It was growing in the raspberry patch. We thought it was a wildflower or some volunteer phlox, or even something called Dame’s Rocket. And then it struck us, after some googling and garden book research, that it was the Money Plant, sometimes called Honesty, that we had planted several years before from seeds I had purchased in Monticello, directly descended from the plants that Thomas Jefferson planted.
This plant is a biennial–ie it takes two years for it to cycle through from plant to flower. We had originally planted it in the southwest corner of the back garden. It is now voluntarily flourishing in the northeast corner. It latin name lunaria annua as well as its english names refer to the moon-like or coin-like shape of its pod which contains its seeds. We went rummaging on the back porch and actually found a couple of the pods left from a few years before (see below). These dried pods are commonly used in flower arrangements.
This plant was one of the first brought from Europe to grow in American gardens in the 17th century. On April 25, 1767, Thomas Jefferson noted in his garden journal, “Lunaria still in bloom. An indifferent flower.” Perhaps he was more enamored with the disk-like seed pods. Certainly, the lunaria blossom is no peony or sunflower or rose. But its modest blossoms bursting in a usually neglected corner of our garden where the raspberries and some hostas thrive, have brought a delicate recognition that sometimes less is more. Honestly.