Simply Balisha

Simply Balisha

Monday, August 11, 2014

George Washington...The Gardener

What's going on at Mount Vernon right now? I visited there once and fell in love with George Washington's home. The gardens were so beautiful...and well kept. I bought a Blackberry lily plant to bring I would always remember my visit. 
I thought that I would order a few packets of seeds for planting next year, because I had been researching Mount Vernon on the internet and found that since the days of Geo. Washington...they have been collecting the seeds that they sell each year. When the first bulb fades in the spring, the work begins of starting their getting ready for fall jobs. Seed is collected from almost all the plants. George Washington was a seed saver and his tradition lives on at Mount Vernon. This is from an article about his seed saving...On October 26, 1786 Washington wrote in his diary, “Ordered a piece of ground to be prepared in the Neck on which to transplant Turneps for the purpose of saving seed,” On June 1, 1794 he wrote to his manager William Pearce about the White bent grass “the Seeds of which I sent you last Spring. Endeavor, however, to save all the Seed you can from it,” and again in 1794, August 10th writing to Pearce he wrote, “Desire the Gardener to save as much Seed as he can from the everlasting Pea, in the Vineyard.” Washington felt once you had acquired a plant you should never have to seek or buy it again.
The ladies organization from Mount Vernon have continued this to this day. Each year volunteers gather the dried plants and clean the seeds and what they don't use for Mount Vernon is packaged for sale. 
Right now, they are doing much the same as we are. In the coming weeks, the annuals will be pulled and perennials cut back or divided to keep things tidy. They will soon do the vegetable gardens in preparation for next season's gardens... and while doing so...they add compost. Everything is composted there. They have manure from their animals and tons of plant material.The kitchen gardens have been cultivated for 253 yrs. In the years of George Washington the food grown was for family and guests. Now it it donated to the food bank and their donations come to about 6000 lbs. of food per year.
I think this is so think that once, long ago, the president of our country was so involved in gardening. If I could pick one person in history to have a conversation with...hands down, my choice would be George Washington.


  1. Isn't this the neatest thing? I suppose we do that, to a certain extent, when we bring perennials that belonged to our Mom's, Aunts or Grandma's and plant them in our new garden. I do like the heirloom seeds and plants the best.

  2. Sorry to be late commenting....I've been in bed with a stomach virus and dizzy head!
    We visited Mount Vernon with my late parents and had such a good time. I believe that Thomas Jefferson's home, Monticello, does the same thing. At least many years ago I ordered seeds from them. I think it is fascinating! Thanks for this post.

    I am so sad about Robin Williams. So very sad that he felt hopeless.