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|Histories and mysteries: This towering Scarlet Oak, planted in honor of George Washington,
left a hefty “paper trail.” Stories behind other specimens are harder to trace.
In evaluating my internship experience, I find the most unexpected result was a sense of knowing the trees personally. Some of their histories were easily discovered, like the Scarlet Oak, above, planted in 1932 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of George Washington’s birth. Others are mysterious in origin: historic photos, slides, family records, garden committee notes – nothing reveals their planting date or story.
|The trees’ solidity is comforting, while their
changes are fascinating, even to a novice.
Kelly is an M.S. Candidate in Museum Studies at The George Washington University.
|Old Blush Rose|
The male & female flowers grow on separate plants and are pollinated by the wind, insects or human intervention. Male flowers, or inflorescence, are usually 18-20 inches long and cylindrical in form. The female inflorescence is in the form of a semi-globose head, yielding 100-200 large bright red edible nut-like seeds which ripen around the end of December.
(Looks like we have the female…)
The Sago arrived in North America in 1775 on the famous Boston Tea Party ship. There were 3 sagos on board, the largest went to Mount Vernon, one went to Governor Morris, and the last to Pratt Nursery which is where Tudor Place’s Sago is descended from.
Here at Tudor Place in 1813 Martha and Thomas Peter (and son Washington) went to Philadelphia to visit their daughter Columbia at Madam Revardie’s school. There they bought several small plants and a sago palm at Pratt’s Garden. This began the sago palm’s existence as a traditional landscape feature on TP south lawn.
Currently the Tudor Place Sago Palm is resting by the bench outside the visitor center. You can see this rare and beautiful flower by looking up and through the leaves!