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March 3, 2009

Illustrated lectures and book signings at two Winston-Salem historic gardens feature "Flowers and Herbs of Early America"

Colonial Williamsburg curator of plants Lawrence Griffith will present illustrated lectures at two historic gardens in Winston-Salem, N.C., on Tuesday, March 31. Both lectures will feature presentations based on his book, “Flowers and Herbs of Early America.”

Griffith’s first appearance will be at 12:30 p.m. at Reynolda Gardens of Wake Forest University, Education Wing of the Greenhouse, 100 Reynolda Village. During his lecture, he discusses his experience researching and growing long-lost and underappreciated plants. This colorful lecture, partly illustrated with photographs from the book, mixes history and plant identification in a way that makes these flowers and herbs accessible to the public. The lecture will be followed by a book signing. Books will be available for purchase. Admission is $5. The event is free for Friends of Reynolda Gardens. For more information, call (336) 758-3485.

The 129 acres known as Reynolda Gardens were part of the 1,067-acre estate developed by Richard Joshua Reynolds and Katharine Smith Reynolds in the early 20th century. One hundred twenty-five acres of woodlands, fields, wetlands and a four-acre formal garden with greenhouse range have been preserved. Today Reynolda Gardens is a center for learning and quiet recreation within the city of Winston-Salem, N.C.

At 4 p.m. guests can tour the restored 1761 medical garden, the earliest known and well-documented colonial medical garden in the United States, at Historic Bethabara Park, 2147 Bethabara Road. At 5:30 p.m., Griffith will discuss plants used in colonial medicine. A reception and book signing follow. Admission is $3.

Bethabara is the 1753 site of the First Moravian settlement in North Carolina. A National Historic Landmark, this 1753 site of the German-speaking, Protestant settlement nestled in a picturesque, wooded 183-acre wildlife preserve with 126 species of birds. The museum features a unique, restored and furnished 1788 church, archaeological ruins, Visitor Center with introductory video, exhibits and tours with costumed guides, as well as a reconstructed village, a French and Indian War fort and colonial and medical gardens. For more information, visit

The lectures are sponsored by Reynolda Gardens of Wake Forest University, Historic Bethabara Park and Forsyth County Historic Resources Commission.

“Flowers and Herbs of Early America” is illustrated with elegant period engravings and striking contemporary photographs by Colonial Williamsburg staff photographer Barbara Temple Lombardi. The book and lectures will be a dazzling visual treat for armchair gardeners and admirers of Colonial Williamsburg’s famous gardens. Lombardi will be present at the book signings.

Gifts from Janet and Fred Brubaker of Somerset, Pa., Teresa and Ken Wood of Chester Springs, Pa., and the Mars Foundation of McLean, Va., have made possible this exquisitely photographed and meticulously researched book of Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area flowers and herbs.

“Flowers and Herbs of Early America” can be purchased at WILLIAMSBURG Booksellers in Colonial Williamsburg’s Visitor Center, 101A Visitor Center Drive, by phone at 1-800-446-9240 or at The book is published by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation in association with Yale University Press, which will distribute books outside Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area. The suggested retail price for the book is $50.

Established in 1926, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational institution that preserves and operates the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia as a town-sized living history museum, telling the inspirational stories of our nation’s founding men and women. Within the restored and reconstructed buildings, historic interpreters, attired as colonial men and women from slaves to shopkeepers to soldiers, relate stories of colonial Virginia society and culture – stories of our journey to become Americans – while historic trades people research, demonstrate and preserve the 18th-century world of work and industry. As Colonial Williamsburg interprets life in the time of the American Revolution guests interact with history through “Revolutionary City®” – a dramatic live street theater presentation.

Williamsburg is located in Virginia’s Tidewater region, 20 minutes from Newport News, within an hour’s drive of Richmond and Norfolk, and 150 miles south of Washington, D.C., off Interstate 64. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s Web site at

Media Contact:
Penna Rogers
(757) 220-7121