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Jefferson planted "Double balsam" at Shadwell in April 1767 and ordered seeds from Bernard McMahon in 1812. This was among the "more valuable and curious sorts of tender annuals" to McMahon, who gave detailed instructions for the raising of young plants in hot beds, which were cold frames heated by decomposing manure. Balsams, especially, the newly developed double varieties with striped flowers, were more esteemed in Jefferson's time than they are today.
From Thomas Jefferson's Flower Garden at Monticello by Edward M. Betts.