Zoar Garden Notebook
Ohio Life

Ohio Finds: Zoar Garden Notebook

This personal notebook chronicles the work of Simon Beuter, who cared for the German Separatists community’s expansive garden.

Known as “The Gardener,” Simon Beuter played a key role in the German Separatists community at Zoar, where he not only helped feed the families of the communal settlement, but also provided produce and services to people across Ohio and beyond the state’s borders. The Zoar community, founded in 1817 by those fleeing religious persecution in their homeland, was well established when Beuter stepped into his role as head gardener in 1845, a position he held until the society dissolved in 1898.

In those 53 years, Beuter managed the 2.5-acre biblically symbolic garden plot, which featured a radiating, geometric design. He taught community members to plant and harvest, with excess items — from seeds to cuttings — sold to people outside the community. The selection of flowers and plants became one of the most complete in all of Ohio. A greenhouse allowed for orange, lemon and other fruit trees to be nurtured in the winter, and Beuter developed his own hybrids. 

Beuter kept a record of the gardens in a leatherbound notebook that chronicled his work. It lists practical information, including a “Catalogue of Apples and when Ripe”; records of fruits, flowers, and ornamental trees and shrubs; and illustrations of garden grids.

Sold at Auction: $2,650

Richard Jeffers is the owner of Garth’s Auctioneers & Appraisers in Columbus. garths.com

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