Tipton-Haynes State Historic Site
Tipton-Haynes Historic Site is situated in a beautiful mountain valley of Eastern Tennessee and has been described as Tennessee’s most historic location. Early Woodland Indians and later the Cherokees established hunting camps on what is now Tipton-Haynes Historic Site. It was the home to statesmen from the American Revolution through the Civil War. French botanist Andre Michaux documented native plants during several visits to the site.
At Tipton Haynes State Historic Site, Master Gardeners maintain several gardens: wildflower/butterfly/pollinator gardens, a small kitchen garden, and what we call the slave garden.
In the front Nature and Herb gardens, our focus is variety and visual appeal for visitors to the site, AND for butterflies, bees, and other pollinators. Having been designated a Certified Monarch Waystation in 2014 we emphasize native plants and those that attract and/or serve as hosts for Monarchs and other caterpillars.
The Nature and Herb Gardens contain many plant varieties, including anise hyssop, aromatic aster, purple coneflower, orange coneflower, Tennessee coneflower, common milkweed, butterfly weed, blue anise sage, passion flower, pipe vine, and Prairie Coreopsis (to name a few). These plants provide a succession of blooms through the growing season and provide both nectar for butterflies and hummingbirds and food for caterpillars.
Because of the heavy rains in February 2019 we lost many of our coneflowers, mountain mint plants, and other pollinator plants. We were able to successfully replace some of those and plan to increase/replace other plants in 2020.
We began documenting the types and number of caterpillars in 2015. In 2019 we noted successful hosting of at least 8 dozen Monarch caterpillars, approximately 4 dozen Gulf Fritillary caterpillars, Black Swallowtail caterpillars, and Pipevine Swallowtail caterpillars. We also spotted close to 4 dozen Monarch chrysalises (there were probably more that we didn’t find!).
The vegetable gardens at Tipton/Haynes consist of two small plots in the historical area. The Kitchen Garden is representative of a small garden near the house that would have grown those vegetables that need a little extra care and be handy for meal preparation. We emphasize heirloom varieties where we can using varieties grown in Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello gardens. Colonel Tipton knew and corresponded with Jefferson, so we infer that maybe they exchanged gardening information.
In the Kitchen Garden we have some perennial plants: strawberries and rhubarb, and the herbs sage, oregano, lavender, and rosemary. Garlic is planted in the fall around the edges. In spring we plant broccoli and cabbage, onions, carrots, beets, lettuce, spinach, and chard. As it warms up, we add Heirloom tomatoes, peppers, and Scarlet runner beans. We also add some of the annual herbs. We may add some vine crops as the spring crops mature and are harvested.
The Slave Garden, as we call it, is located behind the restored slave cabin, home to George, the Haynes family’s slave. It was usual for slaves to have a small garden to provide some of their own food. Historical information is scarce so we choose to plant vegetables that originated in Africa, such as okra, field peas, peanuts and watermelon, plus some New World plants that George might have adopted: potatoes and squash. This garden is fenced in a wattle style, using branches and tree trimmings, such as George might have used to keep out the wildlife.
2019 was a pretty good year with some setbacks due to groundhogs and deer. Rainfall for the most part was adequate. We do have issues with getting enough sun as the area is shaded by many large trees. This year, we tried planting clover and ryegrass for a winter cover crop.
Our emphasis in these gardens is to display for the education of visitors to the historical site; we don’t try to maximize production. We do produce quite a bit of food, though, which we share with the staff, but mostly we just have a good time.
We always have a lot going on at Tipton-Haynes! Our volunteers made 2019 a success! Thanks to Vern Maddux, Betts Leach, John Hitchcock, Ed and Mary Alice Basconi, Kathy Horne, Claudia and Anastasia Hazel!
We welcome any Master Gardeners who are looking for a place to share fun and earn volunteer hours, please contact us! We typically work on Thursday, but are flexible if YOU want to help on another day. Contact: Vern at firstname.lastname@example.org or Betts at BettsL@aol.com