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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. 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. Browse our historic gardens guide online.
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.
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.
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. Seasonal Hands-On Workshops are hosted in Old Salem inviting you learn just as an apprentice would under a skilled trademan. To register for the workshops below please visit their site here.
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.
Featuring twenty-six spectacular gardens that showcase seasonal flowers, ornamental shrubs, and a wide variety of trees native to the area. The rose garden in front of the historic manor house contains more than 800 rosebushes, including more than 400 American Rose Society winners. Also, the enchanting arboretum behind the manor house and the nearby fragrance garden make a beautiful stop on any tour of Tanglewood’s gardens.
The gardens are open to the public year-round.
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.
Seasonal Farmers Markets in Winston-Salem
Visit Winston-Salem's array of seasonal farmers markets for the freshest local produce, meats, and potted plants. 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 Carolina Classic Farmer’s Market, each on Saturdays.
Cobblestone Farmers Market: Historic Old Salem District
Every Saturday, April-November
8:30 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, Cobblestone Farmers 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.
Cobblestone Farmers 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.
Carolina Classic Farmers Market
Every Saturday Year-round; 6 a.m. - 1 p.m.
421 W. 27th Street (Carolina 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 Carolina Classic Fair Farmers Market is open on the Carolina 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.