Native American Garden at Villa Mira Monte

To honor and respect the Amah Mutsun, the native peoples who have inhabited the Morgan Hill area for over ten thousand years, a Native American garden has been established at Villa Mira Monte. Funding for this project was provided by two EduGrow-Planting-to-Learn grants from the South Valley Fleurs Garden Club.

 

The native garden contains grasses, bushes and fruit that were used by the Amah Mutsun native Americans for food, medicinal purposes, basket weaving, hunting and fishing. You will find plants such as gum plant, deer grass, soap plant, white sage, mugwort, and yarrow. 

 

These plants had many different uses. For example, the soap plant, which contains saponin, was used to form a soapy lather for cleaning clothes and baskets. The lather was also used to treat rashes, poison oak, and dandruff. The bulbs were dried and used as brushes and were roasted to produce a substance to glue feathers to arrow shafts. Slow roasted bulbs could even be eaten like potatoes; the young leaves were pickled and produced a green dye used for tattooing.

 

This effort expands the experience of visitors to VMM and educates students who visit during the annual School Field Trip Program by demonstrating how the land was used by the Native Americans long before Spanish and Mexican settlers arrived. 

The Native American Garden is located at the Villa Mira Monte entrance, near and around the museum. 

Deer Grass- basket weaving.jpg

Deer Grass was used for basket weaving

Soap Root.jpg

Soap Root was used for medicine, glue, fishing and hunting