ever wanted to taste an Early Scarlet Turnip Rooted Radish, or a Champion of England Pea?

These rare plants are among the thirty varieties of heritage fruits and vegetables featured in the Lower Fort Garry gardens this summer. Parks Canada, in collaboration with Heritage Harvest Seeds of Carman, Manitoba, researched the different types of produce grown at Lower Fort Garry between 1840 and 1880. These investigations revealed that the early settlers cultivated and enjoyed a wide variety of delicious and nutritious produce. The legacy of this frontier horticulture lives on in the descendent seeds from these plants, which will be planted in the two newly expanded gardens at the Fort in summer 2011.

In addition, a smaller garden at the Visitor Reception Centre will commemorate the three primary crops of some Aboriginal cultures – the “three sisters” – corn, beans and squash, which have grown in this area for centuries. These three plant varieties thrive on and support each other’s growth.

Let’s hope for a good harvest!

Parks Canada is grateful to Heritage Harvest Seed, Carman, Manitoba, for their generous donation of seeds and for their assistance with research for this year’s Lower Fort Garry gardens.