Jefferson lists a "dble bloss almond" in his 1794 object for the garden. Working in the nursey from March 17-19 of that same year, he writes, "grafted double blossomed almonds..." It is uncertain where he got this plant, or if he brought it back from Europe. (A package of almonds are mentioned in the 1790 Grevin packing list, but no description.)
This flowering shrub is native to central and northern China and was long cultivated in Japan before its introduction to the West in 1774. This variety was introduced in 1683 and Prince Nursery, of Long Island, New York, first offered it in 1790. In The American Gardener's Calendar (1806), Philadelphia nurseryman Bernard McMahon recommended forcing the shrub into flower by bringing it into the hot-house in February.
The double-flowering sorts were popular shrubs in the later Victorian and Edwardian gardens. It is a hardy, deciduous, spring-flowering shrub with bowl-shaped, double, pale pink flowers borne in dense clusters along the branches, followed by dark red fruit.
↑ This article is based on a Center for Historic Plants Information Sheet.