Miller-Cory House Museum

Interpreting America’s past 1740-1820


Grounds and Garden


For the museum to effectively recreate the atmosphere in the midst of suburban metropolitan New Jersey, it is necessary not only to authentically furnish the Miller-Cory House and demonstrate the crafts and tasks performed by the members of a farm family, but also to provide the proper architectural setting. It is the goal of the Miller-Cory House Association, therefore, to restore, as nearly as possible, the area surrounding the Miller-Cory House by trying to make the grounds a microcosm of what they) might have been like in the 18th century.

The foundation plantings have been removed since homes in rural areas in colonial days did not have these special plantings. Lawns, such as we have today, were not known. Every bit of available land area was used for crops. Sheep kept the grass short by grazing in the orchard and other areas would be cut with a scythe or sickle when they grew too high.

In general, any plant that is known not to have grown in this era has been removed. For instance, the forsythia and weigela, which were introduced after 1840, and the mimosa tree, which was brought to this area in the 1900's, have been removed. The study of plants is an on-going project since many specimens have been hybridized so much that they hardly resemble the original plant. Authenticity is difficult due to the unavailability of information from original sources.

The herbs are probably the only plants that have remained in their original state as very little hybridizing has been done with most of them. They were not considered important after the advent of more modern medicine and better food storage facilities.

An orchard has been started by planting the same variety of fruit trees that were grown in colonial times. These are from a limited supply of original fruit trees grown especially for this purpose.

The garden areas are summarized as follows, and in similar fashion, information for the out-buildings is included. For further details and plant listings see the lists for the various gardens not included herewith.

Old Rose Garden

These varieties of roses, grown in the 18th century, are not often seen in the modern rose garden. They usually bloom, only once each season, but their perfume is heady and they are prized for their rose hips (seed pods). Today's roses are the result of cross breeding different varieties of old roses.

Take a Tour of the grounds and garden here!