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Virginia Bluebell

Mertensia virginica

On April 16, 1766, in one of the earliest observations in his garden book, Thomas Jefferson noted "a bluish colored, funnel-formed flower in lowgrounds in bloom."1 Long before Jefferson's observation, the North American flower had been introduced to Britain. According to Philip Miller's 1754 edition of The Gardener's Dictionary, Reverend John Banister sent seeds from Virginia to England in the 1600s, but the plants produced from Banister's seeds had eventually died out.2 In the 1730s, Williamsburg's John Custis sent roots to his patron, Peter Collinson.

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.

Further Sources

Growth Type: 
Perennial
Color(s): 
Blue, Pink
Hardiness Zones: 
Zone 3, Zone 4, Zone 5, Zone 6, Zone 7, Zone 8
Location at Monticello: 
East Lawn
Planting Conditions: 
Part Shade
Blooming History: 
2002 Apr 1 to 2002 May 132003 Apr 4 to 2003 May 132004 Mar 29 to 2004 May 52005 Apr 5 to 2005 May 192006 Mar 31 to 2006 May 192007 Apr 6 to 2007 May 152008 Apr 10 to 2008 May 152009 Mar 27 to 2009 May 112010 Apr 6 to 2010 May 102011 Mar 16 to 2011 May 212012 Mar 26 to 2012 May 22013 Apr 11 to 2013 May 72014 Apr 11 to 2014 May 162015 Apr 22 to 2015 May 112016 Apr 1 to 2016 May 62017 Mar 21 to 2017 May 112018 Apr 2 to 2018 May 24
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