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Bacon's Castle

Bacon’s Castle: 17th Century Garden

A highlight of any visit to Bacon's Castle is a stop at the 17th-century garden to see what is in bloom. This reconstructed garden replicates what was on site during the lifetime of Arthur Allen and his son and is based on archaeological evidence as well as a careful study of surviving documents. The project was generously sponsored by the Garden Club of Virginia.

The plan for the garden is a rectangular grid divided into six planting beds. White sand walkways give access to the planting beds. A brick wall at the north end of the garden provides wind protection and sun-reflected warmth for the starting bed at its base. Near the foundations of outbuildings around the garden archaeologists found wine bottles bearing the seals of Arthur Allen.

Only plant varieties that were grown in the late 17th century are cultivated at the Castle garden. Plants of that time that we know today include Larkspur, Hollyhocks, Snapdragons, and Columbine. Less common heirlooms that still flourish at the Castle include Elecampane, Sensitive Plant, Celandine Poppy, Sweet Rocket, and Love Lies Bleeding Amaranth. Heirloom plants give us a glimpse of our ancestry-they are living hand-me-downs. These plants are often more vigorous, flavorful, colorful and reliable than today's hybrids.