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The Frugal Gardener

I'm a Tosa resident and gardener for 40 years who loves to save money. I'm the daughter of Maryalice Koehne, an award- winning garden writer. Gardening is holistic and can be inexpensive, let me tell you the deals I've found.

Patriotic Planting

Patriotic Planting


Excuse the tardiness, the big garden spruce up push delayed this blog! No this is not about red, white and blue petunias in beds or containers though they do look nice!


In the spirit of Independence Day, I'd like to offer information on early farming and horticulture with a focus on some of our historical national treasures. The museums and working farms and gardens at our disposal throughout the nation and in Wisconsin can be rivaled by few countries with the exception of England, France and Italy. Heirloom seeds are a focal point of many great destinations in the United States. Early settlers brought few items to the New World but seeds were an imperative.


In our own backyard, we are blessed to have Old World Wisconsin. This amazing slice of history provides great educational opportunities for young and old. The focus on heirloom seeds and native plants is amazing. My Mother, Maryalice Koehne gifted our first membership to OWW when my oldest was in kindergarten.


Unfortunately recent tornadoes have wiped out many buildings:


Old World Wisconsin could use your support now more than ever!

Check it out here: .


Tour the gardens and farms and see what the earliest settlers brought from their homeland to grow for food, feed and profit. Selecting the fertile soil of Wisconsin, immigrant farmers were highly successful.   Subsistence farming was common but whenever possible items were bartered or sold.


Our family has participated in many war reenactments, dinners, special days as well as a colonial history day camp.


While the staff are not in character as at Plimoth Plantation in Massachusetts, the depth and breadth of knowledge of staff cannot be rivaled.


Find more information about historical sites in Wisconsin here:


From the brochure:


Historic Sites: The Society’s network of 10 historic sites promotes

tourism and provides for the comprehensive study, appreciation and

enjoyment of Midwestern frontier history.

The historic sites, located throughout Wisconsin, include:

Old World Wisconsin, Eagle, WI

Outdoor living history museum of immigrant farm and village life

Circus World, Baraboo, WI

America's circus museum, built on the original

site of the Ringling Bros. Circus winter quarters

Stonefield, Cassville, WI

1900s farming village, Agricultural Museum and Governor

Nelson Dewey home

First Capitol, Belmont, WI

The birthplace of Wisconsin’s territorial government

Reed School, Neillsville, WI

A 1940s one-room school

Pendarvis, Mineral Point, WI

A restored Cornish miners' colony

Villa Louis, Prairie du Chien, WI

Magnificently restored Victorian country estate

Madeline Island Museum, La Pointe, WI

A museum of Apostle Islands exploration and


H.H. Bennett Studio, Wisconsin Dells, WI

Historic studio of the man who made Wisconsin Dells


Wade House, Greenbush, WI

1860s stagecoach inn, sawmill and carriage museum


One of my most memorable trips was touring our great state with my Mother and younger brother exploring for a few weeks the summer after graduating from Tosa East.


Around the country:


Plimoth Plantation is a unique bi-cultural museum with interpreter who play roles of historical figures:


Plimoth offers settlements of the Wampanoag People and the Colonial English community in the 1600s. Vegetable and Herb gardens are tended and produce used in cooking. Seeds are available for purchase. For many years I grew items from Plimoth and harvested seeds for future use.


Old Sturbridge Village features life in New England from 1790 to 1840. Though I've not visited since

childhood my East Coast settled sister reports that it is still an outstanding destination.


Mount Vernon:



Monticello's Gardens:


Colonial Williamsburg:




Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton VA:



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