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historical tablescape installation at the sunigive house, whitesbog village in the pine barrens, nj.

Updated: Nov 17, 2023

lucid ladybug sets the table in Elizabeth White's home at the historic whitesbog village in the pine barrens of pemberton, nj.

We are so pleased to announce our first historical art installation going up this Tuesday, November 14, 2023 at Elizabeth White's Sunigive House. The house is located in Pemberton, NJ in the historic Whitesbog Village - a small cranberry farming village founded in 1857, preserved within Brendan Byrne State Forest.

Elizabeth Coleman White (1871-1954), "The Blueberry Queen" cultivated the very first batch of domesticated blueberries in 1911 with the help of USDA Botanist, Dr. Fredrerick Coville.

Her father was the sole executor + manager of a 600-acre cranberry farm now known as the 3,000-acre plantation of Whitesbog.

Today, Whitesbog is farmed by the fifth generation of the family.

In 1910, Intrigued by huckleberries on her hikes through the pine barrens and a desire to lengthen her family's growing seasons, Elizabeth came across USDA Bulletin #193, “Experiments in Blueberry Culture,” written by Frederick V. Coville, a chief botanist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

"After reading about Coville’s experiments with blueberry cultivation in New Hampshire, Elizabeth persuaded her father to offer test fields at Whitesbog to the botanist.

She would assist with his research. Coville accepted the invitation, and thus began the partnership that culminated in the commercial blueberry." Elizabeth White helped locate wild blueberry bushes with desired traits. She printed flyers to enlist local woodsmen to help her find the best wild bushes with the best berry size, vigor, resistance to cold and disease, texture, and time of ripening.

"'Miss Lizzie', as the pickers called her, paid $1 to $3 for marking any bush that boasted big enough berries, and paid them again to guide her to the bushes. Coville cross-fertilized bushes by hand to create new berry varieties. By 1916, the team had created the first commercial crop of blueberries."

A true pioneer and innovative thinker - paving the way for women in agriculture, botany, gardening, and philanthropy.

Not only did she pave the way for the blueberry industry in America - she also introduced the idea of packaging the berries in cellophane. She traveled to Europe to import the cellophane materials. See-through packaging allowed people to see her beautiful blueberry crop.

In 1923 she built her own house and named it Suningive - which was the surname of someone who had written to her. She said she liked the sound of it.

She designed the cedar-shingle house herself, with a farm office and dispensary for field workers on the first floor and living quarters above.

She created around it a garden of native Pine Barrens plants, including a hedge of blueberry bushes.

Elizabeth’s contributions continued through the years. She helped organize the New Jersey Blueberry Cooperative Association in 1927.

She was the first woman member and subsequently president of the American Cranberry Growers Association.

In 1929, she invited the members of the Council of Women for Home Missions to run a nursery that would provide care and education for the children of Whitesbog’s migrant workers - hoping to encourage other bog owners to do the same.

In 1931, she served on President Herbert Hoover’s Migrant Farm Workers Housing Committee.

She was the first female member of the American Cranberry Association and the first woman to receive the New Jersey Department of Agriculture citation.

Finally, Elizabeth Coleman White was a champion of native plants. After she successfully fought to save the American Holly, she helped found the Holly Society of America in 1947.

A true honor to research and study the life and legacy of this iconic South Jersey woman.

I had the pleasure of meeting Allison from the Whitesbog staff for a private tour of Elizabeth's 1923 home a few weeks ago. I learned all about Elizabeth's love for the pine barrens, photography, and gardening.

I was so inspired by her story and spirit.

Walking the grounds helped inspire the tablescape we will set this Tuesday.

I can't wait to share my 1920's piney tablescape very soon! Check out our instagram tour video here.


Location: 120 W Whites Bogs Rd #34, Browns Mills, NJ 08015

Trails open every day for exploring dawn-dusk

General Store: Open Saturdays 10 am – 2 pm


Nov. 25: Full Moon Moonlight tour 7 pm

Dec. 2: Village Tours 1-2 pm

Dec. 9-10: Whitesbog Holiday Fair & Yule 10 am - 4 pm

Cheers, Meghan

photography: @lucid.ladybug | all rights reserved.



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