George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 21 March 1763]

21. Grafted 40 Cherrys—viz.

  • 12 Bullock Hearts (a large black May Cherry)
  • 18 Very fine early May Cherry
  • 10 Cornation—Cherry—& planted them as followeth—the Bullock Hearts in the first Row next the Quarter beginning at the furthest part thereof & ending at a stick.
  • The early may next to them in the same Row & ending at another stick.
  • The Cornation finishing the said Row.

Grafted 12 Magnum Bonum Plums beginning at the further part of the Second Row.

Planted 4 Nuts of the Mediterranean Pine in the Pen where the Chesnut grows—sticks by each.

Note the Cherrys & Plums came from Collo. Mason’s—Nuts from Mr. Gr[een].

Set out 55 cuttings of the Madeira Grape—viz.—31 in finishing the 2d. row where the Plums are and 24 in the next beginning at the hither end—these from Mr. Greens.

grafted 40 cherrys: All the cherries mentioned here and elsewhere originated in England; the sweet varieties are Prunus avium, the sour P. cerasus, and the duke cherries P. avium regalis. Here GW is grafting the Bullock, or Ox Heart, a dark red cherry with large, heart-shaped fruit which ripened in July; one of several varieties of May cherries, and the Carnation, a large and handsome light red cherry highly esteemed for making brandy and preserves (DOWNING description begins A. J. Downing. The Fruits and Fruit Trees of America; or, The Culture, Propagation, and Management, in the Garden and Orchard, of Fruit Trees Generally; with Descriptions of all the Finest Varieties of Fruit, Native and Foreign, Cultivated in this Country. New York, 1845. description ends , 194). The Magnum Bonum plum was also known as the egg plum in American gardens, occurring in both white and yellow forms.

mediterranean pine: probably Pinus pinea, the Italian stone pine, native to Italy and southern Europe and often cultivated for its edible kernels. Nurseryman Bernard McMahon listed it as a desirable planting in his CALENDAR [1] description begins Bernard M’Mahon. The American Gardener’s Calendar; Adapted to the Climates and Seasons of the United States. Containing a Complete Account of All the Work Necessary to be Done . . . for Every Month in the Year; with Ample Practical Directions for Performing the Same. Philadelphia, 1806. description ends , 273, and it still is a popular landscaping tree in the South, but not hardy in Virginia. Peter Collinson sent seeds of this species to John Custis, Williamsburg, from England, but in 1738 Custis reported that he had been unable to save the seedlings he produced (SWEM description begins E. G. Swem, ed. “Brothers of the Spade: Correspondence of Peter Collinson, of London, and of John Custis, of Williamsburg, Virginia, 1734–1746.” Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society, n.s., 58 (1949): 17–190. description ends , 69, 74).

collo. mason: George Mason (1725–1792), one of GW’s neighbors, lived at Gunston Hall, located about 16 miles south of Alexandria on Pohick Bay. Mason was an enthusiastic farmer and he and GW frequently exchanged views on agriculture as well as on political events. Mason was a trustee of Alexandria, a member of the Truro Parish vestry, a justice of Fairfax County, and treasurer of the Ohio Company. Although he disliked holding public office, he served briefly in the House of Burgesses and for a number of years in the House of Delegates and exerted considerable influence on the political thought of his Virginia contemporaries.

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