Gardening the Amana Way
Publication Year: 2013
Each of the seven villages in Amana relied on the food prepared in its communal kitchens, and each kitchen depended on its communal garden for most of the dishes served (the kitchens in Rettig’s hometown produced more than four hundred gallons of sauerkraut in 1900). Rettig begins by describing the evolution of communal gardening in old Amana, focusing especially on planting, harvesting, and storing vegetables from asparagus to egg lettuce to turnips. With the passing of the old order in 1932, the number of the society’s large vegetable gardens and orchards dwindled, but Larry Rettig and his wife, Wilma, still grow some of the colonies’ heirloom varieties in their fourth-generation South Amana vegetable garden. In 1980 they founded a seed bank to preserve them for future generations.
Rettig’s chapters on modern vegetable and flower gardening in today’s Amana Colonies showcase his Cottage-in-the-Meadow Gardens, now listed with the Smithsonian in its Archives of American Gardens. Old intermingles with new across his gardens: heirloom lettuce keeps company with the latest cucumber variety, a hundred-year-old rose arches over the newest daylilies and heucheras, and ancient grapevines intertwine with newly planted wisteria, all adding up to a rich array of colorful plantings.
Rettig extends his gardening advice into the kitchen and workroom. He shares family recipes for any number of traditional dishes, including radish salad, dumpling soup, Amana pickled ham, apple bread, eleven-minute meat loaf, and strawberry rhubarb pie. Moving into the workroom, he shows us how to make hammered botanical prints, Della Robbia centerpieces, holiday wreaths, a gnome home, and a waterless fountain. Touring his gardens, with their historic and unusual plants, will make gardeners everywhere want to reproduce the groupings and varieties that surround Larry and Wilma Rettig’s 1900 red brick house.
Published by: University of Iowa Press
Download PDF (115.0 KB)
Title Page, Copyright
Download PDF (171.7 KB)
Download PDF (161.7 KB)
Download PDF (161.7 KB)
Th.ais b.aook.a is dedicated to my lovely wife, Wilma, fellow gardener and life partner for these past f_if_ty years, and to the generations of com-munal women gardeners who preceded her.I am indebted to fellow authors and Amana Society members Emilie Hoppe and Peter Hoehnle for their valuable and painstaking research: Emilie for documentation of everyday life in communal Amana, especially as it relates to gardening, and Peter for his documentation of the history ...
Download PDF (179.8 KB)
Gardening.a in th.ae seven villages of Iowa’s Amana Colonies is a culmi-nation of gardening techniques, and gardening in general, that stretch back several centuries to Central Europe. It was a natural outcome of the need to provide food for a growing number of adherents to a new faith called Die Gemeinde der Wahren Inspiration (The Community of True Inspiration). Persecution for its beliefs forced this new subculture to form its own commu-nities and provide its own food sources for mutual survival and protection. ...
Chapter 1. The Community of True Inspiration
Download PDF (342.1 KB)
...————————————————————————————Goog.ale th.ae word “Amana” and you’ll quickly discover that it’s associ-ated with an amazing assortment of items. Falling under its rubric is an Islamic mutual fund, a collection of appliances, the name of a Hebrew mountain, a street in Honolulu, an academy in Georgia, a society, a corpora-tion, a place in Iowa. It’s the latter three in this litany that relate to our explo-Amana’s gardening legacy is built upon a rich history that reaches back in ...
Chapter 2. The Evolution of Communal Gardening in Amana
Download PDF (262.2 KB)
...———————————————————————————————To understand th.ae origins of Amana gardening, we need to travel back in time to the early 1eight.o00s, when the Inspirationists were, of ne-cessity, living a de facto communal life in Germany in the province of Hesse. While there’s no detailed evidence of how the Inspirationists gardened back then, we do f_ind mention now and then of various food- The historical record gets a bit more detailed with the move from Ger-...
Chapter 3. Gardening in Old Amana
Download PDF (605.3 KB)
...————————————————————————————If you h.aave ever h.aad the good fortune of raising your own vegeta-bles, you know how wonderful they taste when they’re whisked out of the garden and onto the table in short order. Imagine the coordinated ef_fort it would take to accomplish that act for an entire village, to say nothing of seven villages. The Amana settlers did just that, and they did it well.Fuelling the bustling activity in the seven villages was the wonderful ...
Chapter 4. Vegetable Gardening in Modern Amana
Download PDF (233.3 KB)
...——————————————————————————————Wilm.aa and I live in a verdant valley dominated on either side of the beautiful Iowa River by heavily forested bluf_fs. The soil here is of the type considered to be the richest in the world, found elsewhere only in the Ukraine. We live within the conf_ines of a 2six.o,000- acre game preserve, where deer, ducks, geese, swans, bald eagles, coyotes, foxes, raccoons, the occasional cougar and bobcat, and countless other animal species make their ...
Chapter 5. Flower Gardening in Modern Amana
Download PDF (244.2 KB)
...————————————————————————————Wh.aat m.aodern A.am.aana gardens may lack in fruit and vegetable pro-duction, they certainly make up for in blooming plants. Tourists vis-iting the Amanas of_ten mention the beautiful f_lower gardens they When I moved to South Amana in 1977, I soon discovered that tourists and locals alike had dubbed the village the f_lower capital of the Amanas. It wasn’t hard to see why. Flowers seemed to blossom forth from every nook ...
Chapter 6. Favorite Plants in Cottage-In-The-Meadow Gardens
Download PDF (232.8 KB)
...—————————————————————————————————I’m.a often ask.aed what my favorite plant is. Invariably, my mind goes blank. There are so many, and I like them all! But one thing I can do with ease is tell you what plants I’m currently using to create my vignettes. Like all gardens, ours are a work in progress, so my vignettes are always evolving. Here are some tried- and- true plants that I use quite of_ten. The last three are (See photo 7 in color section.) As mentioned in chapter 5, coleus is versatile ...
Chapter 7. Creativity In and Out of the Gardens
Download PDF (272.7 KB)
...———————————————————————————————I love th.ae b.aeauty that the world of plants of_fers us, so I don’t really mind the weeding, mulching, watering, and feeding they require to look their best. But I like to interact with our gardens in more creative ways, aside from plant placement and color schemes. In this chapter and the next, We’ll take a look at garden produce f_irst. Cooking and food presentation are arts that allow us to be creative with the food we raise. Next is a section on ...
Chapter 8. Gardening Indoors
Download PDF (171.6 KB)
...————————————————————————————E ventually th.ae g.aardening.a season must end. I always take my memories of the year’s gardens into the winter season with me. But something else carries me through until spring.Wilma was somewhat skeptical — okay, actually f_labbergasted — when I approached her about my yen to build a tropical garden in the middle of three bedrooms on the second f_loor of our 112- year- old home. (See photo 43 ...
Download PDF (4.0 MB)
...2. The lilies are so numerous that they cover the entire surface of the Lily Lake. (The white bench is quite old, appearing in a photo of Wilma’s grandparents on their fiftieth wedding anniversary, March 24, 1946.) Note the Prestele trellis.4. Weeping mulberry with conical hydrangea blossoms in background left.7. As you turn around and face south, the patio area reveals itself. ...
Botanical Names of Plants in This Book
Download PDF (140.2 KB)
Download PDF (124.2 KB)
Download PDF (132.0 KB)
Download PDF (126.1 KB)
Page Count: 162
Illustrations: 20 b&w photos, 44 color photos, 1 map
Publication Year: 2013
Edition: 1st ed.
Series Title: Bur Oak Book
Series Editor Byline: Holly Carver