Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Plants & Catalogs - Philadelphia Seed Dealer & Nurseryman - Robert Buist 1805-1880

Buist was born near Edinburgh, Scotland, November 14, 1805. He was trained at the Edinburgh Botanic Gardens & sailed to America in August 1828.
When he arrived in America, he was employed by David Landreth, & then took employment with Henry Pratt who owned Lemon Hill which was probably one of the finest gardens in the U.S. at the time.

He formed a partnership with Thomas Hibbert in 1830 in a florist business in Philadelphia. They imported rare plants & flowers, especially the rose.

After Hibbert’s death he began a seed business, along with the nursery & greenhouse business. The business in Philadelphia started out as Robert Buist's Seed Store, selling gardening supplies, potted plants, shrubs, small fruits, & rose bushes. By 1837, the growing business relocated to 12th Street below Lombard; & in1857, the company moved to a location on Market Street.  And in 1870, it expanded to 67th Street near Darby Road. The Buist farm, Bonaffon, was located in the section of Philadelphia through which Buist Avenue now runs.
Alfred M. Hoffy, lithographer. View of Robert Buist’s City Nursery & Greenhouses. Philadelphia Wagner & McGuigan, 1846.

Buist if often credited with introducing the Poinsettia into Europe, after he saw it at Bartram's Gardens in Philadelphia.  During Buist’s early training at the Edinburg Botanic Garden, he met James McNab, a scientist & artist who eventually became the garden’s director.  In the early 1830s, McNab traveled to America with retired nurseryman Robert Brown to study plants native to the United States. While in America, McNab visited his friend Buist in Philadelphia. When McNab met with Buist in 1834, he gave the Poinsettia plant to him to take back to Scotland. The garden’s director, Dr. Robert Graham introduced the plant into British gardens.

Buist was reknown for his roses & verbena.  He was also the author of several books & many catalogues of his plant offerings.  Among his books are The American Flower-Garden Directory (1832); The Rose Manual (1844, 6 editions); & The Family Kitchen-Gardener (c1847).

Buist was obsessed by roses.  Gardener & plant historian Alex Sutton tells us that Buist sailed to Europe every year or two to buy new rose hybrids being developed in Europe.  He purchased much of his stock from M. Eugene Hardy of the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris. In 1832, Buist saw 'Madame Hardy' for the first time & he wrote: "Globe Hip, White Globe, or Boule de Neige of the French, is an English Rose raised from seeds of the common white, a very pure white, fully double & of globular form. A few years ago it was considered 'not to be surpassed,' but that prediction, like many others, has fallen to the ground, & now 'Madame Hardy' is triumphant, being larger, fully as pure, more double, & an abundant bloomer; the foliage & wood are also stronger. The French describe it as 'large, very double pure white, & of cup or bowl form."  Buist introduced 'Madame Hardy' in Philadephia to his customers, many of whom must have been Philadelphia matrons, as he called them his Patronesses.

In 1839, Buist visited another of his suppliers, Jean-Pierre Vibert, of Lonjeameaux, near Paris, where he found 'Aimee Vibert'. He brought this rose back with him to Philadephia & wrote: "Aimee Vibert, or Nevia, is a beautiful pure white, perfect in form, a profuse bloomer, but though quite hardy doe snot grow freely for us; however, when budded on a strong stock it makes a magnificent standard, & blooms with a profusion not surpassed by any."
Seed storage warehouse of Philadelphia seedsman Robert Buist. From an 1891 wholesale seed catalog

In his catalog of 1872 Buist wrote “Three of the celebrated ‘Gordon’s Printing Presses’ are kept constantly at work on seed bags, labels, & other printing matter required in our business, & the stock of type & other printing material we use is equal in extent to that required by some of our daily papers...“When we established ourselves in 1828, the Seed business in this country was in its infancy, the trade was really insignificant in comparison to what it is in the present day.”

He was active with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, treasurer from 1858-1862 & vice-president for twenty-two years. He died in Philadelphia, July 13, 1880.  The family business was carried on by his son, Robert, Jr.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Plants in Early American Gardens - Nasturtium

Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus)

Nasturtium, also known as Indian Cress, was often grown as an edible plant in the 18th century, as seen by its inclusion in Jefferson's vegetable garden. The young leaves and flowers can be enjoyed in salads, and the seeds can be pickled like capers, just as they were in Jefferson’s day. These attractive plants will bloom in an array of colors--reds, oranges, yellows--and with the trailing habit typical of the species before mid-19th century breeding.

For more information & the possible availability
Contact The Tho Jefferson Center for Historic Plants or The Shop at Monticello 

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Using lobsters for catching garden insects...

1793 James Sowerby (English artist, 1757-1822) Lobster

"Procure the hollow claws of Lobsters, Crabs, &c. and hanging them in different parts of the garden, the insects creep into them, and are easily taken; but the claws must be often searched." 
The Complete Vermin-Killer: A Valuable and Useful Companion for Families, in Town and Country, (London, 1777).

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Plants in Early American Gardens - Striped French Marigold

 Striped French Marigold (Tagetes patula)
The species French Marigold was introduced to European gardens from South America in the late 16th century. A handsome striped form of this annual flower was first illustrated in the London-based periodical Curtis' Botanical Magazine, 1791, and was being grown in America by that time. Striped French Marigold is perfect for cutting, with flowers that vary from yellow streaked with maroon to solid yellow and occasionally all red; prune and deadhead to prolong flowering.

For more information & the possible availability
Contact The Tho Jefferson Center for Historic Plants or The Shop at Monticello 

Friday, April 26, 2019

Early Philadelphia Seed & Plant Merchant Hannah Dubre

The Gardener After François Boucher (French, Paris 1703–1770 Paris) by John Ingram (British, London, ca. 1721–1759)

From the 1750s through the 1770s the most successful Philadelphia seed merchant & nursery-owner was a Quaker woman, Hannah Bissell Dubre (c 1720-1775) of the Northern Liberties area 2 miles from the Philadelphia city limit, on the Wissahickon Road.  Hannah' parents were William Bissell (1690-1747) and his wife Hannah.  Hannah married Joseph Dubre in 14 Mar 1740/41; and they owned 33 acres, which they later increased to 50 acres, with a bearing orchard of grafted fruit trees, some meadow land, a large brick house and detached brick kitchen with a pump just outside the door, a barn and several other outbuildings, and a large kitchen garden that included many asparagus beds. From 1754 through 1775, she offered locally grown seed and fruit trees on both a retail and a wholesale basis. To accommodate customers who didn’t want to trudge out to her remote plantation, she introduced the idea of relying on agents in town to sell and supply to retail and wholesale customers, including international traders.  By 1766, she was advertising that she could fill large orders for “Captains of Vessels” for exportation to the West Indies “on the shortest Notice.” Even after her husband’s death in 1768, “the widow Dubre” kept her garden and business going.   She warranted her seeds as “fresh and good: and sold large quantities to local shopkeepers for resale to their clients and to exporters for trade out of the country.  Before 1770, she kept agents in town, including her brothers on Third Street John Bissell (1730-1799) and Samuel Bissell (b 1730- ), and also with John Lownes, and Ann Powell near the Work House on Third Street, to supply both retail and wholesale customers who did not want to travel the two miles out of town to visit her plantation.  After 1770, she used James Truman, a butcher and meat curer in Elbow Lane near the Harp and Crown Tavern, as her local Philadelphia city agent.    Over a twenty-year period, Hannah Dubre expanded her operation from a small local seed concern to a large-quantity supply business catering to merchants and international traders.

