Digging for Information

To discover which plants were original
to Washington’s time, the team dug long, shallow rectangles in several places.
They dug just deep enough to see the clues that lay underground.

In some sections, the soil was darker than the surrounding dirt. This was an important clue. Washington used rich, manure-like soil for planting. It was more fertile. This darker soil revealed where the original planting beds were.

During their excavation, the team dug up shallow sections of the garden to look for clues in the soil.

Digging Deeper

What the team found in the soil was even more interesting. They found pollen and seeds from Washington’s time. They collected microscopic plant cell samples. These were sent to a special laboratory. There, scientists could determine the species of each plant. This helped inform researchers about whether a plant was indigenous to the region or exotic. Washington had both.

Importing plants from other parts of the world in Washington’s day would have taken a lot of time, money, and power. Washington had it all!