In 1957 the Indiana Society was given a Rappite house, the Lenz House, in the town of New Harmony. The town which is on the Register of Historic Places was founded by a sect of the Lutheran church that first settled in Pennsylvania. New Harmony is now operated by the University of Southern Indiana and the State of Indiana. More than 15,000 visitors tour Lenz House annually.The Rappite settlers emigrated from Wurtemberg, Germany first settling in Pennsylvania and then migrating to Indiana in 1815. In 1825 the group returned to Pennsylvania despite successful commercial endeavors in New Harmony. The town was sold to Robert Owen of Scotland who was determined to form a new “Utopia” there.
The Lenz House, an original settler’s home of the period, is restored to its original appearance including a vegetable and herb garden. A brick bake oven on the grounds is used for educational tours to illustrate baking methods of the period. The barn was rebuilt in 2011 to depict German craftsmanship of the era.
David Lenz House
The Harmonists were inspired by gardens they had seen in Germany. This includes inspiration for the labyrinth, according to one source, as almost every major European garden at the time had one. The garden at Heidelberg Castle had orange trees grown under glass; the Harmonists had an orangery, or moveable greenhouse. Paths in Harmonist gardens in Indiana would be straight and narrow. Vegetables were grown for household use, to feed the animals (for the cow, beets), and to sell to friends and neighbors. Flowers were grown along borders and fences for beauty and cut flowers for the house.
Vegetable and Herb Plant List
Northwest quad – Herbs
Artemsia, horseradish, lemon balm, lavender, thyme, oregano, rosemary, and yarrow
Pole beans, potatoes, carrots, sugar beets, brussels sprouts, and cabbage
Fall Planting: broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, lettuce, and acorn squash
Pole beans, potatoes, carrots, radishes, beets, cabbage, zucchini, and brussels sprouts
Fall Planting: leeks, carrots, radishes, and sweet peas
Southeast Quad – Herbs
Horehound, marjoram, sorrel, sage, rhubarb, savory, comfrey, thyme, tansy, and bee balm
Flower Plants in the David Lenz House Garden
Peony, daffodil, solidago, autumn clematis, dianthus, rose verbena, Joe Pye weed, bluehill salvia, poppy, day lily, shrub roses, iris, azalea, sweet woodruff, phlox “David”, and red bleeding heart