Note: Some identify that Hannah Dubre as the wife of Jacob Dubre & an early relative of Jefferson Davis of Civil War note.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Plants in Early American Gardens - African Marigold

African Marigold (Tagetes erecta)

Thomas Jefferson planted seeds of the African Marigold along the winding walk flower border on April 8, 1812. Although native to South America, the first garden plants introduced into Europe came from Northern Africa: hence, the common name. While double garden forms were common around 1800, this is the species, or wild form, of African Marigold with unusual (and rare) single, yellow flowers.

For more information & the possible availability
Contact The Tho Jefferson Center for Historic Plants or The Shop at Monticello 

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Early American Plant Lists - Thomas Jefferson's Ornamental Shrubs and Vines

Thomas Jefferson’s Plant List From His Garden Book, 1767-1821 Dates refer to first mention of a plant in Jefferson’s documents, which include Thomas Jefferson’s Garden Book, edited by Edwin Betts, 1944, unpublished memoranda at the Massachusetts Historical Society, the Library of Congress and Princeton University Library. Quotation marks designate varieties undescribed in the literature and are generally Jefferson’s personal names.
List compiled by Peter Hatch.

Ornamental Shrubs and Vines

Acacia farnesiana Sweet Acacia ("Acacia Nilotica”) 1792
Alnus rugosa Alder 1771
Amorpha fruticosa Bastard Indigo 1771
Berberis vulgaris European Barberry 1771
Callicarpa americana Beauty Berry 1771
Calycanthus floridus Sweet Shrub ("Bubby flower shrub") 1778
Campsis radicans Trumpet Vine 1771
Castanea pumila Chinquapin 1771
Ceanothus americanus New Jersey Tea 1771
Clematis virginiana Virgin's Bower 1807
Clethra alnifolia Sweet Pepperbush 1771
Colutea arborescens Bladder Senna 1812
Cornus sanguinea Swamp Dogwood ("Dogberry") 1783
Coronilla emerus Scorpion Senna 1771
Cotinus coggygria Smoke Tree ("Venetian Sumach”) 1791
Cytisus scoparius Scotch Broom 1806
Daphne cneorum Rose Daphne 1790
Daphne mezereum "Mezereon" 1804
Euonymus americanus Strawberry Bush ("Evergreen Spindle Tree") 1790
Gardenia jasminoides Gardenia ("Cape jasmine") 1808
Gelsemium sempervirens Carolina Yellow Jessamine 1771
Hibiscus syriacus Rose of Sharon ("Althea”) 1767
 "double" 1809
 “pink" 1809
 "striped" 1809
 "white" 1809
Ilex verticillata Winterberry 1808
Jasminum officinale Poet’s Jessamine ("Star Jasmine,”"White Jasmine") 1794
Kalmia latifolia Mountain Laurel ("Ivy," "Dwarf Laurel") 1771
Ligustrum vulgare Privet 1807
Lonicera alpigena Red-berried Honeysuckle 1810
Lonicera sempervirens Coral Honeysuckle ("Honey-suckle") 1771
Nerium oleander Oleander 1804
Philadelphus coronarius Mock Orange 1807
Prunus triloba Flowering Almond ("Amygdalus flore pleno") 1790
Pyracantha coccinea Pyracantha ("Prickly medlar,” "Mespilus” 1810
Pyrularia pubera Buffalo Nut ("Oil shrub") 1797
Rhododendron maximum Rosebay Rhododendron 1790
Rhododendron periclymenoides Pinxter Azalea ("Wild honeysuckle") 1767
Rhus toxicodendron Poison Ivy ("Poison oak") 1771
Robinia hispida Moss Locust ("Prickly locust” 1807
Sambucus canadensis Elderberry 1771
Spartium junceum Spanish Broom 1767
Symphoricarpus albus Snowberry 1812
Syringa persica Persian Lilac ("Persian jasmine”) 1808
Syringa vulgaris Common Lilac 1767
Taxus canadensis American Yew ("Dwarf yew") 1798
Ulex europaeus Gorse ("Furze") 1794
Viburnum opulus var. sterile Snowball("Guelder Rose") 1794
Viburnum trilobum Cranberry Bush 1798
Vinca minor Periwinkle 1771
Vitex agnus-castus Chaste Tree 1807
Wisteria frutescens Wisteria ("Carolina kidney bean Tree with
purple flowers") 1791
Yucca filamentosa Yucca, Adam’s Needle 1794

1764 Plants in 18C Colonial American Gardens - Virginian John Randolph (727-1784) - Onion

A Treatise on Gardening Written by a native of this State (Virginia)
Author was John Randolph (1727-1784)
Written in Williamsburg, Virginia about 1765
Published by T. Nicolson, Richmond, Virginia. 1793
The only known copy of this booklet is found in the Special Collections of the Wyndham Robertson Library at Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia.


Onion, Cepa. There are three sorts for winter use; the Strasburg...the red Spanish Onion...the white Spanish Onion... There are other sorts which suit the spring and summer season best. There are Cepa ascalonica,from Ascalon, a city in India, or the Scallion or Escallion. The Cives, or Copula, the young Onion. The Welch Onion, and lastly the Ciboule. The three first sorts should be sown in February, the first open weather, or beginning of March at farthest, and in about six weeks your Onions will be up, and ought to be weeded. The rows should be about twelve or eighteen inches asunder, if sowed in drills, which is the best method, arid the plants should be drawn to be about five or six inches apart. This may be no loss, because they will serve with young salad in the spring; about the middle or latter end of July your plants will be ripe, which may be discovered by the dropping down or shrinking of the blades; then they should be drawn up, and the extreme part of the blades should be cropped off, and the plants laid on the ground to dry. They should be turned at least every other day, otherwise they will strike fresh root, especially in moist weather. In about a fortnight they will be sufficiently dried; you are then to rub off all the earth and take care to remove all that are any ways decayed, and the sound ones laid as thin as possible in some room or garret, as close from the air as possible, and at least once a month look over them, to see if any of them are decayed, for if any are so, they will affect the. rest; or if too near one another, or in heaps, they will heat, and probably ruin the whole crop. The white Onion is the sweetest, though all the three sorts will degenerate into one another in the course of time. In March'you should dig a trench, and put some of your most flourishing plants about six inches deep, and as far asunder,v into it, which should be covered over with a rake, and in about a month's time the leaves will appear above ground, and when your plants begin to head, they should be supported by stakes and packthread or yarn, otherwise they will be very liable to be injured by the winds. These will produce you seed about August, which may be known by the seeds changing brown, and the bells where the seed is contained opening. The heads should be critically cut, otherwise the seed will be dropped, and when cut, the heads should be exposed to the sun, and sheltered in the night and wet weather, and when suificiently dry, they should be rubbed out, and after being exposed one day more to the sun, may be put into bags and preserved for the following year. The Scallion is a small Onion, and is sown early in the spring, and never forms any bulb, and is used green in the spring with young salads. The Ciboule and Welch Onion, are thought to be the same by Miller.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Plants in Early American Gardens - Sweet William Catchfly

Sweet William Catchfly (Silene armeria)

Sweet William Catchfly is a showy, self-seeding annual flower native to Europe with blue-green leaves and a long succession of purplish-pink flowers from late spring into summer. Sometimes called Lobel's Catchfly or None-So-Pretty, it was established in American gardens by the 1820s. The 1804 broadside of Philadelphia nurseryman Bernard McMahon offered seed for both red and white forms.

