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Dianthus chinensis - China Pinks
Common Name: China Pinks, Indian Pinks
Scientific Name: Dianthus chinensis variety
Jefferson first planted "China Pinks" at Shadwell, his birthplace, in 1767 and again at Monticello in 1807.1 Also known as Indian Pinks, the species was introduced from China and has been cultivated in Europe and America since the early 18th century. (Lady Skipwith and John Bartram mention this plant in the first half of the 18th century.)2
China Pinks is a summer flowering annual or short-lived perennial with large single flowers with fringed petals in colorful patterns of pink and crimson to white shades.
- Peggy Cornett, 2010
Primary Source References
1812 December 1. (Bernard McMahon to Jefferson). "I also do myself the pleasure of enclosing you some superior China Pink and Auricula seeds; the latter should be sown some time in this month, as directed in page 646 of my work on Gardening."4
1813 January 11. (Jefferson to Bernard McMahon). "I have too long delayed returning you thanks for your favors of Nov. 24. & Dec. 1. and the hyacinth roots with the seeds of the China pink, Auricula, & fiorin grass which came safely to hand."5
- Adams, Denise Wiles. Restoring American Gardens: An Encyclopedia of Heirloom Ornamental Plants, 1640-1940. Portland, Oregon: Timber Press, Inc., 2004
- Cornett, Peggy. "Pinks, Gilliflowers, & Carnations--The Exalted Flowers." Twinleaf, January 1998
- Seeds available for purchase at Monticello Museum Shop
- Stuart, David and James Sutherland. Plants from the Past: Old Flowers for New Gardens. London: Penguin Books, 1989
- Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants
- 1. Betts, Garden Book, 4 and 335. 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), 59.
- 2. Joan Parry Dutton, Plants of Colonial Williamsburg (Williamsburg: Colonial Williamsburg, 1979), 130-131.
- 3. See 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), 58.
- 4. http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Jefferson/03-05-02-0407
- 5. http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Jefferson/03-05-02-0470