Linda Eirhart, Winterthur’s Assistant Director, Horticulture, Curator, Plants writes:
One of the many amazing aspects of the Winterthur Garden is how many plants, still considered rare, were planted here over a hundred years ago. For example, H. F. du Pont made an entry in his notebook for Adonis davurica on April 7, 1906, and notes it again for March in 1907 and 1908.
Apparently he was not the only person to have it in the United States. Randolph Isham from Pennsylvania noted in The Garden Magazine, 1909, “ I paid $2.50 for a dozen plants of what the nurseryman called Adonis Davurica and got about $25.00 worth of pleasure the first year. For I had the loveliest flowers in town and these broad yellow flowers seemed as cheery as sunshine itself.” Davurica apparently was listed as a form of Adonis vernalis, which is no longer listed for our garden.
However today, a century later, we are still enjoying the Adonis amurensis, or Pheasant’s Eye, in the Winterthur Garden. H. F. du Pont mentioned this plant in a October, 1909, letter to Marian Coffin, his friend and later his landscape architect:
“Adonis amurensis. End of January [bloom time]. At first the flowers appear close to the ground on fleshy stems but later flowers, as they grow and develop, are on the ends of long stems with feathery green foliage. It has been absolutely hardy here and is quite lovely.”
The cultivar that we have on the March Bank is ‘Fukujukai’. It is still considered rare and adds a wonderful bit of sunshine in the winter garden.
If you are walking in the Winterthur Garden this spring, this might come in handy for identifying early spring blooms: http://www.winterthur.org/pdfs/11017 – Spring Flower Highlights 2013.pdf