For more information & the possible availability
Contact The Tho Jefferson Center for Historic Plants or The Shop at Monticello 

Monday, April 22, 2019

Landscape Design - Public Church & Burying Yards

Newspapers often announced the burials of citizens in local church yards. The deceased were usually reported to be interred or deposited in the church yard. The 1732 South Carolina Gazette reported, "On Monday last, after a very long Disorder, died Mrs. Mazyck, the Wife of Mr. Isaac Mazyck, Merchant of this Town... she was interr'd in the Church-Yardof this Place, in a very handsome Manner, being attended to her Funeral by most of the chief Merchants, and publick Officers of the Province."
Church Yard with old Trees in Norfolk, Virginia.

The 1737 Williamsburg Virginia Gazette reported, "Last Monday Night died in this City, after a short Illness, Mr. Charles Chiswell, of Hanover County, aged about 60. He came to Town last Wednesday, in perfect Health, and was taken ill of a Pleurisy and Flux on Friday Night, which was so violent, that it carried him off the Monday Night following; and on Wednesday Night, he was decently interr'd, in our Church yard."  In the colonial period, the deceased often were reported to be buried in the church yard "in a very decent Manner."

When a proud, perhaps even a little arrogant, London stone mason arrived in 1739 Philadelphia, he advertised his work by sending people to the Church yard. "Masons-Work in all its Branches, and with the greatest Speed and Accuracy, is performed by WILLIAM HOLLAND, lately from London; who being truly instructed in that Art, justly assumes the antique Name of the Mason, and owns not that vulgar calling of a Stone-Cutter ... has given the Publick a Specimen of his Performance in a Tomb-Stone now in the Church -Yard of this City."
Walled Church Yard at Ware Church, Gloucester County, Virginia.

The Church yard was a place well-known in most locations and was often used as a point of direction, as when the Charleston newspaper announced in 1732, "AT Dan. Bourget's, Brewer, in old church street, behind the old Church -Yard,is good Stabling, and Entertainment for Horses."For a public sale in 1734,"A Catalogue of all the Particulars, with the Price to each Article, may be seen from Monday morning till all are sold at the Blue House, against the French Church Yard in Charlestown."

Brick walls surrounded many church yards. The 1752 Virginia Gazette announced that an "Addition is to be built on one Side of the Brick Church in Bristol Parish, Prince-George County, 30 by 25 Feet in the Clear, with a Brick Wall round the Church Yard,5 Feet high; the said Work is to be completed in June 1754."

During the same period, wooden fences were being built around other churches. In the summer of 1749, the vestry of Saint Anne's Parish in Annapolis Maryland, put out a contract for "any good Workman, to find Materials, and pale in the Church-Yardat Annapolis, with saw’d Poplar Pales, four Feet and a half in Length, three Inches broad, and one Inch think; saw’d Poplar Rails, 8 feet long and 6 Inches broad on the flat side, three Rails in each Length; the Posts to be of Cedar or Locust, to hew to six inches square at Top, to be 7 feet long and to be set 30 Inches in the Ground; the Posts to be morticed, and Rails tenanted in; the Pales to be nail’d on with Double Tenpenny Nails, three to each Pale." But by 1771, the vestry of Saint Anne's Parish decided to "have the yard secured so as to prevent the cattle from going therein."
Looking Over the Brick Wall at the Burying Yard at Saint Anne's Church in Annapolis, Maryland, which came into use in the 1780s.

Wandering livestock & wildlife interlopers also bothered the gentry in Virginia. Philip Fithian Vickers, teaching at Nomini Hall, Virginia, in 1774, noted that," Mr. Carter observed that he much dislikes the common method of making Burying Yards round Churches, & having it almost open to every Beast." In 1771, the upper church in Saint Margaret's Parish in Caroline County, Virginia, also began walling in their churchyard. However, in New York City in 1749, Peter Kalm reported a church yard without a traditional fence or wall, "Quite a large churchyard surrounds the temple, and about it are planted trees which give it the appearance of an enclosure."

Occasionally, a church yard was the scene of a violent act. Just after Christmas, the Pennsylvania Gazette reported in 1759, that in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, "a young Man, genteelly dressed, shot himself in the Church Yard at Burlington" with a "short Fowling piece loaded with large Duck Shot."
The Moravian Cemetery at Old Salem, North Carolina. The graveyard is surrounded by shady groves.

As political unrest began to stir in the British American colonies, even the church yard became involved in the protests. In 1766 Wilmington, North Carolina,"in the Evening, a great Number of People again assembled, and produced an Effigy of LIBERTY, which they put into a Coffin, and marched in solemn Procession to the Church Yard,a Drum in Mourning beating before them, and the Town Bell, muffled, ringing a doleful Knell at the same Time; --- But before they committed the Body to the Ground, they thought it adviseable to feel its Pulse; and when finding some Remains of Life, they returned back to a Bonfire ready prepared, placed the Effigy before it in a large Two armed Chair, and concluded the Evening with great Rejoicings, on finding that LIBERTY had still an Existence in the COLONIES."

Occasionally, the church yard became a place for recreation & reflection. Dr. Robert Honyman reported in 1775, Boston, Massachusetts, that he "went into a large church yard& viewed the Tombs & grave stones." William Loughton Smith wrote in his journal on May 5, 1791, of visiting Salem, North Carolina. "The church yard is on a hill above the town, surrounded by shady groves." The Moravian cemetery at Salem, God's Acre, has gravestones & burial plots which are exactly the same size and grouped together by marital status & gender - married sisters, single sisters, married bretheren, & single brothers.

1764 Plants in 18C Colonial American Gardens - Virginian John Randolph (727-1784) - Clary

A Treatise on Gardening Written by a native of this State (Virginia)
Author was John Randolph (1727-1784)
Written in Williamsburg, Virginia about 1765
Published by T. Nicolson, Richmond, Virginia. 1793
The only known copy of this booklet is found in the Special Collections of the Wyndham Robertson Library at Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia.


Clary, Sclarea...These are propagated either from the seed, in a light soil, or parting the roots and planting them out at Michaelmas, about eighteen inches asunder; these will last many years.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Plants in Early American Gardens - Pincushion Flower

Pincushion Flower (Scabiosa atropurpurea)

When Thomas Jefferson requested roots and bulbs of the "Mourning bride" from his neighbor, Isaac Coles, in 1811, he may have been referring to the Pincushion Flower. Also known as Mourning Bride because of its association with grieving widows in 18th-century England, this long-blooming annual boasts velvet-like flowers all summer in mixed shades of purple, blue, white, and red, and makes a good cut flower.

For more information & the possible availability
Contact The Tho Jefferson Center for Historic Plants or The Shop at Monticello 

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Early American Plant Lists - Thomas Jefferson's Fruits

Thomas Jefferson’s Plant List From His Garden Book, 1767-1821 Dates refer to first mention of a plant in Jefferson’s documents, which include Thomas Jefferson’s Garden Book, edited by Edwin Betts, 1944, unpublished memoranda at the Massachusetts Historical Society, the Library of Congress and Princeton University Library. Quotation marks designate varieties not described in the literature and are generally Jefferson’s personal names.
List compiled by Peter Hatch.


