Let’s get ready for the Garden Symposium!

It’s hard to imagine that this white wintry landscape will soon be rejuvenated with vibrant color. Spring is around the corner, and before we know it, it’ll be time to put our hands and knees in the dirt to get our backyards back in planting shape. Whether you are an experienced gardener or just getting started, Fort Ticonderoga’s Fourth Annual Garden and Landscape Symposium (April 18th) is here to assist. We’ll have four speakers, all with specific expertise related to gardening in northern climates.  Speakers and sessions include:

  • “The Healing Garden: Traditional Medicinals for Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow” by Nancy Scarzello
  • “Save the Monarchs! Native Plants for Native Pollinators” by Emily DeBolt
  • “A Favorite Place of Resort for Strangers: The King’s Garden at Fort Ticonderoga” by Lucinda Brockway
  • “Getting Control of Your Perennial Garden” by Amy Ivy
  • Panel Discussion with all the speakers facilitated by Master Gardener Diane O’Connor

If you want a more detailed description, go ahead and click here!


In the meantime, as we patiently wait for the layers of snow and ice to melt away so we can trade in our hot chocolate for lemonade, let’s continue to reflect on our gardens from the indoors. Do you consider yourself a green thumb connoisseur? Yea or nay, some fun facts and trivia will help pass time until temps get into the double positive digits.

Tomato on Trial!

I’m sure this isn’t news, but it’s been long debated as to whether a tomato should be considered a fruit or a vegetable. This debate primarily originates from two sides, the botanist and the chef. Botanically speaking, a fruit is a seed-bearing structure that develops from the ovary of a flowering plant to serve as a dispersing agent. Vegetables, on the other hand, are all other plant parts, such as roots, leaves, and stems. By those standards, seedy outgrowths such as apples, squash, and, yes, tomatoes are all fruits. Roots such as beets, potatoes and turnips, leaves such as spinach, kale and lettuce, and stems such as celery and broccoli are all vegetables.

The outlook is quite different in culinary terms, however. A lot of foods that are (botanically speaking) fruits, but which are savory rather than sweet, are typically considered vegetables by chefs. Regardless, all fruits and vegetables listed above can be found throughout Fort Ticonderoga’s Gardens and eaten at America’s Fort Café!

What seems like a light-hearted dispute has actually generated quite the fever pitch. In 1893, the tomato found its way into the United States Supreme Court case Nix v. Hedden. The court ruled unanimously that a tomato is correctly identified as, and thus taxed as, a vegetable, for the purposes of the Tariff of 1883 on imported produce. They acknowledged that a tomato is a botanical fruit, but went with the culinary definition of fruits and vegetables, which also happened to coincide with the higher taxes on imported vegetables that they could then apply to the tomato.

zone map

Click photo to find your Plant Hardiness Zone.

Now for some trivia!

  1. Which plants are most likely to thrive in your zone? If you’re around Ticonderoga, your plant hardiness zone is 5a.
  2. Monarch caterpillars’ only source of food is Asclepias (milkweed). What kind of native milkweed plants flourish in your area?
  3. When is the ideal time to divide the perennials that are growing in your garden?
  4. Which perennials are invasive in your area, and most likely to take over in your garden?
  5. From the bark of which tree did the first type of aspirin, pain killer, and fever reducer come from?
  6. What local flora can you harvest for home medicinal remedies?

Looking for answers? Ask our experts at the Symposium!

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