Common Name: Virginia Bluebell, Virginia Cowslip, Mountain Cowslip, Roanoke Bells
Scientific Name: Mertensia virginica (M. pulmonarioides)
On April 16, 1766, in one of his earliest observations in his Garden Book, Thomas Jefferson noted, the bluish colored, funnel-formed flower in the low grounds in bloom." It was introduced to Britain by 1700 and Williamsburg's John Custis sent roots to his patron Peter Collinson in the 1730s. According to Philip Miller's 1754 edition of Gardener's Dictionary, the seeds came earlier from a Reverend John Banister in the 1600s, but the plants died out.
The Virginia Bluebell is a hardy, North American early spring-flowering perennial with delicate, terminal clusters of light pink buds, which open to flared, long-tubular, sky-blue to purple flowers.
- ↑ This article is based on a Center for Historic Plants Information Sheet.
- ↑ Betts, Garden Book, 1. Manuscript and transcription at the Massachusetts Historical Society. See also Edwin M. Betts, Hazlehurst Bolton Perkins, and Peter J. Hatch, Thomas Jefferson's Flower Garden at Monticello, 3rd ed. (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1986), 69.
- ↑ Joan Parry Dutton, Plants of Colonial Williamsburg (Williamsburg: Colonial Williamsburg, 1979), 139.