Treasured ornamentals of southern gardens - Michaux's Lasting legacy.
Following an unsuccessful attempt at establishing a botanic garden in New Jersey, André Michaux relocated to Charleston, South Carolina, in 1787 where he developed a plant nursery some ten miles outside the city. From this site, Michaux shipped a great number of North American plants and seeds to France and, in return, was permitted to import from the botanic gardens of France numerous trees and shrubs that had been collected from all parts of the world. Both from an historical and horticultural point of view, Michaux's Charleston nursery was important in that it was the location where many Old World and Asian plants first arrived in North America. Included among these introductions were the mimosa or silk tree (Albizia julibrissin), the tea olive (Osmanthus fragrans), the crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica), the ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba), the Chinese parasol tree (Firmiana simplex), tea (Camellia sinensis), and the camellia (Camellia japonica). Each of these introductions remains as an important ornamental in southern gardens today - both for contemporary use and as historic plants for period gardens and landscapes.