 Prunus dulcis var. dulcis
 "Almonds from the Streights" 1774
 "bitter almonds" 1774
 “hardshelled sweet almonds from Cadiz. from Harriet Hackley" 1810
 "hard shelled bitter almond" 1774
 "sweet almonds with smooth rinds" 1774
 "sweet almonds with hairy rinds" 1774
 "sweet almonds with hard shells" 1774
 "a Virginian Almond," probably a native nut like the bitternut (Juglans cinerea) or indigenous hazelnut (Corylus americana) 1774

Apple 1774
 Malus pumila
 Calville Blanc d'Hiver ("Calvite”) 1804
 Clarkes’s Pearmain (possibly syn. Golden Pearmain) 1796
 "Detroit large white" (probably syn. with White Bellflower) 1804
 Detroit Red ("Detroit large red") 1804
 Early Harvest 1791
 English Codlin 1778
 Esopus Spitzenberg 1791
 Golden Wilding 1778
 Hewes’s Crab (Hughes, Crab, Virginia Crab) 1796
 "iron wilding" 1810
 "mammoth" (possibly syn. with Gloria Mundi) 1809
 Medlar Russetin 1778
 Newtown Pippin (Albemarle Pippin)"ox-eye striped" 1769
 (?Vandevere or Newtown Spitzenberg) 1804
 Pomme Gris ("pumgray") 1804
 "russetin" (likely Golden Russet or Roxbury Russet) 1778
 Taliaferro 1778
 White, Virginia White, or Bray's White ("white") 1778

 Prunus armeniaca 1769
 Angelica 1804
 "Bordeaux" 1810
 Brussels 1791
 Early Red 1804
 Large Early 1791
 Moor Park ("German") 1791
 "Melon" 1787
 Peach ("peach-apricot") 1804

 Prunus avium, P. cerasus 1769
 August 1783
 Black Heart ("forward" and "latter") 1778
 Bleeding Heart 1783
 "Broadnax" 1773
 Carnation 1773
 Cornus Mas ("Ciriege corniole") 1774
 Early May ("May," Prunus fruticosa) 1767
 English Morello ("Myrilla,” "large Morella") 1778
 (Early Richmond and/or Late Kentish) 1778
 May Duke ("Duke") 1778
 "Tuckahoe grey heart" 1811
 White Heart 1778

 Ribes sp. 1770
 European Red (Ribes sativum) 1778
 Sweet-scented or Buffalo (Ribes odoratum) 1807
 Yellow (Ribes aureum) 1807

 Ficus carica 1769
 Angelique ("white Angelic") 1789
 “large” 1789
 Marseilles ("white") 1789
 “purple" 1817

 Ribes uva-crispa 1767
 "Red” 1812

 Vitis vinifera', V. rotundifolia", V. vulpina
 "Abrostine red" (Colorino?) 1807
 "Abrostine white" (Picolit?) 1807
 Aleatico 1807
 Alexander ("Cape,” "Cape of Good Hope grape") 1802
 "Black cluster" (Pinot Noir?) 1807
 Black Hamburg 1807
 Bland 1822
 Chasselas Dore ("Chasselas") 1807
 Chasselas Rose ("Brick coloured") 1796
 Furmint ("Tokay") 1807
 "Lachrima Christi" (Tinto di Spagna?) 1807
 Luglienga ("Great July") 1807
 "Malaga" (Muscat of Alexandria?) 1807
 Mammolo Toscano ("Mammole") 1807
 Morgiano ("Margiano") 1807
 "Muscadine" (Chasselas Blanc?) 1807
 Muscat Blanc ("white Frontignac") 1807
 Norton’s Seedling 1824
 "Piedmont malmsey" (Malvasia Bianca?) 1807
 Olivette Blanche ("Gallettas") 1807
 "Purple Syrian" 1807
 Red Hamburg 1807
 Regina ("Queen's grape") 1807
 Sangiovese ("San Giovetto”) 1807
 Seralamanna (Muscat of Alexandria?) 1807
 Scuppernong 1817
 "Smyra grape without seeds" 1807
 "Spanish raisins" 1774
 "Toccai” or "Tokay" (Tocai Rosso?) 1807
 Trebbiano 1807
 "White Sweet Water" 1796

 Prunus persica var. nucipersica 1769
 "Kaskaskia soft" 1810
 Red Roman 1791
 Yellow Roman 1791

 Prunus persica 1771
 Alberges 1804
 Algiers Yellow 1791
 Apple (Pesca mela, "Melon") 1804
 "Balyal’s white, red, & yellow plumb peaches" 1786
 “General Jackson’s” 1807
 Green Nutmeg 1791
 Heath Cling 1813
 Indian Blood Cling ("black Georgia plumb peach") 1810
 Indian Blood Free ("black soft peaches from Georgia") 1804
 "Lady's favorite" 1807
 Lemon Cling ("Lemon," "Canada Carolina") 1807
 Maddelena 1804
 "Magdalene" (either Red Magdalen or White Magdalene) 1806
 Malta 1813
 "mammoth" 1807
 Morris’s Red Rareripe ("Italian red-freestone") 1807
 Morris’s White Rareripe ("Italian-White-freestone”) 1807
 "October," "yellow clingstone of October" 1807
 Oldmixon Cling 1807
 Oldmixon Free 1807
 “plumb" 1772
 Poppa di Venere (“Teat,” Breast of Venus) 1804
 Portugal 1780
 San Jacopo (St. James?) 1804
 "soft" ("October soft," "November soft," "Timothy Lomax's soft,” “large white soft,”
“fine white soft,” “large yellow soft," "early soft," etc.) 1810
 Vaga Loggia Cling 1804
 Vaga Loggia Free 1804
 White blossomed (?) 1810

 Prunus communis 1769
 Beurre Gris 1791
 Crassane 1789
 "English" (“3 kinds") 1778
 "fine late large" 1778
 "forward" 1778
 Meriwether 1778
 Royal 1789
 Seckel 1807
 "Sugar" 1778
 St. Germaine, or Richmond 1807
 Virgouleuse 1789

 Prunus domestics, P. insititia, etc.
 Apricot 1780
 Boccon de Re 1804
 Brignole 1791
 Chickasaw, Prunus angustifolia ("Cherokee") 1812
 Cooper’s Large 1807
 Drap d'Or 1780
 Damson ("Damascene") 1778
 "Florida" (probably Prunus umbellata) 1814
 Green Gage, Reine Claude ("Reginia Claudia") 1783
 "Horse" (Prunus americana or Damson, P. insititia) 1778
 Imperatrice, Blue Imperatrice 1780
 "Large Blue" 1810
 "Large white sweet" 1780
 Magnum Bonum, Mogul, Yellow Egg, White Imperial 1778
 Mirabelle 1804
 Muscle 1767
 Orleans 1780
 Red Imperial 1780
 "Regina" (possible Queen Mother, or Damas Violet) 1804
 "Purple Prune" 1807
 Royal 1780
 "Small green plum" 1778
 White Imperial 1780

 Punica granatum 1769
 Cydonia oblonga 1769

 Fragaria sp. 1766
 Alpine (Fragaria vesca) 1774
 Chili (F. chiloensis) 1798
 Hudson (F. x ananassa?) 1812
 "large garden" ("Fragoloni di giardino") 1774
 "May" ("Fragoloni Mazzese") 1774
 Scarlet (F. virginiana) 1766
 "White" ( F. vesca or F. moschata) 1782

 Rubus idaeus 1770
 "Common" 1811
 "Monthly" 1809
 "Mountain" (Rubus strigosus) 1821
 Red Antwerp 1790
 White Antwerp 1807

1764 Plants in 18C Colonial American Gardens - Virginian John Randolph (727-1784) - Chamomile

A Treatise on Gardening Written by a native of this State (Virginia)
Author was John Randolph (1727-1784)
Written in Williamsburg, Virginia about 1765
Published by T. Nicolson, Richmond, Virginia. 1793
The only known copy of this booklet is found in the Special Collections of the Wyndham Robertson Library at Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia.


