Massachusetts has a long and rich garden tradition, starting with those first meger gardens of the Pilgrims who landed here in 1620. The first recorded gardens were those of the granted plots along the Town Brook in Plymouth. Governor Brewster's garden is now marked by a statue of the Pilgrim Maiden, a short distance from Plymouth Rock.
The old Fairbanks House in Dedham, built in 1636 is one of the oldest frame houses in America.
As Boston became the chief center of the colony, many notable people built holmes and gardens. Early records tell of many beautiful and extensive gardens that lined the Boston streets.
Among them were those of Peter Faneuil, who built the first greenhouse in New England; and Thomas Hancock, on whose ground the state house now stands. There were many notable gardens of eminent and wealthy citizens attached to the beautiful holmes built "in the grand manner."
The growing of fruits had a very important place in the early gardens, most of the finest gardens included fruit trees for both beauty and food. In 1646 an enactment was passed that "any person known to rob or injure any orchard or garden should forfeit treble damages to the owner."
In 1648, Governor John Endicott of Salem traded 500 fruit trees for a tract of land of 250 acres, indicating the value placed upon fruit trees at that time. Governor Endicott is also responsible for bringing the first seedling apple tree to Massachusetts. The Endicott pear was imported from England and planted in 1630, one of the oldest fruit trees cultivated in New England.
Governor John Winthrop was granted a section of land on what is now Governor's Island in Boston Harbor, for growing fruit. The rent for this land was to be 2 bushels of apples a year, one for the Governor and one for the general court.
In 1793 while surveying for a canal, an apple tree was found that was almost destroyed by woodpeckers. Scions were cut from this pecker tree and grafted by Loammi Baldwin onto some of his trees around his home in Woburn. From this came the famous Baldwin apple. A monument was erected in Woburn in honor of the Baldwin apple.
The Massachusetts Horticultural Society was formed in 1829.
In the 1840's, Shadetree Planting Associations were formed in many Massachusetts towns by public spirited citizens. They asked landowners to plant shade trees on the streets in front of their property
The Concord grape was originated by Ephraim W. Bull in 1849. It created a great sensation in the horticultural world, and became the most important commercial grape for many years. A monument was erected on the road between Concord and Lexington honoring the grape.
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