Port City garden
Colonial society brought Portsmouth's Moffatt-Ladd House garden back to life
A grape vine blossoms on an arbor in the gardens of the Moffatt-Ladd House in Portsmouth. (Ralph Morang Photo)
Visiting the Moffatt-Ladd HouseHours: The Moffatt-Ladd house is open daily until Oct. 20. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 5pm. Tours last about an hour. Last tour starts at 4:30 p.m. Group tours (10 or more) are available through mid-November by appointment only.
Admission: House and garden admission is $6 for adults ($5 per person for groups of 10 or more) and $2.50 for children. Garden-only admission is $2. Season passes to the gardens are $15. Groups of 10 or more are charges $5 per person.
More info: The house is located at 154 Market St. in downtown Portsmouth. For more information call the house at 436-8221 or the office at 430-7968 or visit www.moffattladd.org.
"From 1900 to 1912 no one was caring for the gardens, so they became very run-down," said Liz Hoefler, chairman of the garden committee of the Moffatt-Ladd House and Garden in Portsmouth. "Especially because at that period it was a very rough part of town and it's obvious people sort of came in and took advantage of (the) fruit trees and such. So when we took it over, it was in very bad shape."
It was in 1912 that The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America in the State of New Hampshire took over the house and gardens. Populating the Moffatt-Ladd grounds with plants from their own gardens, members of the Dames brought the gardens back to life. Today, the Moffatt-Ladd House gardens are one of dozens of historical gardens in the state that are open to the public.
"Through letters and records, we know that a garden was being put in at the same time," Hoefler said. "Probably mostly for looks, for beauty— but also some utilitarian use (with) herbs a few veggies maybe, we don't know for sure."
But it would be the next generation, when Alexander Hamilton Ladd's family moved in, that the gardens would become glorious. Ladd lovingly worked the garden from 1850 until his death in 1900. The contents of his garden are known only because he kept notes on what he was working on in a journal.
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