This upright yellow-flowering plant, with its distinctive odor, is a classic of the summer border.
This upright yellow-flowering plant, with its distinctive odor, is a classic of the summer border.
This native plum has a sprawling habit, which showcases the beautiful white flowers in spring and the unique pink plums in midsummer. The plants become scaly with age and are somewhat disease prone.
Apples are ideally planted in multiples of different varieties for optimal fruit production, and many also benefit from pollinators to increase the effectiveness of cross-pollination. Most apple trees are grown from scionwood grafted to rootstock, and the kind of rootstock will determine the ultimate…
This underappreciated stone fruit has lovely blossoms early in the spring. Because of their early bloom time, the flowers are susceptible to freezing.
Asparagus is an unusual plant that is primarily cultivated for its edible tender young shoots in the spring. When mature, it has large ferny foliage that is pale green.
Bee Balm is a tall summer-blooming perennial with brilliant red flowers subtended by a whorl of showy, red-tinged, leafy bracts. The aromatic leaves can be used for tea, but are susceptible to mildew, so this plant needs good air circulation. A member of the mint family, bee balm spreads readily by rhizomes…
Beets are a popular root crop used for pickling, roasting, and salads. They come in an array of colors, including red, yellow, and red and white striped.
These large spring blooming shrubs with edible berries do best in natural areas where they can achieve their full size.
Boston Marrows are large, bright orange squashes that can weigh anywhere between 10 and 50 lbs., although 25 lbs. is more common. They are an excellent eating squash and can be turned into soups or pies.
Broccoli is a cool season vegetable which has been cultivated since the Roman Empire. It is grown for its tender florets which can be eaten raw or cooked.
Bush beans are compact, low growing plants that produce large crops of beans. They can be used for fresh eating or as dry beans.
Bush lima beans are vigorous, productive plants. Their smaller size makes them easy to grow in the home garden and they still provide a bounteous harvest. They can be used dry or fresh.
Cabbage is a cool season annual that was a staple crop in the colonial period and continues to be so today.
Calendulas are an old fashioned herb with bright yellow or orange flowers. They are profuse bloomers in the spring and fall, but will stop blooming during the hot part of the summer. Their flowers can be used in salads and soaps.
Carrots are a root crop which comes in a wide variety of colors. They can be yellow, orange, or purple. While the purple colored varieties are some of the oldest types, orange varieties of carrots were popular by the mid-1700s. They can be served fresh in salads, or cooked.
Cauliflower is a cabbage relative with broad blue-green leaves and a large white head. It is slow to harvest and benefits from a long cool season.
Cayenne peppers are large prolific plants. They produce bountiful crops of slender, spicy red peppers that can be used fresh or dried.
Celery is a familiar component of Bloody Marys, salads, and soups. It is grown primarily for its crisp stalks which add a mild flavor to food. Celery is a cool season vegetable and does not like the hot summers of the southern part of the country.
This blue-flowered perennial is common as a roadside weed, but has a long history of being used as an edible or fodder.
Chives are a small clump-forming onion relative. The stems are frequently used as a culinary herb, and the flowers are attractive to pollinators.
Spires of pink and white bracts crown this large-leafed salvia. It has been used as an herb since the Middle Ages and is currently used as flavoring for wines, vermouth, and liqueurs.
A sturdy long-blooming annual, this impressive plant is ideal for the back of the border. Its bright flowers come in many colors, including hot pink, peach, deep rose, yellow, and red.
The name "cowpea" was probably coined for their use as a fodder crop for cows, and while grown for their edible bean, the leaves and pods can also be consumed. Black-eyed peas can be harvested as a snap bean, or dried, and are the main ingredient in Hoppin' John, a traditional Southern dish ritually…
Cucumbers are a vining plant with yellow flowers and slightly prickly stems. There are many varieties which produce cucumbers of different sizes and shapes.
Egyptian walking onions are a unique plant which produces the next generation in a crown of bulblets atop their stalks in lieu of flowers. As the bulblets grow, their weight pulls them to the ground, where they take root to grow new plants. While the young bulbs are mild and can be used as scallions…
Endive has broad, bright green leaves and looks somewhat like a rougher-textured lettuce. It has a sharp, bitter flavor.
Fava beans, a cool season plant, performs best in either the spring or the fall. They are quite robust and can grow to three feet high, producing many large pods which are best eaten shelled.
The fig tree dates back to ancient times and is an important source of food for many cultures. Flowers are borne inside the fig structure (syconium), and the fig is ripe and at its sweetest when it softens and turns dark late in the season. Coarse-textured leaves, which are large and deeply lobed, are…
Fish peppers are hot peppers with variegated white leaves. The peppers themselves are often streaked with white and start green before maturing to red.
