Thomas Jefferson Papers

Bernard McMahon to Thomas Jefferson, 24 October 1812

From Bernard McMahon

Philadelphia Octr 24th 1812.

Dear Sir,

I had the pleasure of receiving yours of the 11th inst and am happy that the articles sent to you last spring have succeeded to your satisfaction, and that you recd the few roots I lately sent you in good condition. I am much obliged to you for your former favors and also for your1 intention of sending me the box of seeds you were pleased to mention.

With this letter I expect you will receive a small box containing,

6 Roots Watsonia Meriana. (Gawler)
6 do Trittonia fenestrata do
6 do Trittonia fenestrata B do
6 Morea flexuosa

All Cape of Good Hope bulbs and consequently, with you, belonging to the Green-House department.

1 Root silver striped Crown Imperial, Hardy

3 Roots Amaryllis Belladonna, or Belladonna Lily: these belong also to the Green-House; if their strong succulent fibres or roots retain their freshness, on receipt of them, do not have them cut off, but let them be planted with the bulbs in pots of good rich mellow earth; the flowers are beautiful and fragrant; their season of flowering is Septr & Octr

I am Sir With great esteem Yours respectfully

Bernd McMahon

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 30 Oct. 1812 and so recorded in SJL.

English botanist John Bellenden Ker published a memoir on the group of plants Iridaceae in the Annals of Botany in 1804, just before he changed his surname from gawler. The essay discussed a number of cape of good hope bulbs. McMahon recommended them for autumn planting in the green-house (ODNB description begins H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison, eds., Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004, 60 vols. description ends ; McMahon, Gardener’s Calendar description begins Bernard McMahon, The American Gardener’s Calendar; adapted to the Climates and Seasons of the United States, Philadelphia, 1806; repr. 1997; Sowerby, no. 810; Poor, Jefferson’s Library, 6 (no. 273) description ends , 499; Hortus Third description begins Liberty Hyde Bailey, Ethel Zoe Bailey, and the staff of the Liberty Hyde Bailey Hortorium, Cornell University, Hortus Third: A Concise Dictionary of Plants Cultivated in the United States and Canada, 1976 description ends , 741, 1129, 1169).

1Manuscript: “you.”

Index Entries

  • belladonna lily search
  • bugle lily search
  • crown imperial lily search
  • lily; belladonna search
  • lily; bugle search
  • lily; crown imperial search
  • McMahon, Bernard; letters from search
  • McMahon, Bernard; sends plants to TJ search
  • McMahon, Bernard; The American Gardener’s Calendar search
  • Moraea flexuosa (iris) search
  • The American Gardener’s Calendar (B. McMahon) search
  • tritonia fenestrata (open-flowered tritonia; windowed tritonia) search