Jefferson and the Early Diplomatic Corps
The recent controversy over release of U.S. diplomatic cables via Wikileaks got us thinking about how Jefferson, the U.S.'s first Secretary of State under the Constitution, and his successors communicated with their ambassadors and consuls abroad.
In his 2006 Twinleaf article, "Garden Weeds in the Age of Jefferson," Peter Hatch mentions that Thomas Jefferson considered poison ivy to be an ornamental plant, possibly because of its dramatic fall color.
In the latest issue of Early American Life is an article by once-and-future ICJS fellow Andrea Wulf, "The Brother Gardeners," described thusly: A mutual love of plants drew American John Bartram and Englishman Peter Collinson into a long-term partnership that changed the face of European gardening. (I assume this is a very-much condensed overview of Andrea's book of the same name.)
Once-and-future ICJS fellow Andrea Wulf published a short, fascinating article in The Guardian just yesterday - the Obamas are digging up a patch to plant vegetables at the White House, following a long tradition of presidential vegetable gardeners, including Our Man TJ (of course).
The Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants, established at Monticello in 1987, collects, preserves, and distributes historic plant varieties and strives to promote greater appreciation for the origins and evolution of garden plants. The program centers on Thomas Jefferson's horticultural interests and the plants he grew at Monticello, but covers the broad history of plants cultivated in America by including varieties documented through the nineteenth century, and choice North American plants, a group of special interest to Jefferson himself.