This dazzling plant blooms in masses of yellow flowers with deep burgundy stripes and is the star of the fall garden.
Garlic is a popular ingredient in many types of cooking. This bulbous plant is an onion relative with fleshy green leaves and umbels of pinkish white flowers.
Artichokes have large silvery green leaves that make them a striking addition to the garden. Their flower buds are traditionally used for culinary purposes, but if allowed to open offer large, brilliant purple flowers.
This uncommon shrub produces tart green fruits in summer that are suitable for jams and desserts. They have many sharp thorns and some care should be used when working around them.
Horseradish is a large spreading vegetable, used primarily for its pungent roots. It should be given a confined space, as it spreads rapidly if left unchecked.
Jerusalem artichoke is a perennial sunflower relative that produces a profusion of bright yellow flowers atop ten foot stalks. It is valued for its edible tubers, which resemble the flavor of water chestnuts.
This delightful little flower is a harbinger of spring in many gardens, but also adds charm to a fall or winter garden depending on your region. The flowers are edible and can be used to wonderful effect on cakes and in salads.
This voluptuous annual is grown for its showy multicolored foliage in shades of green, yellow, and red.
Kale is a popular leafy green that can be used cooked or in salads. It is also used as an ornamental plant in fall gardens. Historically, coarser types have been used as animal fodder.
Key limes are small citrus trees with highly fragrant white blossoms. They produce many delightful fruits which are excellent for cooking. In this region, they are best grown in pots so that they can be moved in and out as the temperatures dictate.
Leeks are an onion relative with strappy green leaves which an edible stalk which is usually blanched.
As with the other tropicals grown at Mount Vernon, the lemons are grown in pots so that they can be moved into a greenhouse for the winter.
Lemon balm is a spreading herb with a strong citrusy fragrance. It can be used for teas and cooking and is frequently used for essential oil. Gardeners should be aware that it can be aggressive and should be carefully contained.
Lettuce is a cool season leafy vegetable that is most frequently used in salads. Its leaves come in a variety of colors, from green to red to splotchy.
The Long Island Cheese pumpkin is an excellent eating pumpkin and is well-suited for making pies. It is a beautiful tan pumpkin with deep lobes that grows on huge, sprawling vines.
This southern grape must be harshly pruned to keep it in check and producing vigorously. They are best used as table grapes, or for jams and jellies. If left unattended, it will rapidly take over your garden.
Muskmelons are a trailing, vining plant with small yellow flowers which often performs better when grown on a trellis. They produce fruit in a wide variety of shapes and colors. Their fruits are frequently fragrant.
Mustard produces a leafy green that can be used for fresh eating, or as a cooked vegetable. It produces pretty yellow flowers that are attractive to pollinators.
A sprawling annual herb, nasturtiums have long been a charming kitchen garden plant. Their flowers, leaves, and seeds are all edible, and add a peppery bite to salads.
Okra is a tall plant with cheerful yellow flowers that are reminiscent of hibiscus blossoms. They produce green seedpods that are best harvested when they are 2 to 3 inches long.
Onions are commonly planted in the fall for a spring harvest. Red and yellow types are available to grow.
Seville oranges are a small to medium citrus tree which produce bitter, unpleasant tasting oranges.
Oregano is a compact slow-spreading herb that is popularly used in cooking. It is very fragrant and attractive to bees and butterflies.
Parsnips are a large root vegetable which somewhat resemble white carrots and can be used in similar ways. Just like the wild parsnip, cultivated plants attract a range of pollinators and are host plants for several moths and butterflies, including swallowtails. Handling the plants should be done with…
This small, colonizing tree produces the largest edible fruit indigenous to the United States. It has dark maroon flowers in the early spring which are pollinated by flies.
Peaches are wide fast growing trees that require careful pruning and maintenance in order to produce good quality fruit. Their vibrant pink flowers in spring are charming and attractive to pollinators.
Like other fruit trees, pears require a good deal of maintenance in order to perform well. Many require a chilling period to fully ripen and are good for use in baking and cidermaking.
Peas are tender spring vegetable on short vines. They often have large showy flowers in colors like pink and white. The pods can range in color from purple to green. Peas are best direct sown outdoors in the early months of spring, and if you have a long, cool fall, a second crop can be grown.
Persimmons are an unusual American fruit that can colonize in abandoned fields and open woods. Female trees bear astringent orange fruits that become fully ripe after a frost.
Plums have a sprawling, suckering growth habit and therefore require judicious pruning.