Chamomile, Chamomelum, (from Melon, gr. an Apple, because it has the scent of one, J or Anthemis, as it is called by Dr. Linnans. There are different species, but the chamomelum odoratishmum repens, fore simplici, is the sort chiefly propagated. It is used medicinally, and in making green walks or edgings; the method of planting is, to separate the roots, as they grow very close, and prick each root into poor land, about ten inches asunder, in the month of March; they will quickly stretch themselves into contact with each other, and as the flowers ripen they should be gathered and dried. When thick, it is apt to rot in the winter, so that it ought now and then to be thinned.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Plants in Early American Gardens - Horminum Sage

Horminum Sage (Salvia viridis)

Horminum Sage is a hardy annual native to the Mediterranean region. Grown in Britain as an ornamental in the 16th century, Horminum Sage was cultivated in American gardens as early as 1761, when it appeared on a plant list for a Moravian farm in North Carolina. Compact plants form spikes of colorful bracts in hues of pink, blue, and purple, which make long-lasting cut-flowers.

For more information & the possible availability
Contact The Tho Jefferson Center for Historic Plants or The Shop at Monticello 

Thursday, April 18, 2019

1764 Plants in 18C Colonial American Gardens - Virginian John Randolph (727-1784) - Artichokes

A Treatise on Gardening Written by a native of this State (Virginia)
Author was John Randolph (1727-1784)
Written in Williamsburg, Virginia about 1765
Published by T. Nicolson, Richmond, Virginia. 1793
The only known copy of this booklet is found in the Special Collections of the Wyndham Robertson Library at Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia.


ARTICHOKES, known to botanical writers by the name of Cynara, are to be propagated either from the seed, which are to be gathered from the choke or flower at the head of the Artichoke, or from slips, which are to be separated from the main stalk by the edge of the hand, and transplanted. If these offsets are good, they will be of a whitish colour about the heel, and will have some little root to them. If you have plenty of ground, put three slips in a hill, and let the hills be four feet asunder, and the rows the same; but if you are scanty with regard to your land, you must cut your coat according to your cloth. About March, or the beginning of April, you are annually to slip off all the lateral branches with your hand, and leave only the three principal stalks in your hill. Every spring they ought to be dunged: sheep dung and ashes are not only the best for that purpose, but also for preparing the ground for them. If you have depth of mould enough, i. e. two feet, and you don't crop your ground with any thing else, your Artichokes will remain good a number of years; but if they are any ways neglected, or the ground is tended, they will not only be injured in their growth, but will very much degenerate in five years. When planted out, they should be well watered, if not in a wet season, and be kept clean from weeds. There are various methods of preserving them from the severity of winter. Some cut them down within a foot of the earth, and cover them with a hill or ridge, leaving a small hole at the top, which is covered with dung. I have found from many years' experience, that long dung is an enemy to them, and that the best way to preserve them is, by laying straw on the surface of the ground, over their roots. This preserves the leaves from rotting which fall down from the frost, and, united, afford such a protection to the plant, that not one in fifty will perish. They never flourish in a dripping situation, but like a low place, not too wet, but very rich. When you cut them, cut the stalks quite down to the ground, which strengthens the plants, and makes them forwarder in the spring. There will be many on a stalk, but all must be pulled off except that which is on the centre of the main stalk, if you propose having them fine. If you prick out the slips in the spring, you may have a succession till the fall. The leaves of Artichokes, I have been informed, clean pewter the best of any thing. There are different sorts, but two only that are much propagated. First, Foliis aculeatis, i. e. with prickly leaves. Second, Foliis non aculeatis capite subrubente, i. e. without prickly leaves, and with a smooth and reddish head. The latter is most preferred. There is the Cynara spinosa, which is to be cultivated and eaten like celery, and which produces a head with the seed not unlike the Artichoke, fro in whence it took its name. The common name is chardooh, or cardoon. The Jerusalem Artichoke...is only a species of the Sun-flower, with a tuberous root, not unlike a Potatoe. Some admire them, but they are of a flatulent nature, and are apt to cause commotions in the belly.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Plants in Early American Gardens - Texas Sage

Texas Sage (Salvia coccinea)

Texas, or Scarlet Sage is grown as a tender annual for full sun. Native from tropical America into the southern United States, this species has been grown as an ornamental in North American gardens since the middle of the nineteenth century. The spreading plants reach two to three feet and produce slender spikes of scarlet flowers from mid-summer until the first frost in autumn. Sow seeds after the last frost in spring. Texas Sage reseeds itself easily.

For more information & the possible availability
Contact The Tho Jefferson Center for Historic Plants or The Shop at Monticello 

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

1764 John Randolph's (1727-1784) Kitchen Garden Calendar

One of the earliest treatises on gardening in America was written by John Randolph around 1765 in Williamsburg, Virginia.

A General Calendar for Work in the Kitchen Garden

Prepare hot-beds for Cucumbers; as little can be done this month in a garden, I would advise the preparing of your dung, and carrying it to your beds, that it may be ready to spread on in February.

Sow Asparagus, make your beds and fork up the old ones, sow Loaf Cabbages; latter end transplant Cauliflowers, sow Carrots, and transplant for seed; prick out endive for seed, sow Lettuce, Melons in hot-beds, sow Parsneps take up the old roots and prick out for seed, sow Peas and prick them into your hot-beds, sow Radishes twice, plant Strawberries, plant out Turneps for seed, spade deep and make it fine, plant Beans.

Slip your Artichokes, if fit, plant Kidney Beans, Cabbages, Celery, Parsley, Cucumbers, Currants, Chamomile, Celandine; Nasturtium, Featherfew, Fennel, Ivy, Horse Radish, Hyssop, Lavender, Lettuce, Radishes twice, Marjoram, Marsh Mallow, Mint, Melons, Millet, Mugwort, Onions, and for seed, Peas twice, Potatoes, Raspberry, Rosemary, Rue, Spinach, Tansy, Thyme, Turneps. You may begin to mow your grass walks, and continue so to do every morning, and roll them; turf this month; plant Box.

If Artichokes were not slipped last month, do it this, plantTiushel and garden Beans, sow Cabbages the twelfth, sow Cauliflowers, Celery, Cresses, Nasturtium, Lettuce, Peas, Radishes twice; Sage will grow in this or any other month; Turneps, sow Salsify early, Pepper; turf this month.

Latter end sow Brocoli, Celery, Cucumbers for pickles, Endive, Featherfew, Hyssop, Cuttings of Marsh Mallow, Melons, Peas, sow Radishes twice, Kidney Beans; turf this month.

Cabbages should be sown, sow Radishes twice, transplant Cabbages, prick out Cauliflowers, prick out Brocoli, draw up by the roots all your weeds.

Transplant Brocoli, sow Cabbages, Coleworts, transplant Cauliflowers to stand, Endive, gather Millet seed, take up Onions, sow Radishes twice, sow Turneps, plant Kidney Beans to preserve.

Sow Cabbages, latter end Carrots, get your Cucumber seed, sow Cresses, prick out Endive, early sow Lettuce, Mullein, gather Onion seed, plant Garlick, get Parsnep seed; twelfth, sow Peas for the fall, sow Radishes; middle, sow Spinach, though some say not until after the twentieth, sow Turneps.

Sow Cabbages tenth, sow Cauliflowers, plant cuttings of Currants, Clary, Comfrey, plant cuttings of Gooseberries, sow Radishes, plant layers of suckers of Raspberries, Rosemary, plant out Strawberries, string your Strawberries, and dress your beds, plant Tansy.

