Mount Vernon Holly

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Mount Vernon American Holly

Parent tree location: Alexandria, Virginia

Distance from MOSI to parent tree: 798 miles


Mt. Vernon, the home of our first President George Washington, was an 8000 acre plantation divided into five farms. Each farm was a complete unit, with its own overseers, work force of slaves, livestock, equipment, and buildings.


The farm where Washington and his family lived was called the "Mansion House Farm." This is the part of the plantation that visitors see today. Washington developed the property’s 500 acres to create a fitting setting for a country gentleman. He designed the grounds to include a deep border of woods, rolling meadows, serpentine walkways, a pleasure garden, a kitchen garden, and groves of trees. As nearly as possible, Mount Vernon was a self-contained community. Nothing was purchased that could be produced on site.


One tree that Washington loved was the American holly (Ilex opaca). Several holly trees that he planted in 1776 and 1785 remain in the Serpentine.


Did You Know?

When George Washington was president Florida was not part of the United States. In that period Florida was a Spanish colony divided into East Florida and West Florida. The boundary between the Spanish colonies and the United States was established in Pinckney's Treaty of 1795, during George Washington's term in office.

Early America: Pinckney’s Treaty


Learn more about Mount Vernon and George Washington:

Mount Vernon Estate, Alexandria, VA

The White House: George Washington


Red, White and Blue Garden

Washington was an avid gardener, and the restored gardens at the Mount Vernon Historical Site today attest to that. Unfortunately, much of what grows well in northern Virginia does not necessarily grow well in Florida, so rather than trying to recreate those plantings, we have chosen to honor our first president with simple red, white, and blue plants in the colors of the American Flag instead. Plantings include: Firecracker Plant (Russelia equisetiformis), White Salvia (Salvia coccinea ‘Snow Nymph’), and Blue Daze (Evolvulus glomeratus). Click here for more information on plants currently found in the Red, White and Blue Garden. 


Artist's Statement:

Painting can be a way to reflect on history, through recreating stylistic or subject material. I prefer to let the brush and paint play with these themes to create a very individual and inspired view which allows the viewer to feel the magic of this approach.

The artistic sensibility of the eighteenth century, especially as seen in the beauty, order and harmony of the fine arts , decorative arts, architecture, and gardens of that period of our history have always elicited a special fascination for me. In addition, my undergraduate degree was in history, with a keen interest in the political, philosophical and religious events surrounding the French and American Revolutions. So, George Washington's beloved Mount Vernon estate was always a favorite destination when I lived in upstate New York.

Peter Stilton, April 14, 2013


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