You are here
Scientific Name: Lathyrus odoratus cv.
Sweet Peas were very popular in early American gardens and Thomas Jefferson, who desired "fragrant or beautiful flowers" for his gardens, planted "Lathyrus odoratus. sweet scented pea" in an oval flower bed near the southwest portico of Monticello in 1811.1
This fragrant flower was first brought into cultivation by a Franciscan monk, Francis Cupani, who sent seed to England from Sicily in 1699.2 By 1730, several color forms were known, including the lovely pink and white "Painted Lady."3 It is a spring-flowering vine with highly scented blossoms. "Painted Lady" is pink and white, "Prima Donna" is pale pink, "Indigo King" is bluish purple, and "Queen of the Isles" is red and white.
- Peggy Cornett, n.d.
- Leighton, Ann. American Gardens in the Eighteenth Century. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1986.
- Thomas Jefferson's Garden Book. Manuscript and transcription available online at Coolidge Collection of Thomas Jefferson Manuscripts, Massachusetts Historical Society.
- McMahon, Bernard. The American Gardener's Calendar, 1806. Charlottesville: Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation, 1997. See specifically p. 291.
- Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants.
- 1. Betts, Garden Book, 445. Manuscript and transcription at the Coolidge Collection of Thomas Jefferson Manuscripts, 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), 65-66.
- 2. David C. Stuart and James Sutherland, Plants from the Past: Old Flowers for New Gardens (London: Penguin Books, 1989), 163. See also Alice M. Coats, Flowers and Their Histories (London: Black, 1968), 137.
- 3. Stuart and Sutherland, Plants from the Past, 164-65.