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The Scoop

Gardening news, notes and trivia for this week.
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In celebration of Independence Day, this week's Scoop lists trivia and quotes about plants and gardening around the time of the American Revolution. Share them at your Fourth of July cookout!

Alexander Hamilton planted a row of 13 sweet gum trees to the right of the front door of his country house, the Grange, to symbolize the union of the original 13 states.

Thomas Jefferson grew 250 varieties of vegetables in his garden at Monticello.

George Washington had a hidden-away "little garden" amid the formal grounds of Mount Vernon, where he personally experimented with diverse seeds sent to him by friends and admirers.

The Paul Revere House museum gift shop offers a plan of the kitchen garden at the site, which is a faithful reproduction of a typical colonial kitchen garden.

In the 1780s, the French Academy of Sciences investigated the claims of Franz Friedrich Anton Mesmer, an Austrian physician and theologian, at the home of Benjamin Franklin. Mesmer said he could cure aliments through magnetic therapies and hypnotism. In one experiment Mesmer magnetized a tree in Franklin's garden and told a blindfolded boy to hug the trees until he came to the one with the strongest force. The boy eventually fainted and the experiment was called off.

Martha Washington geraniums are one group of zonal geranium (Pelargonium). They have large, bright flowers, often ruffly and with darker blotches or veins. They require cool night temperatures to bloom. In Great Britain, Martha Washington geraniums are known as regal geraniums.