Pole beans, such as kidney and butter or lima beans, produce long vines that do best when supported on some type of trellis. They are prolific growers and can easily cover a trellis in the course of a season while producing many beans which can be eaten fresh or dried.
Pole lima beans are vigorous plants that do best when grown on trellises. They are fast growing and produce beans which can be used fresh or dried.
This large shrub boasts vibrant orange flowers in the summer which ripen into large orange-red fruits.
Potatoes are a tomato relative and are often mistaken for them, as their foliage is somewhat similar in appearance. They are an agricultural staple that ranks with wheat and rice as among the most important in the world. Their South American origin is often obscured by their fame as a mainstay crop…
This citrus tree produces fragrant flowers followed by large fruits which are larger and sweeter than a grapefruit.
Radishes are a root vegetable that add a pleasant bite (if you like that kind of thing) to salads. They come in a variety of colors including black, purple, red, and white. They are useful as a winter cover or forage crop. Radishes are incredibly easy to grow, with high germination rates and a fast…
Raspberries are a sprawling thorny plant which benefit from a large growing area and the removal of older canes. They produce their first crop of fruit in May and June, and a later crop in August.
Red currants are a small tart fruit best harvested in June. They prefer well-drained soils as well as cool summer climates.
Rhubarb is an old-fashioned vegetable, grown for its brilliant red stems which are often used in pies and desserts. While its stems are noted for their culinary qualities, its leaves are poisonous and must be removed before cooking.
Rosemary is a fragrant evergreen shrub which is frequently used in cooking. Its pale blue flowers are attractive to bees and butterflies.
Rutabagas are a cool season root vegetable which can also be used as a fall cover crop. The large root is purple and white and the leaves are usually bluish-green. It can be boiled, baked, roasted, or mashed, as well as eaten raw in salads.
Sage is a woody subshrub with silvery green leaves and pale purple flowers that are attractive to butterflies and other pollinators. It does best in well-drained, sunny locations. For centuries, sage has been a popular herb for cooking, and is also used as an essential oil.
This perennial herb is primarily grown for its flavorful leaves, which are used in salads, soups, and cold drinks. Its flavor is reminiscent of cucumbers, and it may be substituted for mint in many recipes.
Salsify is a unique biennial root vegetable with grass-like leaves. In the spring it produces masses of daisy-like purple flowers followed by large seedheads that resemble those of dandelions. The root is said to taste somewhat like oysters and looks like a white carrot.
Seminole squash are spherical to pear-shaped and lightly ribbed with a tan skin. With its sweet, deep orange flesh, this squash is excellent when baked or roasted, and keeps for months (over a year in one MV gardener's pantry!). Named for the native Americans growing it in Florida when the Spaniards…
These easy to grow and delicious fruits are hardy and vigorous producers.
This stately tree is well-known for its fall color and production of maple syrup. It is a tree of northern forests and does not tolerate the heat or humidity of the south.
These gorgeous native plants bloom in a variety of colors and sizes, including pale yellow, oranges, and golds. Some are grown merely for their beauty while others, such as the Mammoth sunflower, are grown for their seeds.
Swiss chard is a leafy green that can be harvested continually to be used in salads or cooked. Its leaves may be plain green or have red midribs.
Cherry tree species grown primarily for fruit production bloom later than the ornamental varieties. Tart cherries perform best in the humid climate of Virginia's coastal region.
Peanuts are small leguminous plants with many bright yellow flowers. They form their fruits underground and they should be harvested in the fall when the plant begins to yellow.
A small, woody sub-shrub, thyme has aromatic leaves and whorls of pink flowers in early summer. It is popularly used as an edging and between stones in walkways. It is also an excellent culinary herb.
Turnips are a cool season root vegetable. They produce a large purple and white bulbous taproot which have historically been a winter staple. They can be roasted, mashed, or eaten raw.
Virginia White Gourdseed corn is an exceptionally tall variety that produces very firm kernels which are best suited to milling or use as a feed corn.
Watermelon plants are vigorous, vining plants which need to be given quite a bit of space to ramble in. They produce large melons of varying sizes and colors, depending on the variety.
Bird peppers are large plants, easily growing to 6 feet over the course of a season. They thrive in the heat of the year and produce masses of tiny red peppers with a lot of heat and excellent flavor.
This common cereal grain is used in distilling, as animal fodder, for cooking, and is also used as a cover crop.
Crookneck squash grow in a dense, leafy clump and produce many yellow squashes which need to be harvested nearly every day. They are susceptible to most squash pests, including squash bugs, powdery mildew, and squash vine borers.