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The Garden Ephemerist

George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, who were born this month in 1732 and 1809, respectively, both served the country at critical moments in its history: Washington fought for its creation, and Lincoln for its preservation. But besides this distinction—and the fact that their faces are engraved on our currency—they share another honor: They each have garden and landscape plants named after them. Here are a few.

Washington1797

George Washington

Rosa ‘General Washington’ (a medium red hybrid perpetual rose), introduced in 1860 or 1860

Thuja occidentalis ’George Washington’ (variegated arborvitae), introduced in 1986

Hemerocallis ‘George Washington’ (a bubblegum pink daylily with a gold edge), introduced in 2007

Washingtonia, a genus of fan palms native to the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico that includes Washingtonia filifera (California fan palm) and W. robusta (Washington fan palm)

Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln

Rosa ‘Souvenir du President Lincoln’ (a medium pink Bourbon rose), introduced in 1865

Rhododendron ‘President Lincoln’ (a rhododendron with lavender flowers), introduced in 1871

Syringa vulgaris ‘President Lincoln’ (a common lilac with blue-lavender flowers), introduced in 1916

Lycopersicon lycopersicum ‘Original Abraham Lincoln’ (a red slicing tomato), introduced by the Buckbee Seed Company as ‘Buckbee’s Abraham Lincoln’ about 1923 and rebred by R. H. Shumway’s Seeds in 1986

Paeonia ‘President Lincoln’ (a red single form peony), introduced in 1928

Rosa ‘Mister Lincoln’ (a dark red hybrid tea rose), introduced in 1964

Hemerocallis ‘Abraham Lincoln’ (a lavender, violet, and chartreuse daylily), introduced in 2008

It would be interesting to learn why these plant breeders decided to name their creations after our first and 16th presidents. If any of you have grown one of these plants or has any more information about it, or know of other plants named after Washington or Lincoln, I would love to update our readers. Please add your comments below.

By the way, did you know that there is no official federal holiday called Presidents’ Day? The correct name for today’s holiday is Washington’s Birthday.

Happy birthday to the Father of Our Country!