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Cultivating Canadian Gardens: A History of Gardening in Canada


Planting the Seeds

  • Native Agriculture and Plant Use
  • Canadian Flora
  • Pioneer Gardening
  • 19th Century Seed Catalogues

    Cultivating the Garden
    The Cultivators
    Reaping the Harvest
    Photos by Beth Powning
    Other Gardening Sites

  • Planting the Seeds

    Native Agriculture and Plant Use

    When the United Empire Loyalists arrived in Upper Canada, the Hurons introduced them to the Jerusalem Artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus), a member of the sunflower family. Its roots were eaten as a substitute for potatoes and saw many immigrants through the early, hungry years.

    Jerusalem Artichokes, Heritage Seed Program.
    Macnab, Dorrine.
    "Jerusalem Artichokes", Heritage Seed Program.
    Toronto: Heritage Seed Program, Vol.2 #2, Aug. 1989.
    Image of flower
    More than two hundred plants of the Pacific Northwest were used by aboriginal peoples for food, medicine, and other purposes. The women did the gathering of the berries, bulbs and vegetables, sometimes from favourite patches or areas considered to be their own particular territory. The bulb of the Blue Camas (Camassia quamash) provided a staple part of the diet for many.

    Food Plants of Coastal First Peoples.
    Turner, Nancy J.
    Food Plants of Coastal First Peoples.
    Vancouver: UBC Press, 1995.
    Image of flower
    The Huron women and children were responsible for growing food. Here they can be seen shooing away birds from the corn field.

    Image of flower
    Huron women grinding corn.

    Histoirae canadensis. sev. Novae-Franciae....
    Du Creux, François.
    Histoirae canadensis. sev. Novae-Franciae....
    Paris: 1664. [Reproduction of engraving opposite p. 22.]