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May 17, 2011

Colonial Williamsburg Publishes 18th-century Personal Garden Journal and Calendar of Attorney Joseph Prentis

Williamsburg has been known for beautiful gardens since the 18th century, when one of the town’s most enthusiastic gardeners was Joseph Prentis, an attorney who kept a personal garden book and calendar. Gardeners interested in his notes will be sure to enjoy “Williamsburg’s Joseph Prentis: His Monthly Kalender & Garden Book,” newly published by Colonial Williamsburg.

The “growing interest in historic gardens and re-creating typical period-specific and site-specific gardens . . . has made Joseph Prentis’ garden records and gardening instructions worthy of publication,” writes Colonial Williamsburg landscape supervisor Rollin Woolley in his introduction. “This information is invaluable to an increasing number of gardeners, historians, garden historians, and anyone interested in the vegetables, flowers, trees and shrubs of the late 18th century and the cultural techniques of the times.”

Memorial gifts from a number of Colonial Williamsburg donors provided funding to support the publishing of the book. The book honors the memory of Colonial Williamsburg garden tour volunteer and supporter James M. Bilderback of Williamsburg, who died in September 2009. Bilderback was a member of the Goodwin Society, Friends of Collections and the Colonial Williamsburg Burgesses. His wife Barbara is a member of those donor societies and also is a volunteer in Colonial Williamsburg museums and collections.

“Williamsburg’s Joseph Prentis: His Monthly Kalender & Garden Book” is available for $12.95 from WILLIAMSBURG Booksellers in Colonial Williamsburg’s Visitor Center, 101 A Visitor Center Drive, at the Prentis store and the Colonial Garden Nursery in the Historic Area, by phone at 1-800-446-9240 or from

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational and cultural organization dedicated to the preservation, interpretation and presentation of the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia. This town-sized living history museum tells the inspirational stories of our journey to become Americans through programs in the Historic Area and through the award-winning Revolutionary City program. Explore The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg and discover the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum featuring the best in British and American decorative arts from 1670 – 1830 and the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum home to the nation’s premier collection of American folk art, comprising more than 5,000 folk art objects made during the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. Colonial Williamsburg Hotels feature conference spaces and recreation activities from spa and fine dining to world-class golf. Colonial Williamsburg is committed to expanding its thought-provoking programming through education outreach on-site and online. Purchase of Colonial Williamsburg products and services supports the preservation, research and educational programs of the Foundation. Philanthropic support by individuals, corporations, and foundations benefits the educational mission of The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

Williamsburg is located in Virginia’s Tidewater region, 20 minutes from Newport News, within an hour’s drive of Richmond and Norfolk, and 150 miles south of Washington, D.C. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s website at

Media Contact:
Barbara Brown
(757) 220-7280