Take a look at some of the remarkable plants and flowers at Mount Vernon.

1. Absalon Tulip

Tulipa 'Absalon'
Absalon is one of the world's rarest tulips. Few have seen this heirloom tulip variety in person. It is an intricately patterned tulip featuring swirling yellow flames on maroon petals. It is one of the few remaining truly broken tulips. Visitors can see this exquisite flower in the Upper Garden. 

Season: Spring

Absalon Tulip in the upper garden

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2. Crown Imperial

Fritillaria imperialis 'Rubra Maxima'
This large bulb has dramatic orange flowers borne on long lily-like flowers in spring. A statement piece for any garden. You can find this flower in the upper garden and it is distinctive by its “unfloral” smell. In 1784, The Marquis de Lafayette requested seeds of this plant from Washington. Featured in Washington's copy of Curtis' Botanical Magazine, Vol VI.

Season: Spring

Crown Imperial in the upper garden

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3. Love-In-A-Mist

Nigella damascena
Love-in-a-Mist was a common garden flower in Europe by the 16th century and had made its way to the colonies by the 18th century. It was listed on a seed order placed by Henry Middleton of South Carolina in 1800. This feathery flower blooms in shades of blue, white, and pink. It is noted for its interesting seedpods. Featured in Washington's copy of Curtis' Botanical Magazine, Vol I


Love-in-a-mist in the upper garden

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4. Hemp

Cannabis sativa
Yes, George Washington did grow hemp...but not the kind you're thinking of. Throughout his lifetime, George Washington cultivated hemp at Mount Vernon for industrial uses. The fibers from hemp held excellent properties for making rope and sail canvas. Today, visitors can see hemp being grown in the Farm site. As the first historic home of the founding fathers to plant hemp, Mount Vernon will use the plant as an interpretative tool to help better tell the story of Washington’s role as a farmer.


Hemp grown at the Farm siteLearn More

5. Lilac

Syringa vulgaris
Washington planted a number of lilacs around his home. Large fragrant bouquets of purple flowers make this shrub the queen of spring in the upper garden and bowling green. Featured in Washington's copy of Curtis' Botanical Magazine, Vol VI.


Lilac in the upper gardenLearn More

6. Scarlet Rose Mallow

Hibiscus coccineus
This plant is the largest hibiscus grown at Mount Vernon, as well as the longest flowering. Its brilliant red blooms are a bold statement in the summer border.

season: Summer

Scarlet Rose Mallow in the upper gardenLearn More

7. Oleander

Nerium oleander
Two oleander plants were ordered in February of 1792 from General Moultrie of South Carolina. Visitors now can see these spectacular flowers in the upper garden. This large subtropical plant has brilliant pink flowers which bloom through summer in the Mount Vernon gardens.

Season: Summer

Oleander in the upper gardenLearn More

8. Sago Palm

Cycas revolute
Bringing a tropical vibe to the upper garden, this sago palm is also one of the most ancient plants on this planet! These plants lived side by side with dinosaurs. Sago palms are actually not a palm tree at all, but a cycad (an ancient group of seed plants). The sago palm was noted in Washington's papers on a list of plants from Jamaica. 

Season: Summer

Sago Palms in the upper gardenLearn More

9. Globe Artichoke

Cynara cardunculus var. scolymus
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. In September of 1794, Washington wrote to William Pearce to request artichoke seeds for Martha and was growing them in the lower garden.

Season: Summer

Artichoke bloom in the fruit garden & nursery

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10. French Striped Marigold

Tagetes patula
This dazzling plant blooms in masses of yellow flowers with deep burgundy stripes and is the star of the fall garden. A native to Mexico and Central America, these New World plants made its way across the Atlantic where the French experimented with hybrids and cultivars to produce this variety. French marigolds were introduced to American gardens when it was first featured in Curtis' Botanical Magazine in 1791.  Featured in Washington's copy of Curtis' Botanical Magazine, Vol VI.

Season: Fall

French Striped Marigold in the upper gardenLearn More

Gardens of Mount Vernon

Come explore the gardens! Stroll through each of the gardens to learn more about George Washington and his love for plants.

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