George Washington used the field located south of the Stable, which he called the “Vineyard Inclosure” for a variety of functions. In the 1770s, Washington planted an experimental vineyard here, including both native and imported grapes. These plantings did not succeed, and by the 1780s, the vineyard had been converted to a formal fruit garden and a nursery. In the nursery, new types of crops and plantings were nurtured and their performance evaluated prior to their larger-scale use elsewhere on the plantation, while the fruit garden held a variety of fruit including cherries peaches plums and apples.
Historical research and archaeological excavation helped obtain information to restore the field to its historic appearance. Today, the field incorporates formal fruit garden quadrangles and planting beds for nurturing new plants based upon Washington’s writings, and fences and ditches discovered through the archaeological excavation. A visit to the Fruit Garden and Nursery showcases one of the places where Washington experimented with new crops, seeds and agricultural techniques.