Monday, May 5, 2008

Local Color: Seeds from TJ's Gardens

Yes, from high upon the mount, Monticello, down, down, down to my humble garden. The Center for Historic Plants at Monticello sells seeds that are direct descendants from Thomas Jefferson's own gardens. It is good to know I can buy myself a bit of class, thrown in with a bit of history. Makes for a good story in the garden.

I picked these up during an outing with Kris, her little boy, Will, and Willa. We walked the Thomas Jefferson Parkway up, up, up to Monticello and saw that they had plants for sale, as well as a tempting selection of seeds.

Not one to walk away from a seed rack empty handed, I am testing out . . .

Hollyhock (Alcea rosea) - "In a Garden Book entry in 1782, Thomas Jefferson noted that his Monticello hollyhocks flowered from mid-June through July. These seeds were harvested from Monticello hollyhocks, which produce four to seven (!) foot spikes of single flowers in shades of pink, with occasional white, yellow and red blooms."

Blackberry Lily (Belamcanda chinesis) - "Jefferson planted 'Chinese Ixia' in an oval flower bed in 1807. It grows to three feet with showy orange flowers in mid-summer and blackberry like seeds in September."

'Caseknife' Pole Bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) - "The Caseknife pole bean is one of the oldest documented bean varieties in American gardens, dating to the 1820's."

No where near Monticello? No problem. You can buy them online here.

1 comment:

Les, Zone 8a said...

My favorite from Mr. Jefferson's garden is Dolichos lablab - Purple Hyacinth Bean. I like the flowers, foliage, pods and the beans. I try to get some every year.