Master Gardeners Create Dye Garden at Historic Hanna’s Town


We are proud to share that the Penn State Master Gardeners of Westmoreland County have developed the new Dye Garden at Historic Hanna’s Town! 

The Master Gardeners, a group of volunteers who receive in-depth training in horticulture through Penn State Extension, developed this educational demonstration garden as a service project.  The Dye Garden provides us at Historic Hanna’s Town with the opportunity to interpret the historic uses of native and non-native plants, the colors that each plant produces, and the process of dyeing textiles. 

The Master Gardeners and education and collections staff at Historic Hanna’s Town worked together to collaboratively develop this project. We first researched plants used in the dyeing process, drafted our plant list, and came up with a timeline for the project. Several Master Gardeners worked together to design the layout of the garden, placing plants in certain areas according to height and visual interest.

During our first work day in April, the Master Gardeners tilled the grassy area in front of the Murry-Beacom House and laid down mulch and plastic to prevent weeds from springing up.

On May 15, the Master Gardeners reconvened to plant the garden. Two of the project coordinators, Karen and Matt Banks, purchased locally sourced plants at Friendship Farms and Shadowwood Gardens. Other plants are being started from seeds. The Dye Garden garden features plants that people in the late 18th century would have used to create natural dyes, including marigold, lavender, false indigo, purple coneflower, and more.

The garden is located in front of the Murry-Beacom House, where there is an exhibit of tools and equipment used for creating textiles, which residents of Hanna’s Town would have done to provide themselves with clothing, bags, towels, and bedding. 

Visit us on a tour of Historic Hanna’s Town to learn more about the Dye Garden and the history of textiles.

Thank you again to the Master Gardeners for their hard work!

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