Latter end cut down your Asparagus, and cover your beds with dung, plant Beans for spring, sow Cabbages twentieth; transplant Cauliflowers, plant Horse Radish, prick Lettuce into boxes, sow Peas for the hot-bed, Radishes; turf this month.

Take up your Cabbages, sow Cabbages, take up your Cauliflowers, such as are flowered, and house them, take up your Carrots, trench all your vacant land, prune your trees and vines, plant out every thing of the tree or shrub kind, that has a root to it: if any thing is done to your Artichokes, this is a good month; plant Box; turf early.

Cover your Endive with brush, cover Celery, and every thing else that needs shelter; if the weather will admit, turn over the ground that is trenched, in order to mellow and pulverize it. Whatever will prevent delay, and enable you to begin spading in February, should be done this month.

John Randolph was born about 1728, probably at the Peyton Randolph House on Market Square in Williamsburg. After he attended the College of William & Mary for his basic education, he traveled to London in 1745, to study law at the Middle Temple at the Inns of Court in London, returning to Williamsburg to practice law in 1749. During his years in Williamsburg, he became a member of the city's common council, & a burgess for the College of William & Mary. When his older brother Peyton Randolph was elected speaker of the House of Burgesses, John succeeded him as the royal colony's attorney general.

As the sentiment for separating from mother England grew, Randolph’s brother Peyton Randolph became chair of the Continental Congress, & loyalist John Randolph made plans to sail for England. He wrote a farewell letter to his cousin Thomas Jefferson. "We both of us seem to be steering opposite courses," he said, "the success of either lies in the womb of Time." John Randolph arranged passage across the Atlantic for himself, his wife, Ariana, and their 2 daughters, Susannah and Ariana. His son Edumund, who did not share his father's loyalist sentiments, joined the American army serving as aide-de-camp to General George Washington.

John Randolph died at Brampton, England, in 1784. His death brought his return to America.  He is interred beside his father and brother in the family vault in the chapel at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg.

1764 Plants in 18C Colonial American Gardens - Virginian John Randolph (727-1784) - Chives

A Treatise on Gardening Written by a native of this State (Virginia)
Author was John Randolph (1727-1784)
Written in Williamsburg, Virginia about 1765
Published by T. Nicolson, Richmond, Virginia. 1793
The only known copy of this booklet is found in the Special Collections of the Wyndham Robertson Library at Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia.


Chives never grow into bulbs, but in bunches, and Miller takes it to be Shallot. They do not grow above six inches high in the blade. They are to be propagated by parting the roots or planting the cloves. They do not affect the breath so much as the other sorts. The Welch Onion at some seasons of the year, viz: in the fall, dies away, but revives in January, and becomes very early in the spring fit for the table.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Plants in Early American Gardens - Mignonette

Mignonette (Reseda odorata grandiflora)

Mignonette was introduced to ornamental gardens in Europe about 1725, and because of its sweet fragrance both as a garden plant and as a cut flower, its popularity grew steadily on both sides of the Atlantic through the 19th century. Thomas Jefferson recorded sowing seeds for this annual at Monticello in 1811. The tiny, pale green and white flowers emit a fresh, fruity scent in summer and are attractive to bees and butterflies.

For more information & the possible availability
Contact The Tho Jefferson Center for Historic Plants or The Shop at Monticello 

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Plants in Early American Gardens - Prince's Feather

Prince's Feather (Persicaria orientalis)

Also known as Kiss-Me-Over-the-Garden-Gate and Oriental Persicary, this towering, fast-growing, self-seeding annual was first grown in Virginia by Williamsburg's John Custis in 1737. Philadelphia nurseryman Bernard McMahon included it on his 1804 seed list as "Persicaria." An Asian species, Prince's Feather produces pendulous clusters of bead-like, bright-pink flowers in summer above robust and lush foliage. The flowers are attractive to pollinators.

For more information & the possible availability
Contact The Tho Jefferson Center for Historic Plants or The Shop at Monticello 

Friday, April 12, 2019

Early American Orchards

Most colonists planted at least a few fruit trees or a larger orchard as soon as possible, when they settled on their land. An orchard is an enclosed garden used to grow fruit trees which provided both food & drink to the colonial family.

Cider was one of the most important drinks of the colonial period. Growing barley for beer, or any other traditional European grains that the settlers might have been accustomed to raising, required the use of a plow. Because the colonists' lands were freshly cleared; stumps remained dotting the landscape, & the use of a plow was nearly impossible.

In 1655, Adrian Van der Donck observed, "The Netherlands settlers, who are lovers of fruit, on observing that the climate was suitable to the production of fruit trees, have brought over & planted various kinds of apples & pear trees which thrive well...The English have brought over the first quinces, & we have also brought over stocks & seed which thrive well & produce large orchards."
In Jamestown, Virginia, it was reported that by 1656, "Orchards innumerable were planted & preserved." Jamestown, more than many other settlements, needed to grow domestic fruit to convert into a safe liquid to drink. Illness was a serious problem in early Jamestown due, in part, to the settlers' drinking water from shallow wells often polluted by the risky high water table. The colonists did not seem to mind the mellowing alcohol content of the quickly fermented apple juice either.

A 1 to 6 acre apple orchard became a rather common feature on farmsteads & plantations in the British American colonies. Apples were grown primarily for their juice, which was the most common colonial beverage of choice, because well-water generally was regarded as unsafe. Everyone in the family drank the hard cider year-round, & most families produced 20 to 50 barrels of cider each autumn for their own consumption & to use as barter for other goods & services.

Peach Blossoms

Some settlers also converted distilled cider into which was even stronger than hard cider. The first hand-cranked cider mills appeared in the colonies around 1745. Prior to this cider was made by pounding apples in a trough & draining the pomace.

Gabriel Thomas wrote of Pennsylvania in 1698, "There are many Fair & Great Brick Houses on the outside of the Town which the Gentry have built for their Countrey Houses... having a very fine & delightful Garden & Orchard adjoyning it, wherein is variety of Fruits, Herbs, & Flowers."

On a visit to Williamsburg, Virginia, in 1722, Hugh Jones noted that, "the Palace or Governor's House, a magnificent structure built at the publick Expense, finished & beautified with Gates, fine Gardens...Orchards."

A house-for-sale adverisement in the South Carolina Gazette in June of 1736, in Charleston, touted the orchard as a strong selling enticement, "To be Sold A Plantation containing 200 Acres...An orchard well planted with peach, apple, cherry, fig & plumb trees: a vineyard of about two years grownth planted with 1200 vines: a nursery of 5 or 600 mulberry trees about two years old, fit to plant out."

Pear Blossoms

In April of 1742, Eliza Lucas Pinckney wrote in South Carolina, "I have planted a large figg orchard with desighn to dry & export them. I have reckoned my expense & the prophets to arise from these figgs."

Peter Kalm noted on his travels through North America on September 18, 1748, "Every countryman, even a common peasant, has commonly an orchard near his house, in which all sorts of fruit, such a peaches, apples, pears, cherries, & others are in plenty."

