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Garden History and Design
The Garden History and Design Committee (GH&D) strives to educate members about current and historic garden trends and designs through lectures, garden visits, garden literature, trips to garden-related museum exhibitions and information on local garden history-related events.

The Philipstown Garden Club Presents Textile Workshop on Early 19th Century Fibers and Dyestuffs

The Garden History and Design Committee teamed up with the Boscobel Herb Garden Committee to present a textile workshop on early 19th century fibers and dyestuffs.


The workshop was conducted by Penny Brickman, chair of GH&D, at Boscobel House and Gardens on March 15, 2022 and was well-attended by PGC members and Boscobel staff. The participants learned about the fibers and dyestuffs grown in the Boscobel Herb Garden, more specifically: how flax was processed into linen, fleece into yarn, and how various fibers and dyestuffs available in the Hudson River Valley in the early 19th century were used to produce vibrant colors. Penny demonstrated the equipment used in textile production and the process of dyeing fiber. She also demonstrated how to operate different types of spinning wheels.

The participants had an opportunity to pick and card wool to make rolags and spin them into yarn on drop spindles. It was evident that a number of PGC members are not only accomplished gardeners, but budding spinners!

Penny Brickman has worked at various living history museums in the Hudson River Valley and has lectured and taught many workshops on early textile production, historical uses of herbs, open hearth cooking, and other New Nation activities.














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Antique American Saxony spinning wheel set up to spin flax into linen thread 

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Penny spinning wool into yarn on a Saxony wheel from New Zealand

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Drop Spindle Demonstration

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Drop Spindles

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Fleece, cards, dyed  yarn, and dyestuffs

Dressed distaff, silk, cotton, flax on heckle, and basket of tow and linen thread

GH&D is also responsible for identifying and documenting gardens for inclusion in the Archives of American Gardens at the Smithsonian Institution.


GH&D visitied the Hammond Japanese Stroll Garden, May 2019


GH&D visit to The Shakespeare Garden at Vassar College, October 2015

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