Historic Gardening at Arlington House

History reenactor and Friends of Urban Agriculture volunteer gardener at Arlington House, Sandy Newton, discusses the historic gardening methods in use at the National Park Service’s Plot Against Hunger.

Ms. Newton briefly covers the history of Arlington House and two enslaved individuals, Ephraim Derricks and George Clark and their impact on how this garden was tended. She also discusses the role of the kitchen vegetable garden in the life of the house. Ms. Newton also discusses other farming efforts over the life of the plantation from Custis to Lee and beyond. She also describes challenges the garden faces in the 21st century and its value today in donating fresh produce to local pantries to benefit Arlington’s neediest families.

Sandy Newton has worked at Mount Vernon for 32 years as a guide, farm supervisor, and historical character interpreter. She served as the Secretary to the Director and Board at Mount Vernon, a position that enabled her to touch all areas of Mount Vernon. She has been a volunteer at Arlington House for decades. Sandy is on the Board of Directors to the Arlington Historical Society, where she serves as Secretary. As a military wife Sandy has lived in many places and she has been involved in the history of every place they lived. While in Minnesota she worked as a guide in the State Capitol and at the James J. Hill House. Sandy has a degree in textiles and was a curator at the Hillwood Museum where she catalogued and identified the lace collection. Sandy has been in Arlington since 1982 and she has been active in several service organizations in the county. She was President of the Arlington Civic Federation. She is a spinner and weaver and volunteers at both AHS museums.

This video is a recording of one in a series of free monthly public events hosted by the Arlington Historical Society on August 10, 2023. The video runs for 48 minutes and 27 seconds.