By the middle of the 18th century, a wide variety of orchard trees was available to the general public. William Smith advertised trees he was growing in his nursery in Surry County, Virginia, in the 1755 Williamsburg newspaper, as did Thomas Sorsby of Surry County in 1763.
In 1755, orchardist William Smith offered, "Hughs’s Crab, Bray’s White Apple, Newton Pippin, Golden Pippin, French Pippin, Dutch Pippin, Clark’s Pearmain, Royal Pearmain, Baker’s Pearmain, Lone’s Pearmain, Father Abraham, Harrison’s Red, Ruffin’s large Cheese Apple, Baker’s Nonsuch, Ludwell’s Seedling, Golden Russet, Nonpareil, May Apple, Summer Codling, Winter Codling, Gillefe’s Cyder Apple, Green Gage Plumb, Bonum Magnum Plumb, Orleans Plumb, Imperial Plumb, Damascene Plumb, May Pear, Holt’s Sugar Pear, Autumn Bergamot Pear, Summer Pear, Winter Bergamot, Orange Bergamot, Mount Sir John, Pound Pear, Burr de Roy, Black Heart Cherry, May Duke Cherry, John Edmond’s Nonsuch Cherry, White Heart Cherry, Carnation Cherry, Kentish Cherry, Marrello Cherry, Double Blossom Cherry, Double Blossom Peaches, Filberts Red & White."

Nurseryman Thomas Sorsby had available in 1763, "Best cheese apple, long stems, Pamunkey, Eppes, Newtown pippins, Bray’s white apples, Clark’s pearmains, Lightfoot’s Father Abrahams, Sorsby’s Father Abrahams, Lightfoot’s Hughes, Sorsby’s Hughes, Ellis’s Hughes, New-York Yellow apples, Golden russeteens, Westbrook’s Sammons’s, horse apples, royal pearmains, a choice red apple, best May apples, Sally Gray’s apple, Old .England apple, green apple, Harvey’s apple, peach trees [Prunus persica], & cherry trees."

In 1756, from Annapolis, Maryland, Elizabeth Brook wrote to her son Charles Carroll, who was attending school in England & France, "This place... is greatly improved, a fine, flourishing orchard with a variety of choice fruit." Charles Carroll of Annapolis & his son annually put away vast quantities of cider for their family & servants. In 1775, the elder Carroll put away 190 casks of "cyder" (he estimated 22,800 gallons) for the coming year.

Apple Blossoms

Peter Hatch, who managed Monticello's gardens & grounds for about 30 years, reports that, between 1769 & 1814 Thomas Jefferson planted as many as 1,031 fruit trees in his South Orchard. This orchard formed a horseshoe-shape around the two vineyards & berry squares. It was organized into a grid pattern, in which he planted 18 varieties of apple, 38 of peach, 14 cherry, 12 pear, 27 plum, 4 nectarine, 7 almond, 6 apricot, & a quince.

"The earliest plantings, before 1780, reflect the experimental orchard of a young man eager to import Mediterranean culture to Virginia, & included olives, almonds, pomegranates, & figs. However, the mature plantings after 1810, included mostly species & varieties that either thrived through the hot, humid summers & cold, rainy winters of central Virginia, such as seedling late-season peaches or Virginia cider apples."

In 1782, Michel Guillaume Jean de Crèvecœur (1735–1813) described drying apple slices on wooden platforms erected on poles. The fruit was spread out on wooden boards, where it was soon covered with "all the bees & wasps & sucking insects of the neighborhood," which he felt accelerated the drying process. The dried apples were used in preparing a variety of dishes throughout the year. Peaches & plums were also dried but were considered more of a delicacy & were saved for special occasions. Many families stored their dried apples in bags hung high in building rafters to keep them dry & away from mice.

J. F. D. Smyth described Williamsburg, Virginia, in 1784, "Plantations are generally from one to four or five miles distant from each other, having a dwelling house in the middle... at some little distance there are always large peach & apple orchards."
In 1796, New Englander Amelia Simmons published the first truly American cookbook, American Cookery. Her view of the raising of apples had more to do with morality than with functionality.

"Apples are still more various, yet rigidly retain their own species, & are highly useful in families, & ought to be more universally cultivated, excepting in the compactest cities. There is not a single family but might set a tree in some otherwise useless spot, which might serve the two fold use of shade & fruit; on which 12 or 14 kinds of fruit trees might easily be engrafted, & essentially preserve the orchard from the intrusions of boys, &c. which is too common in America.

If the boy who thus planted a tree, & guarded & protected it in a useless corner, & carefully engrafted different fruits, was to be indulged free access into orchards, whilst the neglectful boy was prohibited--how many millions of fruit trees would spring into growth--and what a saving to the union. The net saving would in time extinguish the public debt, & enrich our cookery."
English agriculturalist Richard Parkinson noted in 1798, Baltimore, Maryland, "My orchard contained about six acres, three of which were planted with apples, the other three with peaches of various sorts."

In the 1790s, Captain John ODonnell (1749-1805) settled in Baltimore, Maryland, naming his country seat after his favorite port of call, Canton. & account of Canton given by a visitor noted that O"Donnell had planted orchards of red peaches on his 2500 acre estate in hopes of manufacturing brandy for trade but had met with limited financial success.

"For although Mr. O'Donnell's orchard had come to bear in great perfection & he had stills & the other necessary apparatus, the profit proved so small that he suffered the whole to go to waste & his pigs to consume the product."
A house-for-sale advertisement in the 1800 Federal Gazette in Baltimore, Maryland, described, "That beautiful, healthy & highly improved seat, within one mile of the city of Baltimore, called Willow Brook, containing about 26 acres of land, the whole of which is under a good post & rail fence, divided & laid off into grass lots, orchards, garden...The garden & orchard abounds with the greatest variety of the choicest fruit trees, shrubs, flowers...collected from the best nurseries in America & from Europe, all in perfection & full bearing."

Rosalie Stier Calvert devoted a great deal of attention to establishing an orchard at her home Riversdale in Prince George County, Maryland. In 1804, she “planted a large number of all the varieties of young fruit trees I could find, & I am going to fill the orchard with young apple trees everywhere there is room.” She complained that “It is impossible to buy any good pear trees from the nurseries. They sell bad pears under good names.” She first asked her father to send her peaches & pears from Europe, but soon realized it would not be practical. Instead, her father suggested that she buy pear trees in Alexandria, Virginia, for her garden “which had real soil for pears,” & water them with buckets of cow urine. She had already transplanted “a Seigneur pear tree,” which her father had grafted in Annapolis.

By 1805, she wrote, “We are getting much better at the art of gardening, especially with fruit trees which we planted a large collection of this year. You would scarcely recognize the orchard. The manure which was applied there in 1803 improved it greatly, & young trees have been planted where needed.” In addition to fruit trees, she planted currants & raspberries in her orchard.

Keeping apples overwinter in America during the 18th & 19th centuries was important & theories abounded about the proper method.

New Yorker John Nicholson wrote in The Farmer's Assistant in 1820, "In gathering apples, for Winter-use, they should be picked from the tree, & laid carefully in a heap, under cover, without being bruised. After they have sweated, let them be exposed to the air & well dried, by wiping them with dry cloths; then lay them away in a dry place where they will hot freeze. The time requisite for sweating will be six, ten, or fifteen days, according to the warmth of the weather...>"The fruit should not be gathered till fully ripe, which is known by the stem parting easily from the twig. It should also be gathered in dry weather & when the dew is off...

"It is confidently asserted by many, that apples may be safely kept in casks through Winter, in a cold chamber, or garret, by being merely covered with Linen cloths."

John Beale Bordley had written An Epitome of Mr. Forsyth's Treatise on the Culture & Management of Fruit Trees in 1804, noting that William Forsyth wrote "the most complete method of saving them, so as to preserve them the greatest length of time, is to wrap them in paper & pack them away in stone jars between layers of bran; having the mouths of the jars covered so close as to preclude the admission of air, & then keep them in a dry place where they will not be frozen."

