“We were soon conducted by the Doct. to his Garden…where we did not expect to meet…such perfection in gardening. About 5 acres laid out in good order, stored with almost every species of vegetables, fruit trees and flowers.” Henry Spalding, 1836
Historically, the garden at Fort Vancouver covered from five to eight acres and contained “tastefully arranged fine walks, each lined with strawberry vines”, beds of carrots, turnips, cabbage, potatoes, squash, parsnips, cucumbers, peas, tomatoes and beets, a variety of fruits, and flowers including roses and dahlias.
The Company shared this abundance, providing seeds and cuttings for local Native Americans interested in agriculture, and later, American settlers to the region.
A stroll through today’s garden gives you a glimpse at the fort’s agricultural history. Many of the vegetables and flowers are varieties from the era.
You may also see one of the dedicated Garden Volunteers, whose countless hours of labor make this garden possible. The variety of plantings still provides produce, and a place of beauty for visitors to see “such perfection in gardening”.
Did You Know?
Did you know that John McLoughlin, Chief Factor at Fort Vancouver, is known as the “Father of Oregon” for his aid to American immigrants arriving over the Oregon Trail? His home in Oregon City, Oregon is a unit of the national park system administered by Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. More...