St. Francisville History Archive

Civic Heritage

Posted December 8, 2012 By Suzanne Holland
Joules at Country House Outdoor
Martha Turnbull
I live in St. Francisville, La and this post will be the first of several that I write about Martha Turnbull, the Mistress of Rosedown Plantation here in St. Francisville.
I am working on my Civic Heritage Badges.
Beginner Level:
My husband and I very often bring our children to Rosedown Plantation. It is by far our family’s 
favorite.  The history is so rich, the story of the family is so inspiring.
The gardens are so wonderful.
But it is Martha that draws me back each time.
Rosedown was built for Martha by her husband Daniel and it is there that 
they lived and raised their family.  Rosedown is the place that Martha  brought 
may plant specimens from all over the world that she discovered 
during her travels with Daniel.  She introduced Azaleas to the Felicianas.
She designed , planted and maintained extensive gardens.
These included the kitchen garden, the orchard, the plantation garden, and
 the pleasure garden.
One of the many things that  impressed me about Martha Turnbull was 
her wonderful record keeping.  It was from those records that she started in 1836 and continued 
on for some 60 years that detailed accountings of the her gardens and everyday life at 
Rosedown can be gathered and appriciated.
I think she was a remarkable women.  She had a vision.  It is very clear in her writings that she 
was very hands on.  She wrote clearly about being in the gardens helping with the plantings, spending long 
hours on her hands and knees with her workers and helpers–(this is how she referred to her slave help).
She asked nothing from them that she was not willing to do herself.
I always think about  what life was like for Martha.  She was well traveled and had many 
advantages that most people even today would love to have.  I adore gardening. I could  plant 
bulbs and tend plants all day.  I know my husband cringes when I go near a nursery because I can not resist
buying more plants.  But….it does take large resources to operate on a Martha Turnbull level.
Martha Turnbull 

Martha’s Gardens

Rosedown Plantation
My next post will be about working as a host during “Pilgrimage”

Burpee Gardening

"Audubon Spring Pilgrimage"

Posted February 15, 2010 By Suzanne Holland

Well I have to say, there is nothing sweeter than watching littler girls  dressed in 1820′s frocks complete with pantalettes and ballet slippers dancing around the May Pole. The girls  start in first grade as a Sweet Maid and work their way up to the May Pole Dance as they get older.

Alice (who is in the first grade) starts her Pilgrimage Tradition this year. She is so excited. Lily wants so much for it to be her turn too. We have had a lovely time collecting vintage laces and fabrics for their dresses. Yes, I said dresses. I will make Lily a dress to wear around town to see her sister dance.  She will fit right in.

I look forward to the beautiful flowers that the Spring weather brings. I am looking forward most of all to seeing my girls beaming faces, as they are all dressed up in their old fashioned clothes. 

Learn more about the “Audubon Spring Pilgrimage” at the link below.

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