In the 1790s, Samuel Deane wrote in his New England Farmer of his method of preserving Winter apples, "I gather them about noon on the day of the full of the moon which happens in the latter part of September, or beginning of October. Then spread them in a chamber, or garret, where they lie till about the last of November. Then, at a time when the weather is dry, remove them into casks, or boxes, in the cellar, out of the way of the frosts; but I prefer a cool part of the cellar. With this management, I find I can keep them till the last of May, so well that not one in fifty will rot...

"In the Autumn of 1793, I packed apples in the shavings of pine, so that they scarcely touched one another. They kept well till some time in May following; though they were a sort which are mellow for eating in December. Dry sawdust might perhaps answer the end as well. Some barrel them up, & keep them through the Winter in upper rooms, covering them with blankets or mats, to prevent freezing. Dry places are best for them."

New Yorker John Nicholson suggested some amazing cures--including chalk, bloody meat, raw eggs, & milk--for American cider in The Farmer's Assistant in 1820, "Cider may be kept for years in casks, without fermenting, by burying them deeply under ground, or immersing them in spring water; & when taken up the cider will be very fine.

"A drink, called cider-royal, is made of the best runing of the cheese, well clarified, with six or eight gallons of French brandy, or good cider brandy, added to a barrel: Let the vessel be filled full, bunged tight, & set in a cool cellar, & in the course of a twelvemonth it will be a fine drink. If good rectified whiskey be used, instead of brandy, it will answer very well.

"A quart of honey, or molasses, & a quart of brandy, or other spirits, added to a barrel of cider, will improve the liquor very much, & will restore that which has become too flat & insipid. To prevent its becoming pricked, or to cure it when it is so, put a little pearl-ashes, or other mild alkali, into the cask. A lump of chalk broken in pieces, & thrown in, is also good. Salt of tartar, when the cider is about to be used, is also recommended.

"To refine cider, & give it a fine amber-color, the following method is much approved of. Take the whites of 6 eggs, with a handful of fine beach sand, washed clean; stir them well together; then boil a quart of molasses down to a candy, & cool it by pouring in cider, & put this, together with the eggs & sand, into a barrel of cider, & mix the whole well together. When thus managed, it will keep for many years. Molasses alone will also refine cider, & give it a higher color; but, to prevent the molasses making it prick, let an equal quantity of brandy be added to it. Skim-milk, with some lime slacked in it, & mixed with it, or with the white of eggs with the shells broken in, is also good for clarifying all liquors, when well mixed with them. A piece of fresh bloody meat, put into the cask, will also refine the liquor & serve tor it to feed on.

"To prevent the fermentation of cider, let the cask be first strongly fumigated with burnt sulphur; then put in some of the cider, burn more sulphur in the cask, stop it tight & shake the whole up together; fill the cask, bung it tight, & put it away in a cool cellar.

"To bring on a fermentation, take 3 pints of yeast for a hogshead, add as much jalup as will lie on a sixpence, mix them with some of the cider, beat the mass up till it is frothy, then pour it into the cask, & stir it up well. Keep the vessel full, & the bung open, for the froth & foul stuff to work out. In about 15 days, the froth will be clean & white; then, to stop the fermentation, rack the cider off into a clean vessel, add two gallons ot brandy, or well-rectified whiskey, to it, & bung it up. Let the cask be full, & keep the venthole open for a day or two. By this process, cider that is poor, & ill-tasted, may be wonderfully improved...

"To cure oily cider, take one ounce of salt of tartar, & two & a half of sweet spirit of nitre, in a gallon of milk, for a hogshead. To cure ropy cider, take six pounds of powdered allum, & stir it into a hogshead; then rack it off & clarify it.

"To color cider, take a quarter of a pound of sugar, burnt black, & dissolved in half a pint of hot water, for a hogshead; add a quarter of an ounce of allum, to set the color.

"Cider-brandy mixed with an equal quantity of honey, or clarified sugar, is much recommended by some lor improving common cider; so that, when refined, it may be made as strong, & as pleasant, as the most of wines."

Portraits of Americans with Fruit Grown on Trees

Throughout the 18th century, artists painted portraits of British colonials & early Americans holding fruits that the viewer might reasonably suppose came from the trees in their orchards. Some scholars look to period emblem books & attribute complicated symbolism to each type & quantity of fruit depicted in these portraits. Some do not. Here are a few of my favorite portraits containing tree fruit as props.
1679 Detail. painting attributed to Thomas Smith (1650-1691). Mrs. Richard Patteshall (Martha Woody) & Child.

1732 Detail. John Smibert (1688-1751). Jane Clark (Mrs. Ezekiel Lewis).

1750 Detail. Charles Bridges (1670-1747). Mrs Augustine Moore.

1750 Detail. Joseph Badger. Portrait of Elizabeth Greenleaf of Charlestown.

1755 Detail. Joseph Blackburn (fl in the colonies 1753-1763). Isaac Winslow & His Family.

1757 Detail. John Wollaston (1710-1775). Probably Elizabeth Dandridge.

1767 Detail. James Claypoole (1743-1814). Ann Galloway (Mrs Joseph Pemberton).

1769 Detail. John Singleton Copley (1738-1815) Martha Swett (Mrs Jeremiah Lee).

1769 Detail. John Singleton Copley (1738-1815). Elizabeth Murray (Mrs. James Smith).

1771-73 Detail. Charles Willson Peale (1741-1827). The Peale Family.

1771 Detail. John Singleton Copley (1738-1815). Elizabeth Lewis (Mrs. Ezekiel Goldthwait).

1772 Detail. Charles Willson Peale (1741-1827). General John Cadwalader, his First Wife, Elizabeth.

1773 Detail. John Singleton Copley (1738-1815). Hannah Fayerweather (Mrs. John Winthrop).

1774 Detail. Charles Willson Peale (1741-1827). Isabella & John Stewart.

1774 Detail of painting attributed to Ralph Earl (1751-1801). Elizabeth Perscott (Mrs. Henry Daggett)

1785 Detail. Charles Willson Peale (1741-1827). Ann Marsh (Mrs David Forman) & Child.

1787 Detail. Charles Willson Peale (1741-1827). Deborah McClenahan (Mrs. Walter Stewart).

1788 Detail. Charles Willson Peale (1741-1827). Benjamin & Eleanor Ridgley Laming. National Gallery of Art.

1788 Detail. Charles Willson Peale (1741-1827). William Smith & Grandson.

1795 Detail. James Peale (1749-1831). Artist & His Family.

1720 Detail. Nehemiah Partridge. Wyntje Lavinia Van Vechten.

1729 Detail. John Smibert. The Bermuda Group.

1747-1749 Detail. Robert Feke (1707-1751). Mary Channing (Mrs. John Channing).

1760-65 Detail. Joseph Badger (1708-1765). Sarah Badger Noyes.

1769 Detail. John Singleton Copley (1738-1815). Elizabeth Storer (Mrs. Isaac Smith).

1772 Detail. Winthrop Chandler (1747-1785). Eunice Huntington Devotion.

1775 Detail. Henry Benbridge (1743-1812). Archibald Bullock Family.

1785 Detail. Ralph Earl (1751-1801). Callahan Children.

1785-90 Detail. Beardsley Limner (Sarah Bushnell Perkins (1771 - 1831). Elizabeth Davis (Mrs. Hezekiah Beardsley).

1798 Detail. Ralph Earl. Mrs. Noah Smith & Her Children.

1800 Detail. Anonymous Artist. Emma Van Name